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Stormy Weather
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Hiaasen's latest madcap romp across southern Florida presents an apocalyptic panorama of the region in the wake of a storm much like Hurricane Andrew. Transforming a suburban sprawl into a lawless frontier, the hurricane puts on a collision course a demented cast of tourists, scam artists and eccentrics: New York ad exec Max Lamb, who decides to spice up his Orlando honeymoon by taking his bride and his camcorder into the teeth of the storm; Skink, the swamp-dwelling former Florida governor (last seen in Native Tongue) who kidnaps Max in an effort to teach him to respect the land; Edie March, a seductive grifter who hatches a half-baked personal-injury scam with the help of Snapper, a sadistic ex-con; and Augustine, the altruistic son of a jailed drug smuggler, who juggles skulls to relax. Also mobilized are a mob enforcer with a penchant for crucifixions, a voodoo-practicing building inspector and a number of menacing escaped animals. In his sixth novel, less a straightforward thriller than a sprawling slice of life, Hiaasen dexterously resolves his many subplots, uniting the principals in a climactic chase across the swampland‘while adding sting to his perpetual theme: the unrelenting depredation of Florida's cultural and natural heritage. 200,000 first printing. (Aug.)

Take one devastating Florida hurricane, a New York couple on their honeymoon, a skull-juggling but sensitive guy, one former governor turned Everglades hermit, two small-time con artists, a corrupt building inspector, two state troopers, a hapless insurance agent, and what do you have? The recipe for Hiaasen's (Native Tongue, LJ 9/1/91) sixth novel, a delightful romp that is by turns hilarious and moving. These strange characters maneuver through a broken landscape as if born to it, and the author's control of both style and narrative keeps the novel from slipping into silliness. The crimes plotted are minor aspects of a fiction that explores the intersection of the grotesque and the human. Buy wherever good fiction is read. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/95.]‘A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham

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