Review: `Star Island` by Carl Hiaasen

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2010, 13:26 PM IST

New York: Fans of Carl Hiaasen will feel right at home when they plunge into "Star Island."

There`s the familiar collection of deliciously tawdry characters, each angling for a piece of the action in Florida, which he calls a land "hijacked by greedy suckworms disguised as upright citizens." And memorable images like a tough guy wielding a weed whacker as a prosthetic hand.

And there`s the fast-moving plot, and the writing that makes you laugh out loud.

Yes, it`s Hiaasen, and he`s turned out another gem. Readers of his previous novels like "Nature Girl," "Skinny Dip" and "Sick Puppy" can settle in for more wacky fun in the Florida sun.

This time the action centers on Cherry Pye, a 22-year-old no-talent airhead with a lucrative singing career, thanks to heavy reworking of her voice in the recording studio, lip-syncing and a "BLS" marketing strategy, as in "barely legal slut." That has made her a meal ticket for her family, her oily record producer and a pair of devious publicists.

Pye spends so much time wasted or in rehab that her handlers secretly employ actress Ann DeLusia to make nonsinging appearances for her. The scam fools an obsessed, low-life, celebrity-chasing photographer who kidnaps DeLusia by mistake — and gets more than he bargained for.

Along with writing a funny plot, Hiaasen knows how to turn a phrase. That photographer "reeked like a prison laundry bag" and operated with a "withered, calcified prune of a heart," while being "blessed with a flaccid conscience."

Hiaasen himself is blessed with a talent for writing very funny books, and "Star Island" gives readers another chance to enjoy it.

Bureau Report

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