Star Island (Skink Series #6)

Star Island (Skink Series #6)

by Carl Hiaasen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446556132
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Series: Skink Series , #6
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 133,410
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.60(d)

About 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.


Tavernier, Florida

Place of Birth:

South Florida


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.

Customer Reviews

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Star Island 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 596 reviews.
Gybe More than 1 year ago
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.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
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. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
harstan More than 1 year ago
Singer Cheryl Bunterman alias Cherry Pye began her career as a fifteen year old at Jailbait Records. Besides her lack of any talent, Cherry cannot stop her addictions for sex, drugs, and booze. Her singing career seems tanked. However, several people have a deep interest in Cherry's career remaining afloat. Her mother Janet Bunterman, her producer Maury Lykes and her double Ann DeLusia like the money. That is why Ann is seen about the town while Cherry is in rehab. Also interested in Cherry are developer Jackie Sebago and paparazzo Bang Abbott, as each sees money to be made from the crooner who cannot sing. Bang kidnaps Ann thinking she is Cherry by mistake while the former Florida governor Clinton "Skink" Tyree, who fell in love at first sight with Ann or is Ann as Cherry plans to rescue his darling. This is a superb satire that lampoons the celebrity frenzy that grips Americans. The story line rips the media for how easily they are suckered by spin doctors, and the tabloid reporters for stalking the famous even placing people in danger doing so while claming their First Amendment rights, and their readers for supporting the stalking. Also gutted is the celeb retinue and hanger-ons who are there when the money and fame are there, but vanish when the star novas. This is a winner as Carl Hiaasen leaves no prisoners in his version of "Fame". Harriet Klausner
bookczuk on LibraryThing 23 days ago
No secret here -- I'm a Hiaasen fan, especially when he features Clinton Tyree, a.k.a. Skink in the stories. Those two can romp through Florida like nobody's business, and do it in grand style with some star-powered licks taken as well.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Any book with Skink in it wins me over. This one was no exception, from changing his human fake eye for one from a stuffed hunting trophy to picking his teeth with a dessicated starling beak, he's a hoot to follow because you never know what he'll do next. Newcomers might think the environmental bit was tacked on, but that's Skink's metier - kicking unscrupulous butt in the name of ecology. And I caught a lovely Zevonism in there about someone leaving the 'detox mansion' - sweet. That being said, this book felt more forced than usual for Mr. H. The idiotic escapades of a brainless pop-star just got to be over the top even for him. And I wished I saw more of what made Ann so attractive to Skink to make him seek her out for rescue, and less of Cherry, her parents and handlers. Bang was pretty entertaining in his conscience-free, hapless way, but unlikeable. Maybe making Chemo a tad more sympathetic would have done the trick. The similarities to Frankenstein's monster weren't lost on me, but the sympathy was. Oh and I hate you, Carl baby, for putting that rancid Warrant song in my head for days. Thanks, bud. All in all not bad if you're a fan and like the lengths Hiaasen goes to, but if you can't put your tongue firmly in your cheek, don't bother.
textfeet on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Self-centered fearless-to-a-fault characters confined to bizarre situations, equals frequent LOLs.
Pennydart on LibraryThing 23 days ago
"Star Island" is classic Carl Hiaasen:  a wild romp, set (of course) in South Florida, and filled with despicable but hilarious characters who get their due.  Cherry Pye is a 22 year-old hard-living pop star, who wants nothing more than to get and stay high--and to change her moniker to Cherish.  To protect her reputation, her parents and her manager hire Ann DeLusia, a look-alike actress, to pretend to be Cherry at events that the singer herself is too smashed to attend.    They also hire a body guard:  Chemo, a 7 foot ex-con with seriously pock-marked skin, and an amputated arm that's been replaced with a weed-whacker.   When Ann is kidnapped by Bang Abbott, an obese, odiferous paparazzo pursuing a money shot of Cherry, it's up to Lucy and Lila Lark, the over-Botoxed twins who serve as publicists for Cherry, to manage the situation, and they'd prefer that Ann disappear rather than let the public know that Cherry has a double.  But this is actually Ann's second kidnapping in just a few days, and her prior kidnapper, who took a liking to her, has promised to help her out whenever she needs it.   Hiaasen readers will recognize the first kidnapper:  it's Skink, the eco-terrorist former governor Florida who now lives as a hermit in a camp in the swamps, and is known to take outrageous steps to punish those whose actions will harm the local environment--like tying up a condo developer and placing a spiny sea urchin in his underwear!Like all Hiaasen novels, the plot is complex, and the writing is first-rate.  It's not great literature, but it's great fun to read.
