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Sick Puppy
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Hiaasen (Lucky You) has done it again with this wacky, wonderful, and deadly serious novel of dirty politics, big businesses running amuck, and their potential impact on Florida's fragile ecosystem. Twilly Spree, an independently wealthy, psychologically unstable pseudo-ecologist, spends his time on a one-man crusade to preserve Florida's wildlife and natural beauty. When Twilly sees Palmer Stoat toss a Burger King wrapper from a car window, he vows to teach the litterbug a lesson. Twilly hits paydirt when he realizes that Palmer is a legislative lobbyist working for a land developer intent on building a mall, golf course, and condos on one of Florida's few undeveloped offshore islands. In a wild plot to get Palmer's attention, Twilly kidnaps Palmer's Labrador retriever but ends up with his wife as well. Thus begins a zany plot that draws in the governor, select legislators, a Swiss banker, a former drug runner turned legitimate, a couple of Barbie lookalikes, a hired hit man, a former governor-turned-hermit, and the most personable dog to grace the pages of a book since Lassie. Essential. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/99.]--Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Florida muckraker Hiaasen once again produces a devilishly funny caper revolving around the environmental exploitation of his home state by greedy developers. When budding young ecoterrorist Twilly Spree begins a campaign of sabotage against a grotesque litterbug named Palmer Stoat, he gets much more than he bargained for. Stoat is a political fixer, involved with a bevy of shady types: Dick Artemus, ex-car salesman, now governor; Robert Clapley, a crooked land developer with an unhealthy interest in Barbie dolls; and his business expediter, Mr. Gash, a permed reptilian thug with ghastly musical tastes: "All morning he drove back and forth across the old bridge, with his favorite 911 compilation in the tape deck: Snipers in the Workplace, accompanied by an overdub of Tchaikowsky's Symphony No. 3 in D Major." After a wave of preemptive strikes centered on a garbage truck and a swarm of dung beetles, Twilly ups the ante and kidnaps both Palmer's dog and his wife, Desie, who finds Twilly a great deal more interesting than her slob of a husband. In doing so Twilly uncovers a conspiracy (well, more like business as usual) to jam a bill through the Florida legislature to develop Toad Island, a wildlife sanctuary, in a deal that will make a mint for all the politicos concerned. Chapley wants Twilly silenced and dispatches Mr. Gash. Palmer wants his wife and dog back and asks Dick Artemus to help in the rescue without derailing the bill. Who should be called upon but the good cop/bad psycho duo of Trooper Jim Tile and ex-Governor Clinton Tyree, aka Skink or the Captain, whose recurring appearances throughout Hiaasen's novels have made for hysterical farce. While there may be nothing laughable about unchecked environmental exploitation, Hiaasen has refined his knack for using this gloomy but persistent state of affairs as a prime mover for scams of all sorts. In Sick Puppy, he shows himself to be a comic writer at the peak of his powers. 200,000 first printing; first serial to Men's Journal; Literary Guild alternate; simultaneous audiobook. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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