Après Strip Tease (LJ 8/93), le déluge. Hiaasen returns to familiar ground-southern Florida-in this account of the schemers who spring up in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
Hiaasen's latest madcap romp across southern Florida presents an apocalyptic panorama of the region in the wake of a storm much like Hurricane Andrew. Transforming a suburban sprawl into a lawless frontier, the hurricane puts on a collision course a demented cast of tourists, scam artists and eccentrics: New York ad exec Max Lamb, who decides to spice up his Orlando honeymoon by taking his bride and his camcorder into the teeth of the storm; Skink, the swamp-dwelling former Florida governor (last seen in Native Tongue) who kidnaps Max in an effort to teach him to respect the land; Edie March, a seductive grifter who hatches a half-baked personal-injury scam with the help of Snapper, a sadistic ex-con; and Augustine, the altruistic son of a jailed drug smuggler, who juggles skulls to relax. Also mobilized are a mob enforcer with a penchant for crucifixions, a voodoo-practicing building inspector and a number of menacing escaped animals. In his sixth novel, less a straightforward thriller than a sprawling slice of life, Hiaasen dexterously resolves his many subplots, uniting the principals in a climactic chase across the swampland‘while adding sting to his perpetual theme: the unrelenting depredation of Florida's cultural and natural heritage. 200,000 first printing. (Aug.)