Hilarious crime fiction, Mickey Spillane channels Jerry Seinfeld.
Merry Mansfield, the eponymous Razor Girl, specializes in kidnapping for the mob. Her preferred method is rear-ending her targets and asking them for a ride. Her latest mark is Martin Trebeaux, owner of a private beach renourishment company who has delivered substandard sand to a mob hotel. But there’s just one problem: Razor Girl hits the wrong guy. Instead, she ends up with Lane Coolman, talent manager for Buck Nance, the star of a reality TV show about a family of Cajun rooster farmers. Buck Nance, left to perform standup at a Key West bar without his handler, makes enough off-color jokes to incite a brawl, then flees for his life and vanishes.
Now a routine promotional appearance has become a missing persons case. And Andrew Yancy, disgraced detective-turned-health inspector, is on the job. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy’s future will be as surprising to him as anything else he encounters along the way–including the giant Gambian pouched rats that are haunting his restaurant inspections.
Razor Girl, Carl Hiassen’s followup novel to Bad Monkey, is hilarious crime fiction, The story reflects Hiassen’s years of working a journalistic beat for the Miami Herald. So he is very familiar with the south Floridian-Florida Keys lifestyle and this familiarity is peppered throughout all the dialogues of the book.
Popcorn popping personalities
New characters pop up like kernels in a hot corn popper, each more flamboyant, more colourful and crazier than the previous. There’s Andrew Yancy, a suspended police detective now working as a food inspector; Merry Mansfield, a redheaded bombshell who does kidnapping jobs for the mob; Lane Coolman, agent for a TV show cast who may be descendants of the Beverly Hillbillies’ Clampetts. There are many more characters each hilariously contributing to the development of the plot which continually returns to Yancy and Mansfield, the story’s driving wheels.
Dialogue creative zaniness
The dialogues, descriptions and story development are right out 0f Second City, riotous, zany and wildly funny. One cannot help but marvel at Hiassen’s comedic creativity. Each new scene in the story is zanier than the next and just when one thinks things can’t get any crazier, they do.
Miami and Florida Keys lifestyles are woven through the story, the violence and crime of Miami, the drug-crazed subculture of the Keys. the cliche-riddled tourists. The predicaments Hiassen describes are unbelievable, but the truth is stranger than fiction or life imitates art. The humour and comedic scenes are boundless; the hilarious dialogue, endless, the colourfulness of each new character without limit.
Another humorous crime novelist
Hiassen’s writing style is snappy, on point with Miami life, and relentlessly entertaining. He can be compared to Lawrence Sanders, another author of humorous crime fiction. Sanders concentrates on food and drink; Hiassen, caricature and situational humour. Hiassen’s dialogues sound like eavesdropping on some Florida Keys dopeheads smokin’ up or some margarita-drinkin’ barflies in Key West. The humour is ceaseless and flows through the pages as readily as ink from Hiassen’s pen.
Sanders may have inspired Hiassen as both writers create hilarious characters and drop them into really funny situations. Sanders has Archy McNally and fun sidekick, Binky Watrous, the former a playboy playing a detective, the latter, McNally’s comedic ‘go-fer.’ Hiassen repeats some characters, particularly the lead erstwhile detective, Andrew Yancy but where Sanders’s humour is based on colourful characters, Hiassen’s is colourful dialogue and hilarious situations.
Hiassen delivers humorous entertainment, ceaselessly and endlessly. He is a ‘must read’ for a beach holiday…beyond question.[ Razor Girl is the sequel to another fun read, Bad Monkey…a review will follow ]