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Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen
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Stormy Weather (original 1995; edition 2001)

by Carl Hiaasen

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2,031363,294 (3.77)48
Member:Carolee888
Title:Stormy Weather
Authors:Carl Hiaasen
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:crime, hurricanes, fraud, Florida, mystery, humor

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Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen (1995)

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[Stormy Weather] by Carl Hiaasen

With Hurricane Hermine just now blowing Florida away somewhere, it seems appropriate to read what novelist Carl Hiaasen has to say about such weather in his home state. South Florida in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane is the setting for [Stormy Weather]. As usual, Hiaasen populates the story with a spectacular cast of grifters, psychopaths, loonies, innocents, tourists (a given in Florida), politicians, law enforcement men and women, laborers, bosses, clerks, and hustlers.
In a Hiaasen story, such characters generally race from city to swamp and back again, criss-crossing one another's paths, seldom mindful of what anyone else is doing (or trying to do).

In [Stormy Weather], most everyone is trying to capitalize on disaster, typically but not exclusively someone else's disaster.

• Max Lamb interrupts his honeymoon, begun in an Orlando motel, to race to Miami to videotape the storm damage and the newly homeless, treating the devastation as a tourist attraction. Offended by Max's antics, his wife turns away. In a flash, Max vanishes, abducted by a large man in military trousers, no shirt, and a flowered shower cap.

• Bonnie Lamb, Max's wife, finds herself stranded in a dystopian environment without money, without knowing a soul. When it starts raining, she's invited to shelter under a scrap of plywood by a young guy with a small rifle on his shoulder. What she really wants is to go home.

• Augustine Herrera is a young man of independent means, wandering the streets in search of exotic animals--many of them dangerous--that the hurricane liberated from a ramshackle wildlife farm, a failing operation bequeathed to Augustine after the recent death of his uncle. The exotics include several big cats, a huge Cape Buffalo, and a variety of monkeys. His armament shoots tranquilizer darts.

• Skink is an unpredictable wild man, a denizen of south Florida's swampy wilderness. He's intent on teaching Max some manners and a respect for nature, and a shock collar is a primary tool in this endeavor.

• Edie Marsh, an attractive grifter, abandons Palm Beach when the hurricane threatens Dade County. She had schemed to bed a Kennedy, then cry rape, and finally settle out of court for a suitable payment. That hadn't worked, so now she was going to visit hurricane-flattened housing and have a roof or wall collapse conveniently and injure her.

• Lester Maddox Parsons, better known as Snapper, is a low-life thug, recently out of prison, having served time for manslaughter. An occasional "business associate" of Edie (she shoplifts women's underwear that he fences), he's once again her associate in her personal injury scam. He knows a Cuban-American called Avila who can help them locate a suitable house.

• Avila is highly qualified for Edie's and Snapper's scam because he formerly was a building inspector for the county. He would inspect and approve as many as 80 houses a day without exiting his pickup. Taking them to a high-density development, he tells them to pick a house, because when the hurricane hits, all the houses will be coming down.

• Tony Torres is the owner of the house the scammers select, and he is camping in the rubble, armed with a shotgun. Not surprisingly, he's able to dissuade them from their scam. He has the shotgun because he knows he'll be visited by enraged owners of now-demolished double-wides he sold them with a bogus sales pitch stressing that U. S. government regulations were met. He's staying put because he intends to pocket the entire insurance settlement on his own house, not splitting it with his estranged wife, who is living in Oregon. He offers to give Edie a cut if she'll pose as Mrs. Torres when the adjuster appears.

• Jim Tile, a state highway patrol officer, and his girlfriend, Trooper Brenda Rourke, represent the side of law-and-order. As it works out, Tile is Skink's oldest, closest friend in the world. (Both Skink and Jim Tile have appeared in other Hiaasen novels.)

It's a twisty, turny road to the conclusion. Will Max and Bonnie ever find each other? Who the hell is this Skink guy? Who, if anyone, is Edie going to bonk? Yes, those wandering exotic animals cross the set from time to time. Yes, it is hoot the entire journey, even when guns are drawn and fired.

Two thumbs up for this entertaining novel.
  weird_O | Sep 26, 2016 |
Audio book performed by George Wilson

After a massive hurricane flattens Southern Dade County Florida, the place is overrun with various chiselers, scam artists, would-be contractors, insurance adjusters, and even honeymooning tourists. Hiaasen peoples this romp with the usual mix of characters – Bonnie and Max are on their honeymoon at Disney World when the hurricane hits, and Max just [u]has[/u] to head south to get home videos of the aftermath. Augustine Herrera has recently inherited his uncles wildlife “park” … and needs to find the various wildlife (including a male African lion, a cape buffalo, dozens of reptiles, and several mangy monkeys) who have been set free by the storm’s destruction. Edie and Snapper (Lester Maddox Preston) figure they can score a quick insurance scam, but just cannot catch a break. Antonio Torres is the subject of wrath when the entire trailer park – where he sold “federally guaranteed” mobile homes – is flattened, killing one resident and leaving the others with nothing but their memories. All of them are interconnected by the former governor of Florida – Skink – a one-eyed certifiably crazy mad man who has been waiting for “the big one” and experiences the storm lashed to a high-rise bridge.

The plot is riddled with ridiculously convenient coincidences and interconnections. But who cares?! Hiaasen is a master of this unique genre … a sort of improbable romp wherein everything turns out for the best and the bad guys always get what’s coming to them.

Wilson does a reasonable job of performing the book, though he is not very good at the female voices. I particularly like the way he breathes life into Skink, however. My particular copy of the work was unfortunately marred on the last disc, so I couldn’t listen to the ending … the last track was mostly pops and whistles, with the occasional word fragment. Drats … Well, fortunately for me I also had a copy of the text so I could finish the book.

All in all it’s an enjoyable diversion. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 16, 2016 |
Another outrageous tale with over the top characters. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
Typical Hiaasen, a mixed bag of crazy characters come together with their schemes in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. ( )
  punxsygal | Jan 16, 2016 |
My first Carl Hiaasen book. My son's been telling me for a long time to read them, and I have to say he was exactly right. I guess this is a typical Hiaasen book, in that it has good guys and bad guys, and the good guys are underdogs in one way or another. Yet, in the end, good triumphs. All the elements that make a great story for me, and very well-written. I'll be reading more soon. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
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On August 23, the day before the hurricane struck, Max and Bonnie Lamb awoke early, made love twice and rode the shuttle bus to Disney World.
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For Donna, Camille, Hugo and Andrew
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446677167, Paperback)

A hilarious new novel of greed and corruption from the bestselling author of "Strip Tease". The story focuses on southern Florida at the height of the tourist season, when a ferocious hurricane hits--luring con artists, carpetbaggers, and would-be saviors like hyenas to the lion's kill. "Hiaasen himself is a one-man force of nature".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:00 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A hilarious new novel of greed and corruption from the bestselling author of \"Strip Tease\". The story focuses on southern Florida at the height of the tourist season, when a ferocious hurricane hits--luring con artists, carpetbaggers, and would-be saviors like hyenas to the lion\'s kill. \"Hiaasen himself is a one-man force of nature\".… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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