Everybody has bad days… You know, those days when the bastardos have carborundum-ed you. Maybe it involves your boss, a co-worker, or perhaps the barista-in-training when you just want a &#^!% cup of coffee. You get the point. I had such a day and decided that it was time to find a book that can inject a bit of humor in my life. It seemed humor was badly needed. After all, if you can’t laugh at life (or some of the people in it) then what’s the point? I ended up following a recommendation on Amazon for entertaining authors and started reading Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen.
The story involves a former investigative newspaper reporter named Jack Tagger. Jack was relegated to the obituary department following an insulting outburst aimed at the new owner of his small Florida newspaper. Jack’s only creative liberty is writing articles for the more high-profile deaths in the county. As Jack sulks and dreams of his former glory, an ex-hairband rocker named Jimmy Stoma turns up dead in a drowning accident. Jack interviews the widow and soon becomes convinced that Jimmy’s death was not accident. The widow seems more concerned about her upcoming record then with her husband’s passing. Jack tries to convince Emma, his 27 year-old editor, about his feelings about Jimmy’s death but soon finds himself having feelings for her as well. Emma needs a story for the paper, but Jack needs more time. Jack soon finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery, an unplanned love affair and some real danger. Will Jack find the truth behind the death of Jimmy Stoma? Will his romantic interest end his career? Is it too late to win back his role as an investigative reporter? Will the Cubs ever win the world series?
The best part of this book is the humorous language that Carl uses to tell the simple but intriguing story. Carl delivers a bit of dry humor at every turn. Even serious moments seem to evaporate into head shaking laughter. The characters always seem to find themselves in some uncommon yet funny situations. At one point, Jack must use a frozen lizard as a weapon to fight off an intruder! The dialogue between characters is also a treat. Carl blends cliché with self-deprecating humor in a way that makes the characters come alive in their own special way. The book has a little bit of everything that one would expect from an entertaining novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It helped me not to take life (and the bastardos) too seriously either. I hope you enjoy it.