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Posted on Sep 22, 2016 in BookPage Reviews

Book of the Day: “Razor Girl” by Carl Hiaasen

Razor GirlThe latest book from Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen, Razor Girl, has a plot that gets pretty crazy, out-of-control and hilariously cockamamie. Then again, it’s set in Florida. For all we know, the inspiration could have come off the Herald’s front page.

When talent agent Lane Coolman’s rented car gets rear-ended 27 miles out of Key West, it’s not so much an accident as an on-purpose. The causative agent is a stunning young redhead who claims to have been distracted while performing some personal grooming that should not be undertaken with a straight razor in a car at all, let alone while driving. As a consequence, Coolman never makes it to the onstage performance of his client, faux-redneck reality star Buck Nance (né Matthew Romberg), and as a consequence, said gig goes sideways in extravagant fashion.

Nance narrowly manages to escape the mayhem he caused at The Parched Pirate, but then he drops off the grid entirely, setting his agency’s honchos alight with what passes for concern in Hollywood. And when they realize that perhaps Buck’s disappearance might be good for his show, “Bayou Brethren,” they set in motion a chain of events that leads to kidnapping, manslaughter, redemption and an ever-evolving set of deal memos.

This, of course, is only one through-line in the novel, whose disparate strands end up woven tighter than a macramé lanyard by story’s end. Along the way we meet a detective who’s been busted down to vermin inspector; a Mafia don nicknamed Big Noogie; a grifter who schemes to import sand from Cuba; a class-action shyster; a Syrian immigrant whose vacation cruise takes a deadly turn; a cross-section of the “Nance” clan, who fuse Honey Boo-Boo’s low-rent splendor with the Kardashians’ relentless drive for self-promotion . . . and of course, the Razor Girl herself.

Only a skilled verbal stunt pilot like Hiaasen could bring this flight of fancy in for a safe landing, but there’s definitely some turbulence along the way, so you’ll want to keep those seat belts fastened.

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RELATED CONTENT: Read an interview with Carl Hiaasen about Razor Girl.

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