I have a real fondness for Carl Hiaasen. I have never yet been disappointed by one of his books, but I realise that they are probably not everyone’s cup of tea. I do have a love of the surreal, and Hiaasen appeals to that in large doses.
Star Island introduces us to Cherry Pye (real name Cheryl Bunterman) who is a whiney, self-centred overtly sexual young pop starlet with no singing ability at all, and on a downward spiral to ruin.
In order to keep the paps off of her tail, her manager mum has employed the services of Ann DeLusia – an almost perfect double of the singer lookswise, but whose inteligence, sass and general likeability set her miles apart. And somehow, Cherry knows nothing of Ann’s existence.
When an over-enthused pap kidnaps the wrong girl, just when Cherry is on a massive bender, the wheels are set in motion for a showdown between an obscure bunch of characters – including the wonderful Hiassen staple Skink, the one-eyed former Governor of Florida who resides in the mangrove swamps, lives off the land and brings his own form of justice to those he feels deserve it.
I do have a soft spot for Hiaasen, and I haven’t picked up one of his for a while. I don’t think this is his best book by a long shot, but oh my, I was in for a totally unexpected treat as I got this as an audiobook from Audible.
It was narrated by Jeff Harding (which meant nothing to me when I picked it up, but have since found out that he’s “Hi, I’m Ed Winchester!” from The Fast Show) and I have firmly decided that Jeff Harding should read absolutely every comedic American book!
He was fantastic – the voices were brilliant, and it completely made it. It almost felt more like a play. I’m not sure how much of my enjoyment was the actual book, and how much was him. But I now don’t think I’d want to read another Hiaasen when Jeff can do it for me!