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.
Fiction written with Bill Montalbano:
- Powder Burn
- Trap Line
- Death in China
- Tourist Season
- Double Whammy
- Skin Tight
- Native Tongue
- Strip Tease
- Stormy Weather
- Lucky You
- Sick Puppy
- Basket Case
- Skinny Dip
- Nature Girl
- Star Island
- Bad Monkey
Young Adult novels
- Kick Ass - Selected columns
- Paradise Screwed - Selected columns
- Team Rodent
- The Downhill Lie
Works by Carl Hiaasen with their own pages include:
Other works by Carl Hiaasen contain examples of:
- Anything That Moves: In Native Tongue, a local Glades theme park (run by a scumbag) bought Orky the sexually-frustrated killer whale as an ill-thought-out visitor attraction. Orky attempts pelagic-style loving with pretty much any warm body that enters his tank: these wet and warm bodies include a local TV reporter doing a live segment and the park's roided-out Head of Security (whom Orky found endlessly irresistible...)
- Black Comedy: The fate of Mr. Gash in Sick Puppy, a Psycho for Hire who relaxes by listening to recordings of emergency calls. He ends up pinned under a bulldozer, with a gunshot wound to the mouth. Fortunately, he manages to get ahold of Jim Tile's cell phone and call 911. Unfortunately...Dispatcher: Sir, do you speak English?
Caller: Eh izzh Engizh! Mah ung gaw zzha off! Whif ah gung!
Dispatcher: Hang on, sir, I'm transferring you to someone who can take the information.
Caller: Ngooohh! Hep! Peezh!
Dispatcher Two: Diga. ¿Dónde estás?
Dispatcher Two: ¿Tienes una emergencia?
Caller: Oh fugghh. I gaw die.
- Black Comedy Rape: The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, a theme park in Native Tongue, buys a dolphin on the cheap to compete with Disneyland's swimming-with-dolphins attraction, but it turns out to be mentally unstable and sexually deviant. One of the bad guys meets his fate by falling into the pool and drowning as the dolphin assaults him.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Sometimes played for Black Comedy, sometimes not.
- In Strip Tease, the sleazy ex-husband of the main character falls into a drug-induced sleep in a vat of sugarcane — which is then fed through a processing plant.
- In Native Tongue, a hitman falls into a tank at a "Sea World"-like attraction, and simultaneously drowns and is humped to death by the oversexed dolphin that lives in the tank.
- The deluded "journalist" in Skin Tight gets one that involves a liposuction cannula and a very clumsy plastic surgeon.
- The airboat accident in Basket Case.
- Doesn't Like Guns: In Stormy Weather, Ira Jackson, a mafia thug, doesn't carry guns, partly because it's a condition of his parole, but mostly he feels anyone who carries a gun gets shot with one sooner or later. Besides, he prefers the more personal touch of crucifying his victims.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In Stormy Weather, mobster Ira Jackson goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the real estate agent who sold his mother a defective home and the roofing inspector who didn't do his job properly, after a hurricane destroys the property and kills Jackson's mother.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In Tourist Season, the main bad guy tells Brian Keyes they're going to "violate the most sacred virgin in all Miami", but when Brian immediately assumes rape, the bad guy is disgusted Brian would think such a thing of him.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Christian Outdoor Network (CON), an outdoors-themed religious broadcasting network which is tied to a televangelist's shady real estate development next to the Everglades.
- Fun with Flushing: In Flush, Noah and his sister flush dyes down a polluting ship's toilets in attempt to expose them.
- Gonk: Skin Tight contains the ex-con turned bodyguard Chemo, who has a deformed face due to an electrolysis procedure that went horribly wrong. Then he took a medication that promised to fix it, but instead made it look like cereal was glued to his face. He went to prison for killing the incompetent electrolysis doctor.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: In Tourist Season, the body of one of the victims of "El Fuego" is discovered wearing a flower-print shirt, baggy Bermuda shorts and black wraparound sunglasses and drenched in coconut-scented suntan lotion, none of which he usually wore in life.
- He Knows Too Much: In Strip Tease, this drives much of the main plot as characters discover a Congressman who beat up another patron at a nudie bar. They're hoping for some blackmail, but the Congressman's people have other ideas. A purer example is mostly in the background — three migrant workers are hired to murder one character, sent back to Jamaica afterwards, and it's implied that a fatal accident will be arranged for them there.
- Hidden Depths: In Flush, Jasper is the son of the main antagonist, and serves as the protagonist's jerkass rival, along with his crony Bull. Bull is described as very big, but not too smart (and he is beaten by the protagonist's sister and grandpa). However, later in the book, Jasper and him sneak out some beers and cigarettes, which he tried to light up, and instead set his dad's boat casino on fire. Bull drags him out of the burning wreckage, despite both inhaling smoke, and Jasper even tries to shift blame on to him for it. Amazingly, he still hangs out with Jasper, and leaves him when confronted by the protagonist and his family in the end.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: In Strip Tease, Erin Grant becomes a stripper, but only because she has to do something lucrative to pay off her legal fees from trying to get custody of her daughter from her sleazeball ex-husband. She never actually has much of a romance with anybody, let alone being saved by The Power of Love, and she gets the happiest ending of anyone in the book.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: In Strip Tease, this is Orly's response when Erin (on behalf of the other dancers) requests that the air conditioning be turned up. Orly is pretending this is to prevent her getting in trouble, but is really hoping to just ignore the request until the issue is forgotten. When Erin then writes down "72 or no dancing", he adds "I'll pretend I didn't see that."
