Born in Plantation, Florida on March 12, 1953 Carl Hiaasen was destined to become the author he is today. Knowing from the age of six that he wanted to become a writer, he insisted on his parents buying him a typewriter on which he would mainly write sports stories. In the year 1974 Hiaasen graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and began working for The Miami Herald as as a general reporter before joining the ranks for the newspaper’s investigations team.
While at the paper he wrote articles which exposed drug corruption, dangerous doctors and sleazy politicians putting him offside with many politicians. In the eighties wrote his first novel, Tourist Season, which made GQ magazines “ ten best destination reads of all time ”. Hiassen’s other novels, Native Tongue, Stormy Weather, Strip Tease, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Hoot, Double Whammy and Skin Tight to name a few, have since been translated into twenty nine (29) languages and he has become known as America’s finest satirical novelist. Carl Hiaasen is a well known conservationist and this shows in his all of his novels in his colorful descriptions of Florida’s physical attributes, the wetlands, waterways and the tropical climate.
Hiaasen authored the non fiction book Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World. If he was looking to be permanently banned from Disneyland he has gone the right way about it. He exposes the man behind the hype, Michael Eisner also known as Insane Clown Michael, CEO of Disney and the cutthroat decisions that are made by the company with little or no regard to people or the environment.
A Death In China
His book, A Death In China which he wrote in the year 1984 with William D. Montalbano is a thriller set in Hong Kong, New York, Washington and China as well as few more exotic locations. The main character Tom Stratton is an American professor who becomes mixed up in Chinese politics trying to find out why his colleague David Wang has been found dead. After Chinese art being smuggled into New York the trail which Tom is follow leads to Arlington Cemetery. The background for A Death In China rings true, with readers being taken into airports, restaurants and streets while also gaining a little bit of an education into Chinese affairs.
As with most of his novels, Native Tongue is set in Hiaasen’s beloved Florida where Francis X. Kingsbury an ex racketeer now in witness protection has taken a large chunk of prime real estate and turns some of it into the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills and begins to develop the remaining parting into condo’s villas and a golf course. The other characters in the story are activists, Molly McNamary an aged activist with a gun and Clinton Tyree, Former Florida Governor who tried to warn the people that this was going to happen. Tyree was thrown out of office, lives in the swamps, and occasionally shoots up rental cars because he believes that tourist pollute the environment. Other players in the novel are a killer whale, a promiscuous dolphin and two not so smart but good hearted burglars.
Native Tongue pokes fun at F.B.I men, Mafia, conspiracies and carnage and is a hilarious tongue in cheek take on a crime novel.
Hiaasen’s first young adult novel, Hoot, came out in the year 2002 and is a hilarious mystery, carrying on the ecological vein which is seen in his adult novels, is aimed at middle school kids. This novel was followed up with other YA novels, Flush, Scat and Chomp. After being asked by an editor to consider writing for a younger audience, Hiaasen decided to give it a go. At the time his stepson was 11 and just becoming interested in reading as were his his nieces and nephews who were around the same age. He decided to write the novel and if it didn’t take off then he would still have a book he could give to the children of the family. The rest as they say is history.
The novel Striptease was adapted into a movie in the year 1996 and starred Demi Moore, who plays Erin Grant and Bert Reynolds as David Dilbeck. The general consensus here is skip the movie and read the book.
With 140,000 copies in print and a fifteen city book tour in place Hiaasen’s latest novel Bad Monkey was released in June 11 2013. With the usual cast of bizarre characters such as the kinky coroner and the voodoo queen and assortment of corrupt politicians it was destined to be a success. After the first week of his media tour the print total had gone up to 180,000 and has received rave reviews being called “ a comedic marvel ” and “ beach book par excellence ”.
Still living in Florida with his family, Hiaasen is currently working on his next Young Adult book and writing his column for the Miami Herald which he has been doing since the year 1985. He has, at one time or another annoyed just about everybody in South Florida over this time with his outspoken and passionate opinions on just about everything from shady politicians to the rape of the environment to medicare. A collection of these can be found in Kick Ass and Paradise Screwed. Part history of South Florida part fun poking at all the ineffectiveness of drug war, corrupt politicians, immoral developers and idiotic tourist slogans.
Carl Hiaasen is not known for his diplomacy or tact and in Kick Ass and Paradise Screwed, he says what he thinks, horrifies with his stories of life’s insanity, craziness and walks an extremely fine line between comedy and tragedy while still being hilarious. Unlike his novels, where the bizarre characters are products of his imagination, the columns in these books actually happened. To quote the man himself, finding raw material for his novels “ is like shooting fish in a barrel down there ”. To quote the man himself, finding raw material for his novels “ is like shooting fish in a barrel down there ”.
Books in order of publication by series:
Black Lizard Books
|A Death in China||(1984)|
|The Sinners of San Ramon||(1989)|
Mick Stranahan Books
Young Adult Books
|The Edible Exile||(2013)|
|The Best American Mystery Stories 2007||(2007)|
|Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World||(1998)|
|The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport||(2008)|
|Dance of the Reptiles||(2014)|
|Assume the Worst||(2018)|