Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen

Chas Perrone, on a cruise with his wife Joey, tricks her on to the deck one night when no-one's around, and tips her over the side into the Atlantic. He doesn't report her missing until the next day, confident that if the fall didn't kill her, then the sharks, or the cold, will. But Joey isn't killed in the fall, and manages to survive long enough to be picked up by a friendly ex-cop who's semi-retired and living on an Island off the Florida keys. Together, they plot her revenge on Chas.

While Strip Tease seemed a bit like Elmore Leonard, this was more reminiscent of John D. Macdonald. It was still fairly amusing, but the plot was more fairytale-ish; reminded me a bit of "The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything", where pretty much everything goes right for Joey, and pretty much everything goes wrong for poor Chas - so much so that it reads like a farce.

The book was quite enjoyable, and made me chuckle a few times, once I'd got into the swing of it, and read it as MacDonald rather than Leonard. The problem with it was that it was too long. It really would have benefitted from being edited down. There was a lot of stuff about the cop who suspected Chas of murder, and pretty much none of it was directly relevant - all the stuff about his pet snakes could have been chopped. And I sometimes found the writing style to be a bit laboured: he is keen on hyperbolic irony and uses it a bit too much, e.g. when talking about a car that crashed: the mini-cooper having been reduced on impact to the approximate size of a bagel toaster - ok occasionally but he overdoes it a bit.

As in Strip Tease, there are themes of corruption and destruction: Hiaasen gets in some digs at the developers who have ruined the Everglades. I assume that a lot of the back-story is factually based, and this again echoes Macdonald, as voiced in the McGee books by Meyer.

So not as good as Strip Tease, but worth reading all the same. And worth looking for more.

Completed : 18-May-2006 (audiobook)

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