Carl Hiaasen’s Squeeze Me

I have long delighted in Carl Hiaasen’s wild and wacky tales of life and death in Florida , particularly since I lived there for a good many years. I put off reading (or even buying) Squeeze Me until after the election as part of my general avoidance of all things Trump. (As I write this, 48 hours remain until Biden’s inauguration.) Warning: browsing reviews on GoodReads, and probably anywhere else, shows a sharp divide on appreciation of the book clearly based on political opinion.

I loved Squeeze Me.

The title, while reminiscent of an erotic romance novel, actually refers to the Burmese python whose presence on the grounds of a ritzy Palm Beach estate during the Irritable Bowel Syndrome fund raising gala causes chaos. Enter Angie Armstrong, a new inhabitant in Hiaasen’s universe (and I hope we see more of her in future books), proprietor (and sole employee) of Discreet Captures, prepared to remove any pest from mice in the kitchen to—you guessed it—stray pythons. Angie is suspicious of the very large bulge in the belly of the very large python, especially after hearing of the disappearance of the very small socialite during the gala, but somehow the body of the snake is stolen from Angie’s storage unit before she can deliver it to the state wildlife folks.

And from there Hiaasen introduces us to as wide and weird a cast as he ever imagined (or pulled from the headlines of Florida newspapers). There are burglars, cops, secret service agents, a group of elderly, wealthy, and frequently tipsy socialites who call themselves the Potussies, a poacher who has been stalking Angie for years, and even Skink, the one-time Florida governor who has hidden in the swamps, living off road kill and booze, for decades (and eight Hiaasen novels).

At the center of it all sits the POTUS, at his winter White House, Casa Bellicosa. Known as Mastodon to the Secret Service (he likes the name so much he wants to see a real one; the agents tell him it’s on loan to a zoo in Christchurch, New Zealand), he manages to turn the disappearance of the socialite into yet another attack on immigrants. Meanwhile, the FLOTUS rather likes her code name, Mockingbird, almost as much as she likes her lead Secret Service agent. And there’s a tanning machine lurking in the background, surely a disaster in the making.

Through it all we see Hiaasen’s love of Florida, his distress at the ecological damage piling up, and his amazement at the antics of all too many real life “Florida Men.”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 15:32:53

    Sounds interest, but I’ve forbidden myself to put another book in 2BR pile!



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