cover image PARADISE SCREWED: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

PARADISE SCREWED: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen, Carl Hiassen, . . Putnam, $25.95 (500pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14791-3

The Florida Chamber of Commerce undoubtedly has a dart-pocked photograph of syndicated Miami Herald columnist Hiaasen tacked to the wall. For his second anthology of 200 columns, spanning 15 years, he takes readers on a head-shaking romp through a south Florida that they won't find in any tourist brochure. A true Florida patriot, Hiaasen exposes corruption, money-grubbing and rampant development. The volume picks up where its predecessor—Kick Ass: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen—left off. Stevenson, associate director of writing programs at the University of Florida, again edits. Hiaasen's writing is fearless and the targets endless: politicians, municipal employees, judges, lobbyists, zoning boards, evangelists, athletic franchises, environmental scofflaws, Disney, the NRA, Big Tobacco. In many cases, Hiaasen took these entities to task before it became fashionable. A bestselling novelist to boot, Hiaasen is cut from that same bolt of cloth as Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill—he's an acerbic, old-school columnist who can't stomach greed or hypocrisy, pulls no punches and keeps his sense of humor and outrage firmly intact. He tackles with unbridled vigor the Elian Gonzalez affair and voting irregularities in the recent presidential election. While many columns resonate beyond south Florida—state vs. local control, urban sprawl, the commerce of politics—some feel too localized to sink in. But if you're crooked or play loose with the public trust, watch out. Not even alligator skin is thick enough to deflect the sting of this writer's pen. (Oct.)