Thursday, January 10, 2008

Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen

"This is how I'm guessing it started. They were hanging out at the house in the islands, Jimmy and his bride. She probably walked into his studio and caught just enough of the track to know it was better than anything she had in the can. She asked her husband to play it again and he probably said, “No, it's not ready.” Then she batted her eyes and stroked his neck and asked if he'd give her the song, and he said, “Sorry babe. This one's mine.” Time went by and Cleo's label was hounding her and she kept nagging Jimmy for the cut. She probably flirted and teased and begged and cried and threw a hissy, but he wouldn't budge. And when it became plain to Cleo that her husband was keeping 'Shipwrecked Heart' for himself, she decided to kill him. And what little she remembered of the song, she sang at his funeral. Touching."

I'm having a little trouble reading prestigious books so far this year. I picked up Basket Case at Goodwill for 69 cents mostly because it was in good shape and because I'd often heard Hiaasen compared to Dave Barry, one of my favorite humorists. I went into this book expecting something like a Terry Pratchett book with mystery instead of magic. Instead, I ended up with a halfway decent murder mystery that had no distinguishing characteristics.

There is, however, an easy way to determine if you'll find Basket Case more entertaining than I did. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do I find the band name “Jimmy and the Slut Puppies” even faintly amusing?

  2. Does the idea of a man being bludgeoned nearly to death with a frozen lizard make me smile?

  3. Is the ability to solve a mystery within the first two chapters a quality I look for in my whodunits?

If you answered “no” to all three of these questions, Basket Case might not be the book for you. I'd give a summary, but really, if you've ever read a mystery novel, you could probably outline it yourself, especially since most of it is contained in the excerpt at the top of this review. Overly formulaic and underly amusing, Basket Case will hopefully be the worst book I read this year.

Oh, and here's a list of things I'm officially tired of now: Random namedropping, especially of bands; incredibly unlikely romances between obviously incompatible and cardboard characters; witty banter that's not funny; ancient obituary writers who won't die; and that's all.


Carlton said...

I hate this book, and I didn't even read it.

Christopher said...

Fuck you guys, this man wrote Striptease.

Elizabeth said...

I love Jimmy and the Slut Puppies!

Elizabeth said...

This book is still stitting in my livingroom.