Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, “plotting to resurrect my newspaper career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff.” Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba “accident,” might be the stiff of Jack’s dreams—if only he can figure out what happened.
Standing in the way are (among others) his ambitious young editor, who hasn’t yet fired anyone but plans to “break her cherry” on Jack; the rock star’s pop-singer widow, who’s using the occasion of her husband’s death to re-launch her own career; and the soulless, profit-hungry owner of the newspaper, whom Jack once publicly humiliated at a stockholders’ meeting.
With clues from the dead rock singer’s music, Jack ultimately unravels Jimmy Stoma’s strange fate—in a hilariously hard-won triumph for muckraking journalism, and for the death-obsessed obituary writer himself.
“Always be halfway prepared” is Jack Tagger’s motto—and it’s more than enough to guarantee a wickedly funny, brilliantly entertaining novel from Carl Hiaasen.
“[A] rollickingly comic and suspenseful adventure.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Fresh and juicy. . . A sunny delight.”
“As delicious as ever. . . [Hiaasen is] a master of the comic crime novel.”
“Hiaasen delivers a culpable caper that’s a pleasurable hit.”
“A riot. . . It’s one thing to be twisted and funny. It’s quite another to manage twisted, funny, and serious. . . . Hiaasen consistently juggles the heavy with the light.”
“Frisky. . . . The real music here is Mr. Hiaasen’s self-assured banter.”
—The New York Times
“Riled, righteous, and rip-roaring funny. . . Hiaasen’s novels ought to bear the warning label: may be hazardous to your sides. They may split.”
—New York Newsday
“[Hiaasen] is head and shoulders above the rest. . . . Straight crime fiction with a biting, satiric edge, and it proves what his hardcore fans have known for a long time—he is, at heart, simply a great storyteller and a better writer.”
—Charleston Post and Courier
“Great good fun. . . Basket Case is typical Hiaasen. In other words, it’s wildly hyperbolic, with lots of digs at South Florida's zany lifestyle and (in this case) a total smearing of corporate journalism.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch