Star Island [NOOK Book]


Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster.

Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed”—meaning wasted—to go out in public. And it is ...
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Star Island

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Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster.

Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed”—meaning wasted—to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott.

Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über–stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public—and from Cherry herself.

The situation is more complicated than they know. Ann has had a bewitching encounter with Skink—the unhinged former governor of Florida living wild in a mangrove swamp—and now he’s heading for Miami to find her . . .

Will Bang Abbott achieve his fantasy of a lucrative private photo session with Cherry Pye? Will Cherry sober up in time to lip-synch her way through her concert tour? Will Skink track down Ann DeLusia before Cherry’s motley posse does?

All will be revealed in this hilarious spin on life in the celebrity fast lane.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Alcohol- and drug-abusing Cherry Pye has a secret. Actually this habitually misbehaving rock star has several, at this moment, one stands out: Ann DeLusia, her "life double," has been kidnapped by a crazed paparazzo who thinks that he has nabbed Cherry. Of course, Cherry and her over-controlling handlers are eager to free the hapless celebrity stand-in and protect Ms. Pye's embarrassing little secret. What follows is a hilarious novel that only Carl Hiaasen could have written. A sunny day at the beach; now in a paperback and a NOOKbook.

Marilyn Stasio
Whenever it seems as if he might be running out of oxen to gore, Carl Hiaasen comes up with fresh victims for his killing wit…Trying to follow the plot, which involves a supporting cast of crooked politicians and predatory developers, is a little like walking a puppy. But the outlandish events soar on the exuberance of Hiaasen's manic style, a canny blend of lunatic farce and savage satire.
—The New York Times Book Review
Janet Maslin
Mr. Hiaasen can still take any aspect of pop culture and find a laugh in it.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The career of singer Cheryl Bunterman (aka Cherry Pye), who debuted with Jailbait Records at age 15, is foundering due to her lack of talent and indiscriminate appetite for drugs, booze, and sex in this outrageous, offbeat novel from Hiaasen (Nature Girl). Among those struggling to keep Cherry's career afloat are her mother, Janet Bunterman; producer Maury Lykes; and "undercover stunt double" Ann DeLusia, who will, say, mislead the press into thinking Cherry is out and about when she's really in rehab. Hiaasen has easy targets in misbehaving celebrity sightings, tabloid stalkings, and spin control experts, and he makes the most of them. Crooked real estate developer Jackie Sebago and paparazzo Bang Abbott, who plans to hitch his wagon to Cherry's star, add to the madcap fun. Mayhem follows after Bang kidnaps Ann instead of Cherry by mistake, and ex-Florida governor and eco-vigilante Clinton "Skink" Tyree, who was smitten with Ann after a chance encounter, rushes to her rescue. The torrent of pop culture barbs are bound to please Hiaasen's ardent fans. 500,000 first printing; 12-city author tour. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“Carl Hiaasen [is] Florida’s most entertainingly indignant social critic . . . He presents us with Cherry Pye, a 22-year-old pop star whose every display of narcissistic excess will send a frisson of horrified delight up your spine . . . The outlandish events soar on the exuberance of Hiaasen’s manic style, a canny blend of lunatic farce and savage satire.”
New York Times Book Review
“Does anyone remember what we did for fun before novelist Carl Hiaasen began turning out his satirical comedies one after another after another? . . . Star Island is a concoction worth the time of any reader who wants quality entertainment.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Hiaasen reclaims his groove in Star Island, a wicked, fizzy sendup of American celebrity culture . . . A very funny book about life in the fast lane.”
Boston Globe
“Fans of Carl Hiaasen will feel right at home when they plunge into Star Island. There’s the familiar collection of deliciously tawdry characters, each angling for a piece of the action in Florida . . . And there’s the fast-moving plot, and the writing that makes you laugh out loud . . . Hiaasen has turned out another gem. Readers of his previous novels can settle in for more wacky fun in the Florida sun.”
Associated Press
“A wild and fun Sunshine State ride.”
New York Post

“Hiaasen is at his gleeful best skewering the morally bankrupt. He has plenty to poke fun at here, from a reprehensible real-estate developer with an excruciating groin injury to twin publicists Botoxed within an inch of their lives. This is classic Hiaasen—demented, hilarious, and utterly over the top.”
Booklist (starred)

“An outrageous, offbeat novel . . . The torrent of pop culture barbs are bound to please Hiaasen’s ardent fans.”
Publishers Weekly 

