Monday, May 30, 2016

Review of "Sick Puppy" by Carl Hiaasen

Despoilers of Florida's beauty better beware of Twilly Spree, a (slightly nuts) twenty-something, self-styled environmentalist. Twilly has already blown up his uncle's bank for loaning money to an unethical rock-mining company so he's not beyond a little retribution when he sees someone throwing trash onto a Florida highway. The 'someone' happens to be lobbyist Palmer Stoat, who - in addition to being a litterbug - 'hunts' exotic game in the local Wilderness Veldt Plantation that imports elderly animals for bigwigs to shoot.

To teach Palmer not to litter Twilly fills one of the Stoat cars with stinking rubbish, fills another with rustling dung beetles, and - when Palmer seems to be missing the message - removes the glass eyes from all the trophy heads in the Stoat mansion and fashions them into a pentagram. When Palmer still doesn't get it Twilly kidnaps the lobbyist's labrador retriever Boodle. As it happens Palmer's beautiful wife Desie - who's getting tired of her slobby, cigar-smoking husband - adds herself to the dog snatching.

At this point Twilly learns that slovenly Palmer Stoat is happily facilitating a plan to turn Florida's offshore 'Toad Island' into an upscale golf resort called 'Shearwater Island.' The resort's developer is former drug dealer Robert Clapley who's greased politicians' palms to ease the way AND taken measures to wipe out the toads for which the island is named. In an attempt to stop the project Twilly threatens to harm lovable Boodle.....but can a dog's welfare stand up against fortunes to be made?

One funny (and ridiculous) predicament follows another as the story unfolds. A hitman who collects CD's of 911 calls is hired to dispatch opponents of the resort; developer Clapley indulges his Barbie-doll fetish with live hookers and rhino horn 'aphrodisiac'; Boodle gets to wear a blindfold; and (of course) Florida's former governor Clinton Tyree (Skink) - who lives rough, eats roadkill, decorates his beard with buzzard beaks, and dresses in a shower cap and kilt - gets in on the action.

The book rolls along to a memorable climax and appropriate finale. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers who like offbeat humorous stories...especially people who'd like to see some of our natural environment preserved.  

Rating: 3.5 stars

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