Written by Books

Star Island


It’s been too long. Much too long.
Carl Hiaasen has finally published a new novel, four years after his last adult novel (yes, I realise that fans of Donna Tartt or readers awaiting the next in the A Song of Fire and Ice saga have had to wait longer). In the intervening years, Hiaasen has been publishing some non-fiction as well as a series of books for kids. But he’s back with something for the rest of us, and it’s a return to form.
If you’ve not read a Carl HIaasen novel before, then stop reading this blog, and run out and buy one. His comic take on the lowlifes and sleazeballs may seem to be far too ridiculous to be true. But readers of his (infuriatingly infrequent) column in the Miami Herald will realise that fiction can barely capture what happens in real life in that part of the world.
Star Island tells the tale of a pop-starlet who most certainly isn’t Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Miley Cyrus. We know this, because they, and many others who regularly appear in tacky weekly publications, are name-checked. Instead we follow the exploits of “Cherry Pye” a young singer managed by her parents in the period leading up to the release of her new album “Skantily Klad”.
Pye’s sole talents seem to be her libido and ability to hoover up narcotics in any form that they come. So her management team also hire a lookalike to go to parties and be photographed when their young ward is dealing with one of her regular bouts of “dietary problems.”
Meanwhile, “Bang Abbot” is a former Pulitzer Prize winning photographer (the exact details of his prize-winning shot, I shan’t spoil) turned paparazzo who is stalking Pye in the belief that he can capture some shots of her last hours before she inevitably pops her clogs.
The action flits around Miami and the Everglades, with some familiar characters making a reappearances amongst the many new grotesques that Hiaasen conjours up here.
Aside from the fact that Hiaasen obviously doesn’t know a great deal about DSLR cameras, it’s a great romp, and a fun read. It’s probably not his best book, but it’s plenty good enough. It’s just a shame that Hachette/Little Brown/Sphere are making UK readers wait until November for the UK publication. I had to order the US edition from Amazon.com to sate my thirst.