Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
(borrowed the audiobook from my local library)
I never think that Carl Hiaasen's books are my kind of thing. Somehow, I always wind up loving them. I'm not sure why I take time to second guess whether or not I want to read them. One of these days, I'll learn from repeatedly making this mistake.
This unabridged audio version of this book was read by Arte Johnson. I know, right? When was the last time you saw or thought about Arte Johnson? Sorry, Mr. Johnson, but you seem to be stuck in the land of Laugh In for me. If there are authors out there looking for someone to read their books, Arte Johnson did a great job!
Officer Yancy, of the Florida Keys has been demoted. It seems that when he, very inappropriately, defended his girlfriend's honor to her husband, it was widely witnessed and recorded. Now, he's working the roach patrol. Without any training, he has become the local restaurant inspector. A job that has completely put him off his feed. But, that's just the tip of the iceberg for Yancy. He's somehow become the custodian of a dismembered human arm and has decided that he's going to play the detective he wants to be by solving the case. The problem with that is that he's not a detective and his boss doesn't even want this to be a case.
We've got a plastic surgeon who has it in for Yancy, an ex-girlfriend wanted by the authorities for having a sexual affair with a high school student in her last life as an AP English teacher, a widow who is definitely hiding something, a variety of inept bureaucrats, a sexy medical examiner who was just made for Yancy and helps him through all of his many scrapes and adventures, and a voodoo queen. That's not even mentioning the Russian mob, the string of dead men in the wake of the discovery of the arm and the titular monkey, who may or may not have been fired from his job in the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Hiaasen can tell a story, and he does it like no one else can. Seriously, this book juggles so many disparate characters, locales, crimes and possibilities, that you wonder how anyone can keep that many balls in the air. But, Hiaasen does, balancing every last twist and thread so that it all makes perfect sense. You finish the book with a sense of accomplishment, and a shake of the head, because, once again, he's pulled it off. It's no small feat to make all that craziness make perfect sense, but he does and he does it really well.