Many think that Spencer Tracy, who starred in "Boy's Town
," was the first to coin the phrase: "...There's no such thing as a bad boy..."
Then there's some that credit Tarzan
with saying: "...There's no such thing as a bad monkey..."
According to a Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen in Carl Hiaasen's
new novel Bad Monkey
, who is convinced that the Capuchin monkey she craves to acquire is really a human boy -- there's no such thing as either.
One of the most delightful things about Carl Hiaasen's books is that you almost don't have to read further than the cast of kooky characters on the book jacket to be thoroughly entertained. In this latest book, Andrew Yancy is a suspended Miami police detective whose suspension was for molesting his former girlfriend's surgeon husband, in public, with a vacuum cleaner. Yes, there was "Film at 11." Yancy has been forced to accept the position of "Chief of the Monroe County Roach Patrol" -- which is better known as the county's restaurant health inspector. His ex-girlfriend, now the ex-wife of a prominent surgeon, has recaptured the magic she once had over 10 years ago with one of her former AP English high school students. This is the very same student that she was arrested, among other things, for contributing to his delinquency.
Yancy just wants to be a cop again. He also wants his backyard view returned; an illegally tall housing unit has been constructed right next door to his home by an over-zealous housing developer. To complicate matters, Yancy is asked to store evidence in his deep-freezer. This evidence is a human arm. It's found floating, hooked to a deep-sea fishing rod that's reeled in by an unsuspecting tourist. This arm might or might not have been detached in a boating accident or by malicious behavior. Yancy's police chief refuses to acknowledge either hypothesis. He just wants the arm to disappear. He has higher political visions that do not include a grisly murder or freak accident in his county.
As bodies start to pile up, Yancy and his kinky new girlfriend, a Miami coroner, travel to the Bahamas where clues are likely to be found in the case of the missing arm. Once in the Bahamas, we find a poor islander, Neville, who has been foreclosed by another overly zealous condo developer (this one being a serial killer). Neville is the not-so-proud owner of the monkey, Tom, who starred in the first Pirates of the Caribbean
movie with Johnny Depp
. Tom comes from a long-line of famous show-biz monkeys. Unfortunately, Tom does not perform well in front of an audience. The belief is that Tom has never grown out of his adolescence stage. He likes to bite and fling feces when in public. The Dragon Queen seems to overlook Tom's bounty of bad behaviors in her quest to possess this "baby boy."
Will Neville ever reclaim his modest beach home and his pet monkey who is now addicted to pipe smoking?
Will Yancy solve this case and retain his gold shield -- along with his desire to eat again in a public restaurant?
Will true love, between the convicted child-molester/former-teacher and her once sexy-star-student (who has since gone to seed), overcome all boundaries, restrictions, and federal warrants?
Will Yancy ever again be able to sit in his backyard and watch the sun set slowly on the sea?
Will Tom and Johnny Depp, together again, ever get to skip rocks off the water?
To get the answers to these questions and more, one will have to read this book.
I'll never tell.
It's a case of monkey-see/monkey-no-speak!