Skinny Dip - Carl Hiaasen Okay, so I know that I am lame. I picked this book out based solely on the fact that I discovered that it was on Dr. Shephard's shelf. However, I saw it also came highly recommended. So I thought I'd check it out.

Plot:
Charles Perrone, a crooked marine biologist who drives a Hummer and doesn't recycle, dumps his wife, Joey, off a cruise ship into the Key West waters to die. Joey, a champion swimmer, however does not die and is rescued by first a bale of marijuana and then Mick Stanagan, a chronic divorcee and ex-cop. Ticked beyond reason, Joey wants to torment her husband.
Meanwhile, Charles spends most of his time behaving like an adolescent and getting freaked out by a curious cop, Rolvaag, who thinks the marine biologist is not quite what he seems, and his real employer, Red Hammernut, whose assets would be in danger if he actually implemented the environmental practices dictated by government ordnances.

Good:
This is a really good plot concept. Husband chucks wife into the ocean; wife swims to safety and decides to torment husband. Really inventive idea (but see below). Besides the fact that Jack Shephard had this book on his bookshelf, this was another reason I was excited to read this book.
Although some of the characters were heavily caricatured and hard to relate to, there were a few that I could connect with, namely Mick Stanagan and Karl Rolvaag. I liked how Carl Hiassen wrote them. Mick was the reclusive former cop (although, now that I think about it, he really doesn't act like a cop) who lends a helping hand to poor Joey. Further, I felt that Joey and Mick really had chemistry.
Karl Rolvaag was a very interesting character as well. His little plot line--moving to Minnesota and losing his pythons--made him very human. He really didn't have much point in the book and isn't moral enough to see justice carried out, but I still liked him.
Ricca, Chaz's girlfriend, was really fun. The way she tormented him...man! Her split with Chaz just proves that Chaz can't keep a woman longer than a night.

Bad:
Here are the points that really drive me nuts.
1. Despite the copious "laugh-out loud, screwball humor" quotes from the New York Times, People, Los Angeles Times Book Review, etc., I really didn't find a whole lot of this funny. Not gut-wrenching funny. More of like amusing, "Oh, that's weird" funny, if any type of funny at all. I don't think I cracked a grin, much less burst out into guffaws over any of the scenes in this book. So, this was rather disappointing to me.
2. This book must have been written with adolescent boys in mind. Before I read this, I thought Red Dwarf was bad. This book makes Red Dwarf look like monastery material. Every single chapter has some explicit sexual situation in it. While I understand that this is consistent with Chaz's character, I wished that the author had held back a little on his descriptions. After all, this is a mystery book.
3. The "bad guys" were pretty stupid and hicky. Red Hammernut spoke like a moron; I have no idea why presidents, governors, and the like would care to be seen around such an idiot. Tool had character, but he was rather far-fetched. His relationship with Maureen tried to bring the humanity out of him, but it was too late for the Mountain Dew-chugging, rear-end wounded crew boss turned bodyguard. Chaz was a self-absorbed, sex-obsessed teenager disguised as a doctor. He is so incompetent, he can't kill not once, but three times and has no idea what his degree entails. I don't see how Karl Rolvaag and his team could not get enough information on this rag-tag team of imbeciles to throw them away forever.
4. The "good guys" were somewhat flat. Joey seems to be a really competent woman with a good head on her shoulders, but I can't believe that she would have stuck with Chaz for as long as she did (what with Chaz's adolescent behavior). Mick is okay, but there really isn't enough of him to get into his mind. He is a loner on an island with so many divorces. Karl is just a cop more interested in moving than in doing his job well. It's a good thing he left or no case in Florida would ever be solved. Corbett is a strange sheepherder. When I say strange, I say hermit living in the boonies with long beards and staffs. Why is it when authors want to show a hermit they have to make him with long unkempt beards and staffs? I love nature too, but I also love having my hair nice, my nails kept, and makeup every once and awhile.
5. The plot concept was good, but got bogged down in recounting Chaz's sexual life, Tool's rear injury and idiosyncrasies, little episodes about Karl's move to Minnesota, Red's rantings, and all the strange, not quite explained things that Joey and Mick do to drive Chaz nuts. And then what should have been an ultimate showdown becomes an ultimate "let-down". If my husband had chucked me over a boat, I certainly wouldn't be taking the road that Joey did.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
F-word gets a real workout. There were 496 pages in my copy; the word appeared at least once on every page. That does not even include other foul language, such as sh**, d***, and rude terms for minorities (blacks, Hispanics, etc.). Sexual situations are about as frequent as the f-word is. In the approximately 30 chapters, some type of sexual situation--either from Chaz or Joey--or sexual innuendo is presented in somewhat graphic terms. Chaz has been cheating on his wife; Joey sleeps with another man. Violence is moderate--mostly reduced to a man who is afflicted with a bullet up his you-know-what, insinuated comments about how migrant workers were treated, and one person who ends up skewered.

Overall:
On the one hand, this is a well-written book. I finished it within a week and for an almost 500 page book, that is impressive (for me). Of course, the language wasn't that advanced and the writing easy, but still, it was catchy. Also, the plot moved forward--even when it got bogged down with Chaz's innumerable sexual exploits. The characters, although caricatures, talked like they should and not as if they planned their statements using a thesaurus. That said, I still think that too much of the plot centered on Chaz's sex life. The book needed to focus more on Joey's efforts and less on Chaz's sexual exploits.