A native of perhaps one of the more... eccentric
states in the Union, Carl Hiaasen has built his career writing both on the fictional and real life exploits of the citizens of Florida. Known for a strong sense of black and satirical humor, many of his novels involve situations that he insists isn't that much of a stretch for his fellow Floridians: from a crook being beaten with a frozen lizard, to a particularly ornery and sexually-deviant dolphin, to a female lead that continually has two songs clashing in her head, his novels are filled with all manner of colorful individuals. Not withstanding the more colorful of their type and behavior, Hiaasen's books usually contain recognizable yet unstereotyped characters that are often criminal, eccentric, mentally ill or challenged etc yet still make endearing protagonists - whereas his villains are the sort of individuals for whom his imaginative fates can be seen as richly deserved.Official website.
Fiction written with Bill Montalbano:
- Powder Burn
- Trap Line
- Death in China
Young Adult novels
- Kick Ass - Selected columns
- Paradise Screwed - Selected columns
- Team Rodent
- The Downhill Lie
This author's work contains examples of:
- Ironic Echo: In Tourist Season, Skip Wiley has written a column wishing Florida would get hit by a hurricane. In Stormy Weather, when a hurricane hits, Skink is eager and ready to see it.
- Non-Idle Rich: The heroes of both Stormy Weather and Sick Puppy - Augustine and Twilly, respectively - are both rich by fate (Augustine received money from an insurance settlement after he survived a plane crash; Twilly inherited his from a rich relative who died). Augustine takes care of his uncle's exotic pets, even searching for them during the hurricane in the novel, while also helping a woman find her missing husband and helping Skink find out who beat up Jim Tile's girlfriend. Twilly, in turn, devotes himself to stopping the building or a bridge to Shearwater Island that would mean environmental destruction (though he is a bit fanciful in his methods).
- According to Scat, where he features as one of the minor characters, he's apparently dumped five tons of raw garbage on someones car because that person was littering.
- Only in Florida: Hiaasen's solo novels and young adult novels run on this trope.
- Recurring Character: Former governor Clint Tyree (though he prefers to be called "Skink" or "Captain") appears in six of Hiaasen's novels, state trooper Jim Tile appears in five, detective sergeant Al Garcia appears in four (though none since Strip Tease), and Twilly Spree appears in two, plus one of the young adult novels. Some characters "recur" by never appearing, but by being mentioned by others in passing.
- Serious Business: Double Whammy has been described as a tale of sex and murder set in the high-stakes world of... large-mouth bass fishing. Lampshaded by Garcia:
"Millions," Decker said. "Every weekend."
"I don't ever want to hear you talk about crazy Cubans," Garcia said, "never again."
- Twilly, who's the Anti-Hero of Sick Puppy, initially goes after lobbyist Palmer Stoat, not because of his corrupt activities, but because he's a shameless litterbug.
- Take That: Most of Hiaasen's novels go after those who went after the Florida Everglades, but his has a few specific targets as well:
- Skin Tight features an obnoxious TV tabloid journalist modeled on Geraldo Rivera.
- Double Whammy and Lucky You feature dishonest evangelists who fake miracles and use their audience's donations to run their business empires. A swipe at 1980's era "televangelists".
- Native Tongue has a theme park similar to Walt Disney World being run by an ex-mobster.
- The villain of Basket Case is a takeoff on Courtney Love.
- Star Island can be seen as a Take That at both pop-star celebrities (the teen idol antagonist seems very similar to Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears) and the Paparazzi who stalk them.
- Write What You Know: Several of Hiaasen's main characters either once worked on a newspaper or are currently writing for one. One Skinny Dip character, like Hiaasen, keeps pet snakes.