Beth Leiss


Bad Monkey

By Carl Hiaasen

Alfred A. Knopf (Publisher)

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. When selecting this novel to read, I bypassed that old sage advice. The cover has a monkey wearing a pirate's hat. I've loved monkeys since I was a small child and thought they would make a great pet. I gazed at the brief description and saw the words "mystery" and "Key West, Florida," and decided this had the potential to be good read. In this particular instance, judging the book by the cover turned out to be a great thing; although, Mr. Hiaasen is an accomplished author with 15 works of adult fiction, four children's books and four nonfiction works.

"Bad Monkey" is a light-hearted, humorous and raunchy fun read. Women will enjoy it, but it feels like the male equivalent of chick lit. At the heart of the story is ex-cop, Andrew Yancy. Currently suspended for a public display of anger, which victimized a prominent doctor, Yancy is trying to work his way back in the good graces of his bosses. To keep Yancy as a pensioned employee, the sheriff allows Yancy to take over the job of restaurant inspector -- not pleasing to Yancy as the last inspector died from eating at a restaurant that paid him great money to keep quiet.

When a severed arm is caught by a lily white, vacationing couple from Wisconsin, the arm ends up in Yancy's care in effort to protect the tourism and political interest of the Sheriff. Yancy doesn't take too well to interrupting his patio time with his rum drink, but decides there may be more to this severed arm story than what is first expected. Trying to get together with his ex-girlfriend, who is married, Yancy has many issues to deal with taking him to Miami and Bahamas. Yancy always seems to have a drink in his hand, a woman on his mind and the desire to earn back his badge.

Peppered with the language of a sailor and many scenes of adult activity, this will keep you from giving it to your monkey-loving adolescents. If you're not sensitive to the above mentioned aspects, "Bad Monkey" is a jolly good read. Expect to question your next meal while on vacation in the warm climates.

Beth Leiss was raised in Bismarck and has always enjoyed reading all kinds of books. Her dream is to pass her love of reading on to her girls as her mother passed it on to her.