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   Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather
by by Carl Hiaasen

Category: Fiction / General
336 pages; ISBN: ISBN 0-679-41982-9

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: William Fare


Carl Hiaasen, best known for his work at the Miami Herald as both a columnist and investigative reporter, as well as his novel "Strip Tease", which was turned into a horrible film with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds, can certainly spin a good yarn. His subjects in "Stormy Weather" (1995) are obviously dear to his heart, and in turn keep the reader eagerly turning ahead.

Amidst a post-hurricane Florida landscape, we follow a cast of misfits as they struggle to turn the misfortune of the storm victims into profit. There`s Snapper, a violent career criminal with a peculiar facial deformity. There`s Avila, who uses voodoo unsuccessfully to try and get ahead. Edie Marsh, a hardened golddigger who wishes she was bedding Kennedys, leads her motley crew into the hurricane zone to find some easy money in the debris.

Bonnie and Max Lamb, on their honeymoon when the storm hits, are seperated when Max goes wandering off to video-tape the carnage for possible fame and profit. As Bonnie realizes her new husband is both cold-hearted and shallow, she quickly finds herself with a one eyed ex-governor who now leads a life of roadkill meals and smoking dried toad urine and a young man who has so much free time on his hands that he`s taken up skull juggling. To top it off, there`s monkeys, snakes, a lion, and a buffalo all on the loose now that their home has been destroyed.

The plot changes directions so quickly that most other authors would lose the reader very quickly. Hiaasen, on the other hand, seems to thrive on throwing more and more characters and twists into the story, but using such outrageous details that one can`t help but follow along. There is a lot of adventure and humor here, but the focus always remains on making sure that each character gets what he/she deserves. Their vices always seem to come back to haunt them, especially when it involves the destruction of nature or taking advantage of others` misfortune. This novel reads like a fable for the modern day, with its lessons softened by the ridiculous events that unfold.

If you want a good laugh, Carl Hiaasen`s "Stormy Weather" will do the trick. More than that, however, he paints an amazing portrait of the culture that springs up in the path of a hurricane. This novel is never subtle, but I dare you to not enjoy the swats it takes at all things corrupt.


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