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Better than literature

Peter Campbell, 23 April 1992

Native Tongue 
by Carl Hiaasen.
Macmillan, 325 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 9780333568293
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... the news brings – from child abuse to acid rain – prepare the mind for fictional scares. Carl Hiaasen’s comic thrillers deal with crimes against the planet. He puts wetland clearance and condominium building up alongside bank robbery and murder. His books do not offer hope. Right can only win in the short term. We are all guilty of existence ...

No-Shit Dinosaur

Jon Day: Karen Russell, 2 June 2011

by Karen Russell.
Chatto, 316 pp., £12.99, March 2011, 978 0 7011 8602 9
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... intrigues, and Angela Carter-esque tropes of pantomime and performance. Another influence is Carl Hiaasen, the de facto laureate of the Everglades. Hiaasen has kind words for Swamplandia!, which is reminiscent of Native Tongue, his hard-boiled eco-thriller set in the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, a tacky Florida ...


Stephen Smith: On Alpha 66, 25 January 1996

... frequent the Everglades in Tourist Season, one of the crime novels by the Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen. The real-life commandos’ camp, Rumbosur, ‘Pointing South’, lay a forty-minute drive out of the city, beside an orange orchard at the end of a swamp turnpike. The real estate was rented from a sympathiser, for a peppercorn dollar a ...

The State with the Prettiest Name

Michael Hofmann: ‘Florida’, 24 May 2018

by Lauren Groff.
Heinemann, 275 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78515 188 0
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... Although, if it’s straight Florida you want, you’d probably still be better advised to read Carl Hiaasen or Joan Didion. Or Matthiessen or Conroy or Stevens. Or Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings or Zora Neale Hurston. Or the Master himself. The pieces (one doesn’t want to use the word stories here, or not always) are sometimes more fictionary (to use Tom ...


Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... of an in-your-face Greenwich Village monologue. The novelist is the Miami-based eco dude, Carl Hiaasen, author of a number of slick, fast-moving, if increasingly formulaic, crime romps. Barbecued poodles, steroidal maniacs in sub-Disney pleasures parks, ugly plastic surgery retreads looking for vengeance, decent Hispanic cops, intelligent ...

Futzing Around

Will Frears: Charles Willeford, 20 March 2014

Miami Blues 
by Charles Willeford.
Penguin, 246 pp., £8.99, August 2012, 978 0 14 119901 6
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... our imagination wants it to be. Neither Miami Vice nor Scarface, or even the wild grotesque of Carl Hiaasen. There’s nothing mythical about its depiction of lower-middle-class American life. The crimes are committed either for prosaic reasons – life insurance features prominently – or they are motiveless and shocking acts of violence: an ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... sets Sallis apart, not only from the current stars of hardboiled lite, the Florida ecologist Carl Hiaasen and grizzled Elmore Leonard (as cannibalised by Quentin Tarantino), but also from Mosley. The Griffin books won’t reduce to exploitable Hollywood storylines, they’re much too rich and strange for that. Villains don’t have to be ...

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