Honey Santana-impassioned, willful, possibly bipolar, self-proclaimed "queen of lost causes"-has a scheme to help rid the world of irresponsibility, indifference, and dinnertime sales calls. She's taking rude, gullible Relentless, Inc., telemarketer Boyd Shreave and his less-than-enthusiastic mistress, Eugenie-the fifteen-minute-famous girlfriend of a tabloid murderer-into the wilderness of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands for a gentle lesson in civility. What she doesn't know is that she's being followed by her Honey-obsessed former employer, Piejack (whose mismatched fingers are proof that sexual harassment in the workplace is a bad idea). And he doesn't know he's being followed by Honey's still-smitten former drug-running ex-husband, Perry, and their wise-and-protective-way-beyond-his-years twelve-year-old-son, Fry. And when they all pull up on Dismal Key, they don't know they're intruding on Sammy Tigertail, a half white-half Seminole failed alligator wrestler, trying like hell to be a hermit despite the Florida State coed who's dying to be his hostage . . .
Will Honey be able to make a mensch of a "greedhead" Will Fry be able to protect her from Piejack-and herself Will Sammy achieve his true Seminole self Will Eugenie ever get to the beach Will the Everglades survive the wild humans All the answers are revealed in the delectably outrageous mayhem that propels this novel to its Hiaasen-of-the-highest-order climax.
Old fans and newcomers alike should delight in Hiaasen's 11th novel (after 2004's Skinny Dip ), another hilarious Florida romp. The engaging and diverse screwball cast includes Boyd Shreave, a semicompetent telemarketer; Shreave's mistress and co-worker, Eugenie Fonda; Honey Santana, a mercurial gadfly who ends up on the other end of one of Shreave's pitches for Florida real estate; and Sammy Tigertail, half Seminole, who at novel's start must figure out what to do with the body of a tourist who dies of a heart attack on Sammy's airboat after being struck by a harmless water snake. When Santana cooks up an elaborate scheme to punish Shreave for nasty comments he made during his solicitation call, she ends up involving her 12-year-old son, Fry, and her ex-husband in a frantic chase that enmeshes Tigertail and the young co-ed Sammy accidentally has taken hostage. While the absurd plot may be less than compelling, Hiaasen's humorous touches and his all-too-human characters carry the book to its satisfying close. (Nov.) Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 14, 2006
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Excerpt from Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen
On the second day of January, windswept and bright, a half-blood Seminole named Sammy Tigertail dumped a dead body in the Lostmans River. The water temperature was fifty-nine degrees, too nippy for sharks or alligators.
But maybe not for crabs, thought Sammy Tigertail.
Watching the corpse sink, he pondered the foolishness of white men. This one had called himself Wilson when he arrived on the Big Cypress reservation, reeking of alcohol and demanding an airboat ride. He spoke of ringing in the New Year at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which was owned by the Seminole tribe on eighty-six acres between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Wilson told Sammy Tigertail that he'd been sorely disappointed not to find a single Indian at the casino, and that after a full night of drinking, hot babes and seven-card stud he'd driven all the way out to Big Cypress just to get himself photographed with a genuine Seminole.
"Some dumbass bet me a hundred bucks I couldn't find one," Wilson said, slinging a flabby arm around Sammy Tigertail, "but here you are, brother. Hey, where can I buy one of them cardboard cameras "
Sammy Tigertail directed Wilson toward a convenience store. The man returned with a throwaway Kodak, a bag of beef jerky and a six-pack. Mercifully, the airboat engine was so loud that it drowned out most of Wilson's life story. Sammy Tigertail heard enough to learn that the man was from the greater Milwaukee area, and that for a living he sold trolling motors to walleye fishermen.
Ten minutes into the ride, Wilson's cheeks turned pink from the chill and his bloodshot eyes started leaking and his shoulders hunched with the shakes. Sammy Tigertail stopped the airboat and offered him hot coffee from a thermos.
"How 'b-b-bout that picture you promised " Wilson asked.
Sammy Tigertail patiently stood beside him as the man extended one arm, aiming the camera back at them. Sammy Tigertail was wearing a fleece zip-up from Patagonia, a woolen navy watch cap from L.L. Bean and heavy khakis from Eddie Bauer, none of which would be considered traditional Seminole garb. Wilson asked Sammy Tigertail if he had one of those brightly beaded jackets and maybe a pair of deerskin moccasins. The Indian said no.
Wilson instructed him not to smile and snapped a couple of pictures. Afterward, Sammy Tigertail cranked up the airboat and set out to finish the swamp tour at the highest-possible speed. Because of the cold weather there was practically no wildlife to be observed, but Wilson didn't seem to mind. He'd gotten what he came for. Squinting against the wind, he gnawed a stick of dried beef and sipped on a warm Heineken.