Some crime novels are deadly serious, but Hiaasen belongs to the school of Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake, preferring a breezy tone, grotesque characters, rampant wish fulfillment and action that remains essentially comic and even sentimental. Skinny Dip follows a traditional caper script, and one never really fears for any of the good guys; one simply waits to see how the baddies will receive their comeuppance. The fate of Chaz Perrone, for instance, could have been written by Evelyn Waugh. Waugh would certainly have admired Hiaasen's ironic wit.
The Washington Post
At this point in his career as a comic novelist, Carl Hiaasen did not need to get any better. He has long been writing smart, fizzy Floridian escapades that amount to pure reading pleasure. But Skinny Dip, his latest, is something more: a screwball delight so full of bright, deft, beautifully honed humor that it places Mr. Hiaasen in the company of Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S. J. Perelman.
The New York Times
Hiaasen's signature mix of hilariously over-the-top villains, lovable innocents and righteous indignation at what mankind has done to his beloved Florida wilderness is all present in riotous abundance in his latest. It begins with attractive heiress Joey Perrone being tossed overboard from a cruise ship by her larcenous husband, Chaz-not for her money, which she has had the good sense to keep well away from him, but because he fears she is onto his crooked dealings with a ruthless tycoon who is poisoning the Everglades. But instead of drowning as she's supposed to, Joey stays afloat until she is rescued by moody ex-cop Mick Stranahan, a loner who has also struck out in the marriage department. Then the two together, with the unwitting aid of a suspicious cop who can't pin the attempted murder on Chaz, hatch a sadistic plot to scare that "maggot" out of what little wit he has. Even Tool, a hulking brute sent by the tycoon to keep an eye on Chaz, eventually turns against him, and much of the fun is in watching the deplorable Chaz flounder further and further in the murk, both literally and figuratively (Chaz's job, as the world's unlikeliest marine biologist, involves falsifying water pollution levels for the tycoon). Hiaasen's books are so enjoyable it's always a sad moment when they end. In this case, however, sadness is mixed with puzzlement because the book seems to end in mid-scene, with Chaz in trouble again-but is it terminal? We thought at first there were some pages missing, but Knopf says that was the ending Hiaasen intended. Odd. 300,000 first printing; author tour. Agent, Esther Newberg. (July 16) Forecast: Until that seemingly unresolved ending, this is vintage Hiaasen, with some wonderfully likable characters as well as his signature obnoxious heavies, and the plot is a delightful mixture of farce and suspense. The pop art jacket is striking, and sales should be as strong as always. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this tenth novel from the best-selling Hiaasen (Basket Case), Joey Perrone and her husband, Chaz, are taking a cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. One night, as the rain pours down, Chaz throws Joey overboard. He then proceeds to convince the authorities that he has no idea what happened to her. Unfortunately for him, Joey is rescued and begins to plot her ultimate revenge against her soon-to-be-patsy of a husband. The squirm-inducing mayhem that follows in this sometimes side-splitting novel almost makes you feel sorry for Chaz. It has rarely been this much fun to read about the act of revenge. All of the trademark characters and Florida locales are used to maximum effect. One of Hiassen's best-and that's the naked truth. Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/04.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Florida's preeminent satirist returns from a YA excursion (Hoot, 2002) to ask the eternal question: What happens when the wife you've killed isn't dead?Joey Perrone can't imagine why her husband married her or why he wanted to kill her. But it's too late to ask now that Joey's struggling to stay afloat several stories below the ship deck he pushed her from during their anniversary cruise. She doesn't know that Chaz was afraid his wife had discovered that he was nothing but big-ticket farmer Red Hammernut's "biostute," a State of Florida biological inspector who was faking the results of phosphate testing in order to give Red's mega-polluting farm a clean bill of health. Now that she's presumed dead, Joey and Mick Stranahan, the State's Attorney's investigator who's been pensioned off to the middle of nowhere so that he can rescue her, have all the time in the world to figure out why Chaz wanted to get rid of Joey and what naughty games he's been up to. Their interventions soon escalate from creepy pranks against the grieving widower to a blackmail demand backed up by a faked video of the murder. Meanwhile, Det. Karl Rolvaag, the investigator who's counting the days till he can leave South Florida and return to frigid Minnesota, develops suspicions of his own about Ricca Spillman, the stylist who's been solacing Chaz. And Earl Edward O'Toole, the apelike minder Hammernut has hung around Chaz's neck, begins to move beyond inarticulate resentment at the bullet lodged in his butt-crease when he's befriended by an elderly cancer patient whose Fentanyl patch he's swiping. The crew is rounded out by the usual cargo of zanies, with Hiaasen's signature attention to nonhuman members of the cast. "Ihad a feeling he didn't love me any more," muses bobbing Joey, "but this is ridiculous." It's also bitingly satirical, sublimely zany, and deeply satisfying. First printing of 300,000; first serial to Best Life Magazine; author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg/ICM
"A screwball delight so full of bright, deft, beautifully honed humor.... You'd follow [Hiaasen] anywhere." —The New York Times
"A whopping cannonball splash of fun.... Hooray for Hiaasen’s world." —Los Angeles Times
“Barking mad.... Here Hiaasen is at his best." —The Baltimore Sun
"It doesn’t do Carl Hiaasen justice to call him Florida’s funniest state product.... Hiaasen is something bigger: a superb national satirist [and] a great American writer." —Entertainment Weekly
"Hilarious.... Like the characters, the plot is a hoot, but the real laughs are in Hiaasen's telling." —People (Critics' Choice)
"Confident and determinedly wacky.... Skinny Dip thrives when Hiaasen and his heroes let their prankster spirits run amok.... Riotous fun." —A.V. Club
"Bitingly satirical, sublimely zany, and deeply satisfying." —Kirkus Reviews
"Hiaasen's signature mix of hilariously over-the-top villains, lovable innocents, and righteous indignation at what mankind has done to his beloved Florida wilderness is all present in riotous abundance.... Hiaasen's books are so enjoyable it's always a sad moment when they end." —Publishers Weekly
"Another delirious romp through the swamps of South Florida from the irrepressible Carl Hiaasen.... A corker, chock-full of belly laughs and blistering truths." —Booklist (starred review)