Double Whammy. Carl Hiaasen. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 978-0446352765 and 0446352764. Also available in hardback, ISBN 978-0399132971 and 039913297X, paperback, ISBN 978-0446695664 and 0446695661, and audio book (no ISBN available).
Double Whammy is the second novel Hiaasen wrote without a collaborator. It was published in 1987 and introduces the recurring character of Clinton “Skink” Tyree, the insane ex-governor of Florida. Many details that are not mentioned in later Hiaasen works about Skink and his Florida trooper friend are given in this novel.
In this particular far-fetched tale, an ex-con private investigator named R. D. Decker, a former photographer for a newspaper, gets mixed up in the high-stakes world of bass fishing. Yes, both high stakes and bass fishing. Decker is hired to get proof that one of the competitors is cheating. Several murders and much hilarity later, the facts become known, nothing is quite what one might expect as is expected in Hiaasen’s books. And so it goes.
The book was actually kind of dull, though not badly written. It was interesting to get more of the Governor’s background (caps because that is how he’s referred to in subsequent books) and the story itself isn’t bad.
Despite being well-written, from my perspective, Hiaasen’s style gets kind of tiring after a while. I’m almost alone in this view and, frankly, that’s what makes reading such an interesting pastime: everyone comes to and away from each book with something different. Every person has a different take on each work, even those books that are best sellers. That’s all to the good; the world would be painfully dull if everyone felt the same way about everything.
But Hiaasen’s typical sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor don’t come through as strongly in this book as they do in subsequent books. That’s probably because this was an early book and he was still developing his fiction writing style (he still writes for the Miami Herald) and hadn’t come to his fuller, more mature humor and style when he wrote Double Whammy. Regardless, something was not quite right with this book. I’m not sure what; I can’t pinpoint it. I just didn’t enjoy the read.
Again, it’s not a bad story and is not a bad way to spend time reading. It’s almost recommended in fact. I acknowledge that the issue is probably with me and that, having read three other Hiaasen books this year, I think I’m just tired of the style and humor. I’m not entirely sure that’s the issue I have with this work. Again it’s just off and I don’t know what’s not right about the book. That’s an odd sensation but there we are. I’ll wait before tackling the other Hiaasen book I have sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to open it. I do enjoy his works but they just wear on me after a while.
All that said, it’s safe to say that you can rest assured that if you are a fan of Hiaasen’s and haven’t read this one yet, you will probably enjoy the read. If you haven’t read Hiaasen before and are interested, you might consider getting this book. It just wasn’t for me.