kakadoo202 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
i am not sure how stars really are but I am sure they are not that insane at least I hope so. Not sure if a bodyguard with a weedwhacker as an arm and a govoenor in the swamps of Florida are believable.
Hagelstein on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A relentless, humorous send-up of talentless, depraved pop-singers, young vacant actors with ridiculous names (Tanner Dane Keefe,) their greed-driven enablers, stalker paparazzi, moronic night-club themes (Pubes) and Miami Beach night life in general.The pop singer, Cherry Pye, is so reliably besotted that her clueless parents and smarmy manager employ a look-alike, Ann, to make appearances for Cherry when she¿s too hammered. When Ann is kidnapped by a paparazzo who thinks she¿s Cherry, things turn strange. Disfigured bodyguards and former Governors of Florida now living as Hermits (Skink) come into play. Hiaasen keeps it all boiling nicely as the story plays out.
andyray on LibraryThing 25 days ago
It's possible I am getting jaded to Hiaason's stories, but this one didn't parse a penny in imagination or flow. He kept me going, but little love of and between the characters would be good. There was only a kind of empathetic caring between two or three of the characters and a more non-caring and unlikeable bunch of charecters I've never seen. Tim Dorsey, Hiaasen's copycat novelist over there in Tampa, went with a seriel killer as a protagonist and I simply cannot read Dorsey's stuff. There is NOTHING funny, either in satirter, sardonicism, or in any kin d of human humour, about killing people, and that leap of the imagination i can not and will not cross. It is too "fictional" to my soul, if you will. Carl is in danger, possibly, of going the same way as Dorsey. Dont do it!. We (the readers) want to casre about their protagonist. That's what he has in Skink -- a person who we have come to care about over the series, aqned why? Because his creator-writer lets the craziness down fairly often whith him and shows us his humanity. Satire doesn't mean you have to be unloveable.
tacoperez on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is a typical Carl Hiaasen book. He hits it on the nail about how our society builds up mediocre young stars and the trouble they get into. it just wasn't one of his best books. Maybe because I felt none of his characters didn't have any redeeming qualities. and out of the blue he adds the environmental aspect, but it wasn't developed as he has done in the past and was such a small part in the book. His others, tie together more, but to me this was way out in left field.
timothyl33 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
As good as it was when it started, Star Island, seems to lose most of it's momentum halfway through, until it reaches it uneventful ending. Overall, it feels like like a book that's half again as long.
jburlinson on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Pretty much paint-by-numbers humor from an old hand. The characters are all readily visualizable as their Hollywood templates: Lindsay Lohan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara (at age 50, or thereabouts, not at age 95, or whatever they actually are now), and, of course, Burt Reynolds as the governor in dreadlocks. Of course there's an ecological message. The land is played out, in every way.
carolynmj on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I really enjoy Hiaasen generally, but this one left me cold. None of the characters seemed worth any attention and the plot was just too contrived. A real let down after some of his other great efforts.
miyurose on LibraryThing 25 days ago
If you love Carl Hiaasen, there¿s no surprises here. It¿s your usual mix of wacky characters put into a wacky situation that more often than not, is the result of their own despicable actions. In the midst of all the less-than-savory characters is your beacon of shining hope: Ann DeLusia. All Ann wants is to be an actress, but the novelty of pretending to be Cherry Pye is getting old. She¿s already trying to figure out how to extract herself from her job when she¿s mistakenly nabbed by Bang Abbot, a paparazzo who becomes obsessed with Cherry after a brief, but intimate, encounter with the inebriated starlet. He has dreams of cementing Cherry¿s legacy with a Marilyn Monroe-esque photo collection, and it turns out that Ann is his ticket in.While the story is mostly solid, there were some weak points. I really couldn¿t muster up a care for the Jackie Sebago/real-estate scam storyline, which really just seemed like a reason to bring Detective Reilly into it. I also thought the ending was weak. After Ann is rescued (sort of) and the scheming to keep her quiet begins, I really expected her to go out with a bit more of a bang. The final confrontation in the nightclub is pretty bleh.But, Hiaasen is still one of my go-to authors for humor and adventure. His characters are over-the-top without being fantastical, and you usually can find some sort of message amidst the chaos. This was well worth the listen.