Library Journal
At age 22, Cherry Pye is a fading pop star whose handlers, manager, and publicity gurus are trying frantically to orchestrate a comeback—with little help from Cherry—while keeping her fragile emotional state a closely guarded secret. The plan seems to be working until Cherry overdoses—again—and in the resulting melee, one of the ever-present paparazzi kidnaps Ann DeLusia, Cherry's stunt double, thinking he has the real star. A master at character creation, Hiaasen (Nature Girl) has amassed as weird a cast as ever graced Miami Beach, including a one-armed bodyguard with a unique prosthesis, an obsessed paparazzo whose unwashed state and obsession are an affront to all but Cherry, fraternal twins who have spent thousands of dollars to look identical, and Skink, the reclusive former governor of Florida, who lives in the wilderness of the Florida Keys and uses every ploy at his command to thwart development of the state's natural lands.Verdict This rollicking tour de force lampoons south Florida's celebrity subculture while including the obligatory environmental subplot for which Hiaasen is known. Highly recommended. [A 500,000-copy first printing; 12-city tour.]—Thomas L. Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307594389
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/27/2010
  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 44,791
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of eleven previous novels, including the best-selling Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and three best-selling children’s books, Hoot, Flush, and Scat. His most recent work of nonfiction is The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport. He also writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald.


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 & "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

Read an Excerpt


On the fifteenth of March, two hours before sunrise, an emergency medical technician named Jimmy Campo found a sweaty stranger huddled in the back of his ambulance. It was parked in a service alley behind the Stefano Hotel, where Jimmy Campo and his partner had been summoned to treat a twenty-two-year-old white female who had swallowed an unwise mix of vodka, Red Bull, hydrocodone, birdseed and stool softener—in all respects a routine South Beach 911 call, until now.

The stranger in Jimmy Campo’s ambulance had two 35-mm digital cameras hanging from his fleshy neck, and a bulky gear bag balanced on his ample lap. He wore a Dodgers cap and a Bluetooth ear set. His ripe, florid cheeks glistened damply, and his body reeked like a prison laundry bag.

“Get out of my ambulance,” Jimmy Campo said.

“Is she dead?” the man asked excitedly.

“Dude, I’m callin’ the cops if you don’t move it.”

“Who’s with her up there—Colin? Shia?”

The stranger outweighed Jimmy Campo by sixty-five pounds but not an ounce of it was muscle. Jimmy Campo, who’d once been a triathlete, dragged the intruder from the vehicle and deposited him on the sticky pavement beneath a streetlight.

“Chill, for Christ’s sake,” the man said, examining his camera equipment for possible damage. Stray cats tangled and yowled somewhere in the shadows.

Inside the ambulance, Jimmy Campo found what he was looking for: a sealed sterile packet containing a coiled intravenous rig to replace the one that the female overdose victim had ripped from her right arm while she was thrashing on the floor.

The stranger struggled to his feet and said, “I’ll give you a thousand bucks.”

“For what?”

“When you bring her downstairs, lemme take a picture.” The man dug into the folds of his stale trousers and produced a lump of cash. “You gotta job to do, and so do I. Here’s a grand.”

Jimmy Campo looked at the money in the stranger’s hand. Then he glanced up at the third floor of the hotel, where his partner was almost certainly dodging vomit.

“Is she famous or somethin’?” Jimmy Campo asked.

The photographer chuckled. “Man, you don’t even know?”

Jimmy Campo was thinking about the fifty-two-inch high-def that he’d seen on sale at Brands Mart. He was thinking about his girlfriend on a rampage with his maxed-out MasterCard at the Dadeland Mall. He was thinking about all those nasty letters from his credit union.

“Whoever she is, she’s not dead,” he told the photographer. “Not tonight.”

“Cool.” The man continued to hold out the wad of hundreds in the glow of the streetlight, as if teasing a mutt with raw hamburger. He said, “All you gotta do, before loading her in the wagon, just pull down the covers and step away so I can get my shot. Five seconds is all I need.”

“It won’t be pretty. She’s a sick young lady.” Jimmy Campo took the crumpled money and smoothed it into his wallet.

“Is she awake at least?” the photographer asked.

“On and off.”

“But you could see her eyes in a picture, right? She’s got those awesome sea-green eyes.”

Jimmy Campo said, “I didn’t notice.”

“You really don’t know who she is? Seriously?”

“Who do you work for, anyway?”

“A limited partnership,” the man said. “Me, myself and I.”

“And where can I see this great picture you’re gonna take?”

“Everywhere. You’ll see it everywhere,” the stranger said.

Eighteen minutes later, Jimmy Campo and his partner emerged from the Stefano Hotel guiding a collapsible stretcher upon which lay a slender, motionless form.

The photographer was surprised at the absence of a retinue; no bodyguards or boyfriends or hangers-on. A lone Miami Beach police officer followed the stretcher down the alley. When the photographer began snapping pictures, the cop barely reacted, making no effort to shield the stricken woman from the flash bursts. That should have been a clue.

