Carl Hiaasen has been writing about Florida since his father gave
him a typewriter at age six. Then it was hunt-and-peck stories
about neighborhood kickball and softball games. Now Hiaasen writes
a column for the Miami Herald and is the author of many
bestselling novels, including Sick Puppy and Nature
Hoot, Hiaasen's first novel for young readers, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Newbery Honor. Flush, his second book for kids, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest offering for young readers is Scat, an eco-mystery set in the Florida Everglades.
You can read more about Hiaasen's work at www.carlhiaasen.com.
Hiaasen's (Hoot) action-packed mystery set in the Florida Keys offers a colorful cast of dastardly villains and eccentric heroes, along with his signature environmental themes. Noah would be the first to admit that his father, Paine Underwood, "sometimes goes too far" in his campaign to save the environment, especially when he single-handedly sinks the Coral Queen, a gambling boat that he believes has been dumping human waste just offshore. This feat leads to a jail sentence, and while Mr. Underwood is behind bars, it is up to Noah to prove that his father had good reason to put the floating casino out of action. Noah's mission-to catch owner Dusty Muleman "red-handed" as he drains his boat's sewage-is not an easy task. Dusty employs a burly watchman and has connections with the Coast Guard and the police. Yet Noah finds some unusual adversaries in Lice Peeking, Dusty's former employee, who is willing to testify against his ex-boss for a price; Shelly, Dusty's blond, buxom ex-girlfriend; and an unnamed "old pirate," who conveniently appears whenever Noah needs help out of a tight fix. While much of this adventure (including the identity of the "old pirate") is predictable, Hiaasen creates enough interesting plot twists to keep the pages turning. Budding environmentalists especially will delight in the ingenious way that Noah beats Dusty at his game. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-8-Noah and his sister, Abbey, are more understanding of their volatile dad's latest arrest than their mother, who begins talking of divorce. Dad sank the Coral Queen, a casino boat on a Florida Key because, he alleges, its owner, Dusty Muleman, has been illegally dumping raw sewage into the local waters. Soon enough the kids begin trying to gather proof that will vindicate their father and put the casino out of business. The colorful cast includes a drunken lout named Lice who disappears before he can be persuaded to testify against Dusty, his former boss. His rough-around-the-edges girlfriend, Shelly, comes through, though, helping the siblings dump dye in the boat's holding tanks, which finally brings the matter to court. Dusty's son, Jasper, is a chip off the old block, threatening and beating Noah on several occasions until he and, later, Abbey are rescued by a mysterious stranger who turns out to be their grandfather, long ago thought to have died in South America, probably while involved in drug smuggling. As the tale ends, he's back to Colombia to settle old scores. The plot would practically disappear if any one of the major characters had a cell phone, but the environmental story is front and center and readers will be hooked as the good guys try to do the right thing. This quick-reading, fun, family adventure harkens back to the Hardy Boys in its simplicity and quirky characters.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Compulsively readable with a cleverly conceived resolution. . .
. Fans of
spy stories, action, environmental intrigue, and, well, Hiaasen, will cheer for
this one." - The Bulletin