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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Starting The Summer With Laughter

When was the last time a novel made you laugh out loud continually? If you haven't had that experience in a while, I recommend "Skinny Dip" (2004) by Carl Hiaasen.

Hiaasen is new to me. I saw his name among the 125 authors asked to select ten of their favorite books for "The Top Ten" (J. Peder Zane, 2007), one of those list books I have difficulty resisting. Not long after reading Zane's book, I grabbed "Skinny Dip" in what I call a "library drive-by". The laughs started almost immediately and never let up.

Aside from his humor, Hiaasen is a fine storyteller and shrewd observer of the underside of society. As he tells the tale of Dr. Chaz Perrone, surely the world's most inept murderer, the character reminded me of the dim criminals who populate Elmore Leonard's books. But in this book anyway, Hiaasen is funnier than Leonard; no mean feat.

Though no masterwork of literature, I hesitate to call "Skinny Dip" a beach book - too demeaning. But if you want to laugh while sitting on the beach reading, end your search. Be sure to tell me who you cast in the main roles - Chaz, his wife Joey, and Mick Stranahan. I'd love to compare notes with you.  

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