Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carl Hiaasen is a Hoot!

Yes, it's true. He is a hoot. Did you know that besides his mysteries for adults (Sick Puppy, Nature Girl, etc) he also writes books for the younger set? Written for the 9 - 12 age group, these novels are Florida-based, take an environmental bent, and offer good writing and wickedly whacked out humor. First came Hoot. Then Flush. And now we have Scat. In Scat, Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, disappears after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. Nick and Marta don't buy the principal's story that she's been called away on a "family emergency," so they investigate and stumble onto some dangerous facts about the swamp: an endangered Florida panther has taken up residence, and an oil company has begun an illegal drilling operation. Adding some emotional heft is the subplot involving Nick's father; he returns home from Iraq minus his right arm, and Nick binds his own arm so that they can learn to become lefties together.
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his family. He has been writing about Florida since his father gave him a typewriter at age six. A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the newspaper's weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. Somehow he has managed to remain employed, and today his column appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/columnists/carl_hiaasen/.

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