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Basket Case Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Jan. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044661193X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446611930
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #415,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Take one dead rock & roll star, his Courtney Love-type widow, the mysterious deaths of his former bandmates, and the lost tracks of a comeback album. Stir in Jack Tagger, a middle-aged investigative reporter obsessed with death since his banishment to the obit desk; a fetching young editor with a yen for our hero; and a boss looking for a reason to fire him. Put them in the hands of a master like Carl Hiaasen, who adds his trademark flourishes (who else would use a frozen lizard as a weapon?) to a creaky plot like this one, and the result is a winner. Florida is full of caper writers with journalistic credentials, and plenty of them have a deft hand with quirky characters, but no one in the genre is better than Hiaasen. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Hiassen gets back to his roots with this (almost) straight-ahead mystery, but doesn't skimp on the funny stuff as he follows the adventures of Jack Tagger, down-on-his-luck journalist relegated to the obit beat at a smalltown Florida daily. While researching a death notice, Jack stumbles by accident upon an actual news story: former rocker Jimmy Stoma has drowned while diving in the Bahamas, and his widow, wannabe star Cleo Rio, can't convince Jack that his death was accidental. The mystery offers Jack a way out of his job-related death fixation ("It's an occupational hazard for obituary writers memorizing the ages at which famous people have expired, and compulsively employing such trivia to track the arc of one's own life") and toward his increasingly lusty feelings for Emma, his 27-year-old editor (" `Bring whipped cream,' I tell her, `and an English saddle' "). But when things turn violent and Jack suddenly has to defend himself with a giant frozen lizard, he enlists the help of his sportswriter friend Juan Rodriguez and teenage club scene veteran Carla Candilla to try to find out why someone is killing off has-been sleaze rockers. A hilarious sendup of exotic Floridian fauna in the newspaper business, the novel offers all the same treats Hiassen's fans have come to crave. What makes this book different is its first-person, present-tense narrative style. Unlike previous capers, which were narrated in the omniscient third person, this book settles squarely in the mystery genre from whence Hiaasen's fame (Double Whammy; Tourist Season, etc.) initially sprang. Despite the absence of perennial Hiaasen favorite Skink, this should make an easy job for Knopf's sales force even easier. (Jan. 9)Forecast: A 22-city author tour, a drive-time radio tour and national print and television advertising are all in the works for Basket Case. With first serial going to Rolling Stone and a 300,000-copy first printing, this looks like another bestselling sure bet for the Florida funnyman.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charleen Bunjiovianna on June 28 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There have been some slow patches in the Hiaasen oeuvre (_Lucky You_ comes to mind), but Carl Hiaasen is fit as a fiddle in this outing.
Jack Tagger is a death-obsessed obituary writer at a South Florida newspaper taken over by one of today's huge media conglomerates. Like most of Hiaasen's protagonists, he's doing penance for exhibiting a spot of integrity and still mooning over his ex-girlfriend, who is about to marry a daffy poet.
A name on a death notice catches his eye and he realizes the deceased is aka Jimmy Stoma of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, who were famous for about 15 minutes and three albums back in the day. His editor doesn't want him to pursue the story but it's too good to resist, so he grabs an interview with the grieving widow, and once again Hiaasen is off to the races.
A darned-near perfect read. I loved the characters, especially Ike, the octogenarian fisherman. I finished the book in a day and started again at the beginning. May you find as much pleasure in it as I did.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Basket case takes a story of a Journalist worried about his own mortality and his run in with the world of Rock-n-Roll. A down and out reporter, Jack Tagger, lets us have inside look at the workings of a reporters mind. Jack works at his local paper who is run by a man who moves the company headquarters to San Diego so his sports car will not rust. And his goal is for the paper to make a 25 percent annual profit margin, at the expense of good news reporting.
Unlike Mr. Hiaasen's other books that I have read, "Basket Case" is written in the first person. And stays with our hero, Jack. It reminds me of the old style detective novels. The book does have violence, with the Hiaasen touch. I especially thought the sever bludgeoning with a frozen monitor lizard was original. So we follow Jack Tagger, down-on-his luck obituary writer for South Florida's Union-Register, as he investigates the mysterious death of a onetime rock star named Jimmy Stoma.
If you are looking for a good read give this one a try.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 22 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
When Basket Case first came out, I read the book and enjoyed it very much. Finding myself in the mood for some humor in my audio cassette listening while I drive, I was delighted to see that Recorded Books has produced an unabridged version of the book narrated by George Wilson. His treatment of the book greatly improved how much I enjoyed it the second time. If you have neither read the book nor listened to an audio cassette version, I recommend that you listen to the audio and skip the book. You will double your laughs if you do!
Only a talented journalist could have ever concocted this story. It's filled with love for the profession and appropriate warnings against too much focus on the bottom line.
As the book opens, Jack Tagger, aged 46, explains how he came to serve as an obituary writer on the Union-Register, now owned by the publicly traded Maggad-Feist. In protest against the ham-handed policies of the new owners, Jack insulted the CEO (whom he likes to call Master Race Maggad III) at the shareholder's meeting. Maggad was afraid to fire Jack because of the potential for a law suit, so Jack was relegated to the obituary pages . . . hoping he would resign in disgust. Instead, he hangs on for dear life, hoping to make life difficult for all those around him, including his young editor, Emma. His objective is to drive her out of journalism (for her own good). The humor quickly becomes apparent as Jack reveals a morbid fascination with how old celebrities were when they died. Did you know that Jack Kerouac died at 47?
Into this mess of a frustrated career and life falls a brief notice of a death of one James Bradley Stomarti at 39.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I think I've read every Carl Hiaasen novel written. Some border on the utterly insane, like Double Whammy, Native Tongue,and Stormy Weather. A very few border on the halfway serious, like Skin Tight.
Others are somewhere in between the "halfway but not completely there" normality of Skin Tight and the "utterly insane" of Double Whammy and Stormy Weather. Basket Case falls in this middle category.
I say this because it seems to be heading toward utter insanity much of the book, but the final chapters return to a bit of normality rather than pushing the "pedal to the metal" nuttiness that continued through the climax of stories like Double Whammy.
The plot centers around Jack, who writes columns about the recently deceased. Jack has been demoted from a news reporter for having the audacity of telling the new owner of the paper that the cutbacks and layoffs have resulted in an inferior paper. (Presumably, rather than fire him for insubordination and risk a lawsuit, the owner figures just demote him to the obits and hope he quits in embarrassment or boredom.)
But Jack notices that a former rock star of which he was fond years ago has died locally, and he begins investigating, ostensibly to write a news column of the celebrity death, and quickly finds serious inconsistencies in the stories and strange maneuverings going on.
Hiaasen produces another cast of whacky characters, among which is a sister of the deceased who earns her living stripping in her home for Internet voyeurs, a developing romance between Jack the reporter and his younger female supervisor, and intrigue between stockholders in the newspaper corporate ownership.
Over the years, Hiaasen has figured out that his "niche" in the publishing world as an author is the comedy murder, or telling of crazy capers and creation of insane characters. Pete Hautman is another author who appears to be following in Hiaasen's footsteps and success in this genre.
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