Carl Hiaasen's unique niche in humorous crime fiction is further secured with Native Tongue, his fourth solo novel, and the second featuring the unforgettable Skink. Published in 1991, Hiaasen continues his familiar themes of opposing development in south Florida while bemoaning the high levels of tourism to the area. Other familiar elements--bumbling criminals, jaded journalists, a beautiful ingenue, dirty developers--are all there as well.
Lest I make Native Toungue sound like a rehashing of Hiaasen's other stories, I assure you it's not. Even with their familiar themes, I have found his novels to be wholly original. Native Tongue is hilarious and silly, profane and violent, bitter and sweet. When endangered voles are kidnapped from a theme park that wishes it were as great as Disneyworld, the ripples of deceit and criminality spread outward quickly, putting the theme park, its corrupt founder, the theme park's now former publicist, a cranky environmentalist, two burglars whose IQs are on the low end of things, and a lovely actress who wears a character costume all into interlocking and increasingly ridiculous interactions.
I always enjoy Hiaasen's books, and Native Tongue is no exception. I think it's one of my favorites. But then again, my favorite Carl Hiaasen book is usually the last one I read. . . .