- 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.
- Basket Case has one with a much quicker turnaround: "The lake was dark, they must've hit something..."
- Last-Name Basis: In Strip Tease, Mordecai is only referred to by that name, Mordecai, throughout the novel (even Joyce refers to him as her "cousin Mordecai"). Since Mordecai is a rare, but not unknown, first name in the US, the reader will probably assume that is the character's first name. It is only in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue that his full name (Jonathan Peter Mordecai) is given. (There's no plot reason for any first/last name confusion, it just comes as a mild surprise to any reader who happens to notice.)
- Morality Pet: Hospice patient Maureen, for Earl O'Toole in Skinny Dip. Initially she's just a (not-entirely-voluntary) source for his fentanyl fix, but...Tool's mother had passed away barely a month after the doctors had told her she was sick. It was in the middle of a tomato harvest, and he didn't get back to Jacksonville in time to say good-bye. He heard himself telling the whole story to Maureen, who said, "Don't feel bad. I'm sure she knew how much you loved her."
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: In Tourist Season, several characters are eaten by a North American crocodile named Pavlov, who has escaped into the wild.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Basket Case is all about the suspicious death of a punk-inspired, revolutionary musician and the rise of his angry, sexpot wannabe musician girlfriend.
- Reynaldo Flemm, arrogant and clueless "investigative journalist," bears a passing resemblance to one Geraldo Rivera.
- 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).
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In Lucky You, Bode and Chub's incoherent white-supremacist views (and their blinding stupidity on other topics) are pathetic enough to almost be funny, at least for the first few chapters. Then they give JoLayne a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for the offense of being a black woman in possession of a winning lottery ticket. And threaten her turtles for good measure.
- One Steve Limit: In-universe in Strip Tease, where two strippers want to use the name stage name of "Monique". They settle on the older one keeping the name while the younger one calls herself "Monique Jr."
- 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.
- Returning the Wedding Ring: In Lucky You, a major character had been engaged six times, broke the engagement six times, and returned the ring five times. The time she kept the ring was because the breakup was over the man developing a disturbing fascination with body piercings, and she was afraid of what he'd do with it if it was returned.
- 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:"You're telling me," Garcia said, "that grown men will sit down for hours in front of a television set and watch other men go fishing.""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.
- Soap Punishment: In Lucky You, there's a white supremacist whose nice liberal parents once washed his mouth out for saying the N-word. Now he can be as racist as he pleases, but he can't bring himself to utter the N-word, much to the amusement of the other white supremacists.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: invoked by the cover art of Hiaasen's non-fiction book, Assume The Worst.
- 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." The scammers in Lucky You are portrayed slightly more sympathetically, partly because they aren't exactly raking in the big bucks with their schemes.note
- 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.
- Razor Girl is a swipe at "reality" TV shows and the dangers of rabid fanbases taking said shows too seriously.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Skink, a recurring character, is fond of roadkill. Whenever he offers it to another character, they will invariably reply it tastes like chicken.
- Technology Marches On: Considering most of the books are set around the same time they were first published, and Hiaasen's been writing since The '80s, this was unavoidable, but one line from Basket Case stands out.In only three weeks, a digital re-mix [sic] of the single drew sixty-two thousand downloads off the band's interactive Web site [sic].
- This Is a Work of Fiction: Hiaasen likes to have fun with this trope.
- Lucky You has:Pearl Key is an imaginary place, although the indiscriminate dining habits of the blue crab and the common black vulture are accurately portrayed. However, there is no approved dental use for WD-40, a trademarked product.
- Sick Puppy has:This is a work of fiction. All names and characters are either invented or used fictitiously. To the best of the author's knowledge, there is no such licensed product as a Double-Jointed Vampire Barbie, nor is there a cinematic portrayal thereof.
However, while most events described in this book are imaginary, the dining habits of the common bovine dung beetle are authentically represented.
- From Basket Case:...However, the frozen-lizard episode is based loosely on the tragic true-life demise of a voracious Savannah monitor named Claw, who now sleeps with the Dove bars.
- Lucky You has:
- This Is Going to Be Huge: Nature Girl has two characters who went through this. One is a woman who was mistress to a man who killed his wife and ended up in a high-profile murder trial, which led to a sensationalised ghost-written book on her story for which she gained half a million dollars and a stockbroker boyfriend who recommended investing it in Enron; two years later, she had lost it all and was working at a bottom-feeding telemarketing company. The other is the mother of another character, whose many disappointments in life include her father cashing in his pension to invest it all in the Delorean Motor Company, leaving nothing to pass to his daughter.
- Toad Licking: Recurring character, eccentric governor-turned-hermit Clinton "Skink" Tyree, frequently licks toads.
- Undignified Death: In Native Tongue, a hitman falls into a tank at a "Sea World"-like attraction, and simultaneously drowns and is humped to death by the oversexed dolphin that lives in the tank.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The main villain of Tourist Season simply wants to keep Florida from being overpopulated and its environment destroyed. Unfortunately, he's also willing to kill a lot of people to get that point across.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A staple of Hiaasen's novels. Even when he switched to a first-person viewpoint in Basket Case, he had to include one.
- Write What You Know: Several of Hiaasen's main characters either once worked on a newspaper or are currently writing for one.