Joe Winder is the PR secret that the Animal Kingdom, a theme park in Florida, uses to keep their edge above that ‘mouse park.’ He plays the game, stretching the truth to fit into the park’s blurred vision of the truth. But a combination of the an abduction of the park’s endangered blue-tongued voles and the destruction of his beloved Florida causes Winder to go a little crazy.
Among him on the journey are a one-eyed ex-governor, a sex-line writer and an older, grandmotherly type woman who will stop at nothing to protect nature.
I read this book originally on a flight to Europe in 1993. I decided to revisit it while in Florida on my Honeymoon (while vacationing at Walt Disney World). I found the book to be just as delightful as the first time I read it, however, I was also struck by Hiaasen’s love letter to Florida. The way he badmouths tourists (sometimes, rightfully so) and treats developers as if they are all seedy and deserving of everything that comes their way.
The crazy situations and Hiaasen’s style help me keep coming back to this author, and I am happy to see that his love of Florida is present in this, one of his earliest novels, and I think that, overall, Hiaasen is totally worth a read–no matter where you fall under to ‘to develop or not to develop’ argument–keep in mind that Disney uses at least 1/3 of it’s Florida property for conservation.
From the Book: When the precious clue-tongued mango voles at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills on North Key Largo are stolen by heartless, ruthless thugs, Joe Winder wants to uncover why, and find the voles. Joe is lately a PR man for the Amazing Kingdom theme park, but now that the voles are gone, Winder is dragged along in their wake through a series of weird and lethal events that begin with the sleazy real-estate agent/villain Francis X. Kingsbury and can end only one way….
Mass Market Paperback: 481 pages
Publisher: Vision (November 1, 2004)–originally written in 1991
Method of Obtaining: Purchased at Amazon