Sliding closer, the paparazzo intercepted the stretcher as it rolled with an oscillating squeak toward the open end of the ambulance. True to his word, Jimmy Campo tugged down the sheet and stepped away, leaving an opening.

“Cherry!” the photographer shouted at the slack face. “Cherry, baby, how ’bout a big smile for your fans?”

The young woman’s incurious eyes were open. They were not sea-green, mint-green, pea-green or any hue of green. They were brown.

“Goddammit,” the photographer growled, lowering his Nikon.

The woman on the stretcher grinned behind the oxygen mask and blew him a kiss.

Grabbing at Jimmy Campo’s arm, the photographer cried, “Gimme back my money!”

“Mister, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the paramedic, elbowing the sweaty creep back into the shadows.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 565 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 569 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hiaasen is almost back!

    Carl Hiaasen's "Star Island" is a return to his core novels (Skin Tight, Tourist Season, et al), that put him in my library.

    For the past few years, he has written Young Adult novels plus one about his experience attempting golf. Entertaining, but not the reason I read Hiaasen.

    Skink, the one-eyed former Governor, and Chemo w/weed-whacker as prosthesis return in "Star Island"

    But, Hiaasen is out of practice after the other novels. Star Island is a good read but a bit stale for Hiaasen. Let's hope that he returns to his wacky glory days of the early novels.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    You know what they say confession is good here I go: I'm a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen, hence this probably will not be an unbiased review. He always makes me smile, and I'm constantly amazed by his imagination, his productivity. After all, this is an author who not only pens bestsellers, but popular children's books, and writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald. If he has a vitamin regime - hope he'll share it.

    Second, there is another admission: I'm about to become a fan of Stephen Hoye's. He delivers an apt, easy listening narration of STAR ISLAND. Would imagine that Hiaasen's works are not the easiest to read - one must have the proper inflections for all the zingers delivered and a trained voice that can easily move from character to character without missing a beat - another challenging task because as has been shown this author's characters are really outre. Hoye succeeds in all areas.

    With STAR ISLAND Hiaasen takes on the celebrity life - to be precise the rollicking, ruinous life of over-the-hill alcohol and drug prone pop star Cherry Pie. Quite obviously, Cherry can be a bit of a handful for her producer who still marvels at her success when she has no discernible talent. Nonetheless, it will do her sagging career no good when she's too spaced out to make a public appearance. What's her stage mom supposed to do? Solution? Hire an actress to impersonate Cherry when she's "unavailable."

    Of course, it takes more than a producer and mom to keep the randy, reeling Cherry in line - there are twin publicists (well,, not actually twins but plastic surgery does wonders); a big, ugly bodyguard called Chemo; a determined paparazzo; and Clinton Tyree (former governor of Florida now hiding out in a swamp).

    The plot is driven by a multitude of hilarious, impossible situations. Hiaasen, it seems, can make even the most outrageous funny, and he does it once again with gusto in STAR ISLAND.


    - Gail Cooke

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    If I were an author, I would hope that my fans would do me proud with a review that honored me rather than embarrassed both the reviewer and me.
    But, I am not an author, nor a fan of Carl Hiaasen. This is the first, and now the last, book of his that I will read. It is not an easy read, cluttered as it is with pointless happenings of no interest whatsoever. And it is not funny, which I had been led to believe it was. What it is is awful, truly one of the worst books I have read this year. Save yourself the time and trouble and read the Enquirer instead. It may not be funny either, but at least it might be interesting.

    5 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Wanting to read this!

    So far all of the books this author has written i have loved/liked and now I'm excited for reading this one. So I'm definitely gona read this right when it come out.

    3 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Nutty, Fun, and Razor-Sharp!