YogiABB on LibraryThing 25 days ago
"Star Island" is Carl Hiaasen's latest book and it is a hoot (sorry, couldn't resist). Its about a young lady who, although she can't sing, is a superstar and acts the part. She does drugs and alocohol to excess, stays way out way too late, and pretty much sleeps with anyone who stands still long enough. She pulls a few shenanigans and gets cross-ways with a paparazzi who wants revenge. Throw in two very greedy, uncaring parents, a music promoter, a former Florida governor who disappeared into the swamps years ago and a body guard with a weed eater for a hand this book is very funny.Note, unlike "Hoot" which was a book for young adults, this is definitely rated "R."I rate this book at 3 stars out of 5. It is a good read but I didn't just love it.
repb on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Hiaasen is hilarious; and so went Star Island. Another cast of ultra-goofy characters smashing their way through life the best they can. Mega drug drenched starlets versus the paparazzi in south Florida. Loved it but found his language and situations deteriorating into a morass of sewage sex -- an unfortunate yet growing trend with most of today's novelists.
Tasker on LibraryThing 25 days ago
To others, this may be a three-star, but, to me, this is a "four-star" book since I thoroughly enjoy Mr. Hiassen's novels. I think the combination of his goof-ball characters and great dialogue make his books easy to read and enjoy and I look forward to reading another - old or new. The return of Chemo was a treat and I feel he's grown from a comic-book buffon in "Skin Tight" to someone you could appreciate due to his refusal to waste his time with stupid people.
busyreadin on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Quick, lite read about the life of a rich & nearly-famous pop singer and the people who hate her.
kpetlewski on LibraryThing 25 days ago
My favorite Hiaasen characters came back in this book - Chemo and Skank. With today's obsession with spoiled celebrity women badly misbehaving, this book hit the spot! You can always count on Carl Hiaasen to bring his own brand of humor into any story.
sdmcrae on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Terrific book. Hiaason's barely masked anger anger toward Florida seamy and pop culture insipidity is expressed as wickedly funny satire. I can just hear him chortling to himself as he wrote it. The names he comes up with are a subtle as a baseball bat upside the head. And it was a delight catching up with characters from his previous books. A very enjoyable read.
bribre01 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
a good satire. Funny, with interesting characters. This was my first Hiaasen book, and I plan to read more of his work.
madamepince on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Skink's back and the other characters are just a colorful as they usually are in a Hiaasen book.
TadAD on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Typical Hiaasen but not one of his best. There's usually a character or two that I find endearing but this book was an exception. Though I think the main character, Ann, was intended for that role, she just didn't make the grade. Returning stock character Tyree/Skink has become a bit of a boring one-note avatar of Hiaasen's anger at developers destroying Florida's environment and I find that I don't really enjoy him anymore. Everything seemed just that little bit forced.
stumpworks on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Carl Hiaasen's been away from his Florida formula for four years.Meantime, he's had plenty of time to monitor tabloid reports on Britany, Lindsay, and Paris to change the name to Cherry Pye, consolidate the scandals, and incorporate into slapstick.Skink returns to duty from the swamp to hijack a luxury bus of property development investors for a rash of eco-terrorism.Been long enough since Nature Girl that I enjoyed more of the same updated for state of the art antics.If you can't laugh at TMZ, ET or USA Today's house arrest ankle bracelets, flashed pubes, or repulsive tattoos, Hiaasen is dedicated to proving taht wretched-excess reality show can be adapted as a novel. Hiaasen could be criticized for stretching Star Island to more pages than necessary for a one joke book.If you are a Hiaasen fan don't miss. If you have been wanting to try, this is a good place to jump in. If you don't like him, this one won't change your opinion.