Sick Puppy

Sick Puppy

A Novel

Book - 2000
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When Palmer Stoat notices the black pickup truck following him on the highway, he fears his precious Range Rover is about to be carjacked. But Twilly Spree, the man tailing Stoat, has vengeance, not sport-utility vehicles, on his mind. Idealistic, independently wealthy and pathologically short-tempered, Twilly has dedicated himself to saving Florida's wilderness from runaway destruction. He favors unambiguous political statements -- such as torching Jet-Skis or blowing up banks -- that leave his human targets shaken but re-educated. After watching Stoat blithely dump a trail of fast-food litter out the window, Twilly decides to teach him a lesson. Thus, Stoat's prized Range Rover becomes home to a horde of hungry dung beetles. Which could have been the end to it had Twilly not discovered that Stoat is one of Florida's cockiest and most powerful political fixers, whose latest project is the "malling" of a pristine Gulf Coast island. Now the real Hiaasen-variety fun begins . . . Dognapping eco-terrorists, bogus big-time hunters, a Republicans-only hooker, an infamous ex-governor who's gone back to nature, thousands of singing toads and a Labrador retriever greater than the sum of his Labrador parts -- these are only some of the denizens of Carl Hiaasen's outrageously funny new novel. Brilliantly twisted entertainment wrapped around a powerful ecological plea, Sick Puppy gleefully lives up to its title and gives us Hiaasen at his riotous and muckraking best.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679454458
0679454454
Branch Call Number: FIC
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 25 cm

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Barkfin
May 07, 2018

This is one of the worst Hiaasen novels. I thought I would try to get into them, because they describe a much grittier world than I am aware of, but this latest one was just too big a challenge for Hiassen to sell me (eco terrorist as protagonist - I am halfway through the book, and I find I despise every single character equally).
Well it's pretty clear he approaches these books more as a newspaper reporter than a bonafide author. His characters, or caricatures, kind of go through these wild adventures in an exposition style. But the characters themselves have no arc to speak of. Usually his protagonist is some kind of super man, who is invincible in fights, extremely savvy to all of the social ills surrounding him, and all he wants is peace to retreat away from the noise of the wicked world to the tranquility of his own extreme self-sufficiency. But he is usually besot by naked bimbos throwing themselves on him, or else gangs of evil thugs who feel he has to learn some lesson of respect, for some reason, so he has to rise himself from his figurative easy chair, and reluctantly deal with all these external messes that incidentally were never his fault. Ultimately the book ends, and the main characters are pretty much unchanged, other than a new set of antagonists have been thwarted.
I have a sneaking suspicion that his books are nothing more than fantasy trips for Hiaasen, in which naked beautiful women bring him booze and drugs, and he clobbers multiple 'bad guys' with ease, and gives them injuries that would hospitalize them (for example, the two gym rats he beats up with cans of beer, one gets a severely broken jaw, the other suffers some other facial injury - their girlfriends drop everything to tend to their immediate condition, Hiassen escapes with ease. Their crime? Someone chucked a beer can at a pelican; he saw it; and as an eco-terrorist, he is the only one man enough to deal with it - or whatever).
Anyway, to read his books you have to stretch out a long ways in order to suspend your disbelief. But most of his characters are so flawed that they no longer seem like a protagonist I have any interest in reading about. And it's not like they undergo any worthwhile transformation either; the book will end with the mobsters dead or in jail, most likely broke, and Hiassen's character sitting pretty with some other guy's wife (or wives), and probably the drugs too. Thanks anyway.

b
bheat4141
Jan 29, 2016

Every now and then Hiaasen writes a book that feels like a breath of fresh air, meaning he kept his entertaining style intact but focused on a theme other than Florida/Nature/Political corruption. Or at least every now and then one (or multiple) of those themes is at least muted enough where you can kid yourself that you are reading something different.

This is not one of those books.

It is enjoyable, but for someone who has read a couple of Hiaasen books, look elsewhere if you are looking for any diversity.

TutorialSmith Sep 02, 2015

What can I say? It's Hiaasen. I know the books are all pretty much the same, and they aren't high literature or anything. But what they ARE is highly entertaining. I spent a lot of time in Florida as a child/young adult and I have met the real world echos of many of his characters.

p
pitkerro
Jul 24, 2013

Always thrilling to discover "new to me" author - second book of his I've read confirming trending towards addictive.

p
pompom826
Aug 30, 2011

This book read like something Janet Evonivich would write if she posessed a higher degree.

c
comicgeek
Jan 20, 2011

It is like candy for the brain.

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violet_bird_381 Oct 18, 2012

violet_bird_381 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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