    Carl Hiaasen is at his gleefully twisted, cheerfully maniacal best in Star Island, which was released in paperback earlier this year. He has once again unleashed his clear-eyed vision of people and their foibles, this time in the fertile fields of no-discernible-talent celebrities and the parasites surrounding them.
    Cherry Pye is a character everyone will recognize - she could be any number of hard-partying girls in Hollywood who seem to be famous for nothing more than drinking, drugging, rehab, and perfume endorsements.
    Chock-full of real name dropping, Star Island is an unsentimental unveiling of the story behind the glossy magazine covers. And this is one of the reasons I love Carl Hiaasen's writing so much - he spares very little sentimentality for people, showing them as they really are, warts and all. This is not ncessarily unsympathetic - for instance, we learn that Cherry Pye was turned into a sexy little prepubescent by her own mother, and then signed to Jailbait records by a music producer who really likes his young clients. But the flip side is that Cherry really is a self-involved, hard-partying simpleton. Her double, Ann DeLusia, also has beauty but also brains and a sense of right and wrong, yet her upbringing was little better than Cherry's. After Ann is kidnapped by the Cherry-besotted Bang Abbott, Ann is hurt and angered to learn that Cherry's mother has not reported her kidnapping to the police. Word of Ann's existence would be financially disastrous for Cherry's "comeback", and that is more important than Ann's life. Luckily for Ann, she has met and charmed both Skink and Chemo who each have their own methods of dealing with situations such as this. And in Hiaasen's world, situations like this are the norm creating an incredibly entertaining and wild ride full of laugh out loud moments. I would recomment NOT drinking a beverage while reading this book - there are too many funny parts.
    As with most of his books, the greedy get punished and the good folks have a happy ending. The ending of Star Island felt a bit forced to me, which is the only negative in an otherwise fantastic book. I didn't understand Ann's need to drag Skink to a night club (name and theme of "Pubes" - ha!) to confront the clueless Cherry, and it felt contrived. But after the wild ride of this hilarious, wacky story it's a small complaint. This book is fun and entertaining - read it!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very disappointing

    I agree with the other readers who stated this book was a waste of time and pointless. I found this book hard to get through. I kept waiting for it to get to the point. Surely a three star book would at some point in the story have some ultimate conclusion or reason for the story to be told. It was boring through and through.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Unable to recommend.

    Maybe if you can buy into an improbable premise with wildly exaggerated characters that can only exist in the author's mind, you might enjoy it. I struggled to finish the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Waste of time!

    I'm the kind of reader that sticks with a book. I give it time to develop....however, this was a very hard book to finish. It was exceedingly tedious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    I love his books!

    I love his books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012


    This is good.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Carl Hiaasen returns to form by switching up. Star Island gives

    Carl Hiaasen returns to form by switching up. Star Island gives the author's despoliation-of-Florida theme a rest by providing him with another target for his considerable store of outrage: pop celebrity.

    The chief offender is Cheryl "Cherry Pye" Bunterman, a teenage Britney manque with a singing voice "like a sack of starving kittens" and a dysfunctional entourage that enables (and covers up) her many assaults on common sense. Her perfect foil is overweight, self-deluded paparazzo Bing Abbott. Together, they'll make you fear for the future of the species.

    Hiaasen has plowed this turf before (ten years ago, in Basket Case), but here he lets out the stops. He doesn't need to condemn Cherry, her clueless parents, conniving twin PR gurus, or the "maggot mob" of paparazzi; he simply gets out of their way and through pitch-perfect portraits lets them hang themselves with their own words and actions. A few stock Hiaasen characters show up -- the grotesque sociopathic thug, the venal real-estate developer -- but at least there's no obvious stand-in for the author, which relieves the plot of some of the fantasy wish-fulfillment tropes that have marred some of his more recent works.

    Star Island is crazy, profane, nasty fun. If you've had your fill of reality-TV "personalities" and marginally talented "entertainers", you should enjoy watching them get skewered in this book. If you're already a Hiaasen fan, you'll enjoy seeing him break out of his formula and regain his satirical mojo. Either way, enjoy the ride. 

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Stupid Beyond Belief

    I got through the first 100 pages waiting for something realistic and/or funny to occur, but there just is no there there.

    This was a complete waste of money and time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013


    Falls over onto her back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013


    Pushes in one last time before letting out a loud mrroww. C.m ozzed out inside you everywhere.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2013

    Dont understand the negative comments

    Star Island has become my favorite Hiaasen work to date. I love his irreverent take on the life of a spoiled pop princess and the lengths her entourage go through to keep the divas music selling career afloat. To me it was very easy to get through this book, filled with Hiaasens witty writing. His colorful characters always bring something fun to the table, and the cast here does no different. To me it is easy to imagine that there are numerous Cherry Pyes in todays music biz. Also loved the reappearance of Skink and Chemo. Fantastic read. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013


    She smiled, nodding. She licked his cheek. ~Wildheart ((ugh gtgtb))

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013


    I love you too Wildheart. Ill never let a thing happen to you ever. I promise.." he said, not wanting to fail again. ~ Redstorm

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Weird & Wonderful

    I first read Hiaasen when I read Bad Monkey. It was so wild and funny, that I've started reading his other books and will continue until I read them all. Fun, wacky, fast-paced reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2013

    Florida Heat

    Another typically wacky story from Hiassen. This was a fast read, good for the beach. The author has a super competitor now, Tim Dorsey, who writes the wonderful Serge Storms novels. Plenty of fun to go around.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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