Review – Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen

basket case

Basket Case is the first Carl Hiaasen that I’ve read and it was pretty good.

From Goodreads: “Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, “plotting to resurrect my career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff.” Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba “accident” may be just the stiff Jack needs-if only he can figure out what happened. Standing in the way are [among others] an editor who wants Jack to “break her cherry,” Stoma’s ambitious pop-singer widow, and the soulless, profit-hungry newspaper owner Jack once publicly humiliated. As clues from Stoma’s music give Jack Tagger the chance to trade obits for a story that could hit the front page, murder gives his career a new lease on life.”

What I liked:

– Pacing – the story moves and doesn’t lag at any point. It was so easy to read that I was finished before I knew it.

– Humor (general) – it’s meant to be funny and it was refreshing to read a mystery that was fairly light and without too much heavy emotion.

– Details about the newspaper business.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me but I can see how someone with the right personality would love the deadlines, the pressure and the general nosiness required to get the next story.

What didn’t quite work for me:

– Jack, the main character, is 46 years old but talks about himself as if he’s ancient.  As it’s written, I would think the target audience for Basket Case would be people in their late thirties to fifties.  As someone who fits in that category (don’t ask for more specifics) I was kind of offended that the character, and I’m assuming the author, thinks I’m close to being over the hill. Trust me, you aren’t old at 46. Far from it.

– This is somewhat of a spoiler but you’ll know it’s going to happen pretty early on – Jack starts a relationship with his editor who is in her late 20’s.  Maybe I’m a prude or out of touch.  Or both.  What does a 46-year-old man talk about with a 20-something woman?  I asked my husband this and he smirked and said, “They aren’t talking.”  Touché.  But, at some point, don’t you want to talk to the person you are spending that much time with?  And, having sex at the office?  No thanks.

Would I read another Hiaasen?  Probably…but I might look a little closer at the synopsis on the back to make sure it didn’t hit any of the wrong buttons for me.  3/5 stars.



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