Wednesday 8 March 2017



Key West is a small place, but there are criminal secrets buried everywhere . . .

When jumped-up reality TV star Buck Nance aggravates the crowd in a Key West bar, he incites a riot and vanishes in the melee. His hapless agent Lane Coolman should have been by Buck's side, but has been accidentally taken hostage by two petty criminals who now think they can turn a quick profit by ransoming an LA talent agent.

As the search for Buck continues, the mystery draws in a broad cast of characters from across the island including Andrew Yancy, the disgraced cop who now works restaurants on roach patrol; a delusional fan of Buck's show; the local sheriff who's desperate for re-election; a shady lawyer and his gold-digging fiancée; the gay mayor and his restauranteur partner; a Mafioso hotelier; and a redheaded con artist named Merry who, using a razor blade and a high-speed car, has developed a signature way of luring in her victims.

Outrageously funny, fast-paced and uniquely addictive, Razor Girl will keep you utterly gripped until the final page.

Enjoyable overall but not one of his better books in my opinion. There were some moments of pure comedy gold which had me laughing like a drain, but places in the book where I kind of felt the story dragged. Maybe the thing with comedy crime is that can very often fall flat if you’re not quite in the mood for absurdity.

I haven’t picked up a Hiaasen book since July, 2010 when I read Team Rodent – a non-fiction diatribe on all things Disney. I haven’t picked up one of his novels for longer than that. Maybe my fond memories of Tourist Season and Double Whammy from 20-odd years ago are too tinged with nostalgia and false memory over how good they were, and if I read them today they would be enjoyed about the same as this. I hope not.     

I didn’t dislike the book. I liked the main character Andrew Yancy and his escapades with our Razor Girl, Merry were amusing. Yancy is suffering from matters of the heart and his career is in the doldrums. His girlfriend has gone to Europe, her return is questionable. His detective job has gone south and he’s working restaurants checking out hygiene violations. Merry may be the one to take his mind off of things! Always assuming she stops running her insurance scam, a somewhat dubious practice of causing road traffic accidents while purportedly attending to the smoothness of her lady parts with the aforementioned razor while driving. (Yancy’s fall from grace may have been documented in an earlier book – Bad Monkey, something I haven’t read yet.)

Add to the mix, a reality TV star who has disappeared after a drunken racist rant hit the airwaves, his agent who heads south to put out the flames from the incident and locate him, a dodgy lawyer who is suffering from the side effects of applying a bit too much questionable enhancement cream to his genitalia, his other half who has lost her massive engagement ring and offers Yancy payment in kind to help recover it, plus a simple-minded villain who harbours delusions of stardom and fame all fuelled by an ill-conceived kidnap plot.  

A fair few laughs, but not up there with his best.

3 from 5

I might be in a minority here, because of the 24 reviews thus far on Amazon UK - 14 award 5 stars and 8 scores are 4. I'm with the 2 that rated it at 3 stars.

Carl Hiaasen has written over 20 novels, some for YAs, a couple of book series featuring Skink in one and Mick Stranahan in another, plus more than a few standalones. His website is here.

Hiaasen is a journalist with the Miami Herald and for years I used to follow his weekly column, but kind of fell out of the habit of doing so.

Read in November, 2016
Published – 2016
Page count – 342
Source – review copy from Little Brown Book Group (thanks to Ella Bowman)

Format – new hardback.


  1. Even the best author doesn't always nail it, Col. And I think you do have a point about the timing for reading a book. I'm glad you found some things to like about it, though.

    1. When I was flicking back through it, I wondered if I had been overly harsh, as I was giggling as I skimmed. On balance I don't think so. Agreed - even the best author doesn't always nail it. He's still very much up there in my opinion! Yes timing plays a crucial part in enjoying or otherwise.

  2. Col – Despite your 3 out of 5, I still plan to read it. Average Hiaasen is better than the best of a lot of other writers. But, I agree, not all his books are as good as some of those wild, early novels. My favorite was STRIPTEASE.

    1. Elgin when he hits top form he's the funniest writer alive. My wife has threatened to smother me with a pillow when I've been reading him in bed before, my laughing has annoyed her that much. STRIPTEASE was up there with his best. Funny enough I've not seen the film of it.
      I hope RAZOR GIRL works for you.

  3. This is a great reminder to me that I need to read something by Hiaasen. I have Tourist Season, and have had it for years.

  4. Tracy, I loved TOURIST SEASON - it's one of my favourites from him. I know you aren't a massive fan of comedy mysteries so I hope it is enjoyable for you.

  5. I have only heard of writer Carl Hiaasen whose "Tourist Season" and "Double Whammy" sound more appealing than "Razor Girl."

    1. Prashant they are classics in my opinion. I'm hoping to reread them one day!

  6. I'm like TracyK - feeling I should read more Hiaasen. But then probably not this one! You're doing a good job on selling Tourist Season instead...