Powder Burn

( 17 )

Overview

Architect Chris Meadows has the bad luck to see an old girlfriend get hit by a car full of drugland hitmen. He has the worse luck to see the face of her murderers. Because in a town as violent as Miami, a witness doesn't stand a chance--especially when the cops who ought to be protecting him are more interested in dangling him as live bait.
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Powder Burn

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Overview

Architect Chris Meadows has the bad luck to see an old girlfriend get hit by a car full of drugland hitmen. He has the worse luck to see the face of her murderers. Because in a town as violent as Miami, a witness doesn't stand a chance--especially when the cops who ought to be protecting him are more interested in dangling him as live bait.
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Editorial Reviews

Newgate Callendar
[An] expertly plotted novel. -- The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375700682
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 279
  • Sales rank: 336,004
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen is the author of seven other novels.  He lives in Key West, Florida.

Biography

When one thinks of the classics of pulp fiction, certain things -- gruff, amoral antiheroes, unflinching nihilism, and a certain melodramatic self-seriousness -- inevitably come to mind. However, the novels of Carl Hiaasen completely challenge these pulpy conventions. While the pulp of yesteryear seems forever chiseled in an almost quaint black and white world, Hiaasen's books vibrate with vivid color. They are veritable playgrounds for wild characters that flout clichés: a roadkill-eating ex-governor, a bouncer/assassin who takes care of business with a Weed Wacker, a failed alligator wrestler named Sammy Tigertail. Furthermore, Hiaasen infuses his absurdist stories with a powerful dose of social and political awareness, focusing on his home turf of South Florida with an unflinching keenness.

Hiaasen was born and raised in South Florida. During the 1970s, he got his start as a writer working for Cocoa Today as a public interest columnist. However, it was his gig as an investigative reporter for The Miami Herald that provided him with the fundamentals necessary for a career in fiction. "I'd always wanted to write books ever since I was a kid," Hiaasen told Barnes & Noble.com. "To me, the newspaper business was a way to learn about life and how things worked in the real world and how people spoke. You learn all the skills -- you learn to listen, you learn to take notes -- everything you use later as a novelist was valuable training in the newspaper world. But I always wanted to write novels."

Hiaasen made the transition from journalism to fiction in 1981 with the help of fellow reporter Bill Montalbano. Hiaasen and Montalbano drew upon all they had learned while covering the Miami beat in their debut novel Powder Burn, a sharp thriller about the legendary Miami cocaine trade, which the New York Times declared an "expertly plotted novel." The team followed up their debut with two more collaborative works before Hiaasen ventured out on his own with Tourist Season, an offbeat murder mystery that showcased the author's idiosyncratic sense of humor.

From then on, Hiaasen's sensibility has grown only more comically absurd and more socially pointed, with a particular emphasis on the environmental exploitation of his beloved home state. In addition to his irreverent and howlingly funny thrillers (Double Whammy, Sick Puppy, Nature Girl, etc), he has released collections of his newspaper columns (Kick Ass, Paradise Screwed) and penned children's books (Hoot, Flush). With his unique blend of comedy and righteousness ("I can't be funny without being angry."), the writer continues to view hallowed Florida institutions -- from tourism to real estate development -- with a decidedly jaundiced eye. As Kirkus Reviews has wryly observed, Hiassen depicts "...the Sunshine State as the weirdest place this side of Oz."

Good To Know

Perhaps in keeping with his South Floridian mindset, Hiaasen keeps snakes as housepets. He says on his web site, "They're clean and quiet. You give them rodents and they give you pure, unconditional indifference."

Hiaasen is also a songwriter: He's co-written two songs, "Seminole Bingo" and "Rottweiler Blues", with Warren Zevon for the album Mutineer. In turn, Zevon recorded a song based on the lyrics Hiaasen had written for a dead rock star character in Basket Case.

In Hiaasen's novel Nature Girl, he gets the opportunity to deal with a long-held fantasy. "I'd always fantasized about tracking down one of these telemarketing creeps and turning the tables -- phoning his house every night at dinner, the way they hassle everybody else," he explains on his web site. "In the novel, my heroine takes it a whole step farther. She actually tricks the guy into signing up for a bogus ‘ecotour' in Florida, and then proceeds to teach him some manners. Or tries."

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    1. Hometown:
      Tavernier, Florida
    1. Education:
      Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Kberry01529

    If you are a fan of Hiason's quirky characters you will be sorely dissapointed. This book is not up to his standards at all. The plot was dull and the transitions between chapters left A LOT to be desired. The drug culture was a little too graphic and the ending seemed very forced. I truly expected better from this fantastic author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2013

    A typical fun ride/read with Hiaasen

    Mr. Hiaasen and Mr. Montelbano know just how to mix pleasure and pain to have this reader horrified one moment and unexpectedly guffawing the next. Love the plot with it's wee twists and turns and the main characters are wonderfully molded; you savour every episode of the story with and through them because they are so well drawn.
    I always enjoy a Hiaasen and this one did not disappoint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Excellent!!

    Highly recommend this. Not what I was expecting from Hiassen, but very fast moving and suspenseful. Great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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