Razor Girl – Carl Hiaasen 

★★★

A fun, if ultimately frustrating read, Razor Girl is the sequel to Bad Monkey, which introduced disgraced police detective Andrew Yancy. Yancy is stuck as a restaurant inspector, and his only comforts are heading home to smoke weed in the company of his girlfriend Rosa. Unfortunately, a rich couple – who’ve bought the empty lot next door and are planning to build a monstrosity to block his view – are the first in a chain of complications to his peace that encompass giant rats, a missing reality-tv redneck, a sexy car-crashing con artist, and a Mongoose in a tiny outfit.

While the Floridian hijinks are entertaining in a “watching a train derail in slow motion” sort of way, it feels a little incoherent – at times, it feels like craziness has been added for the sake of being “zany” or “kooky” and “out there”,  rather than being a natural extension of the truly bizarre stuff that often happens in real life. Characters are, for the most part, completely unlikeable.   Yancy is kind of a mess, and not a loveable one, which makes it a little hard to root for him. Merry Mansfield, the redhead, was (I assume) supposed to be a sultry, flirty free spirit. Instead, she’s a mildly horrifying Manic Pixie Dream Sociopath; who “flirts” by smugly insisting that all men want to have sex with her but she won’t be having sex with you, oh no, but you’re thinking about it aren’t you, now get that out of your head, you pig, tee hee!

Honestly Merry enraged me on the regular, she was that problematic. She has no personality outside of her endless “me so sexy” act, and exists solely to be the “sexy ‘n sassy” foil to Yancy’s stoner-depressive sleuthing.  She is a free-floating masturbatory fantasy of a character and it sucks. Actually, the whole book is populated by women who are wives, fiancees, lovers they exist only in relation to their men, or other men, and are interested only in sex and money (or possibly sex and fame).

I actually found a number of the side characters to be far more interesting and well-developed. The few pages devoted to “Big Noogie” Aeola were probably the best in the book, and I’d have liked to see more about him. Also, Rosa – a strong female character with a developed personality who genuinely cares for Yancy – gets a few pages but is ultimately shipped off to Europe to get her out of the way so that Merry could provide fan-service to Hiaasen’s boner.

Fun enough, it’s pretty telling that it took me more than 2 weeks to finish this, and it’s not a long book at all. Longtime fans of Hiaasen will most likely find plenty to enjoy here, but it’s a book that can be best described as “okay”.

Provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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