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THE LAST (OR LATEST) LAUGH

September 8, 2015

 

In 2013, a number of wonderful, humorous mysteries were published. Both Carl Hiaasen and Laurence Shames brought new laugh-filled tales of Florida. In Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey, Andrew Yancy tries to figure out where -- and who -- a severed arm came from. If he can prove the victim was murdered, Yancy hopes the sheriff will reassign him from Health Inspector duty. As always, wonderful array of colorful characters populate Hiaasen’s landscape, including Yancy’s fugitive ex-lover,  the widow of the man whose arm was severed, voracious real estate speculators, a voodoo practitioner, Yancy’s love-interest – the coroner, and, of course, the bad monkey.

 

Laurence Shames’, Shot on Location, takes us behind the scenes during the shoot of a ‘reality-based’ TV show set in Key West. The fun starts when a disaffected ghost writer is hired to write a book which he's not interested in writing. Then calamity hits the set with a series of attacks aimed at the show’s leading lady – but is she really the target? The cast of characters includes an egocentric but less-than-talented leading lady, several gangsters, a no-nonsense stuntwoman, a low-key pool boy, a hard-working assistant producer and an ancient chihuahua.

 

From the left coast, Lisa Lutz and Howard Rosenberg bring some more laughs for readers. In The Last Word, Lisa Lutz' sixth outing with the Spellman clan, Izzy Spellman has taken control of the family business and faces rebellion from the long-term staff – her mother and father. As always, her sister, Rae, is a cipher and, since Izzy’s relationship with Henry has crashed and burned, she feels like she’s on her own. As if things aren’t bad enough, a charge of embezzlement puts Izzy’s private investigator license and Spellman Investigations at stake. A wacky, wild and wonderful romp.

 

Up Yours, by Howard Rosenberg, introduces the world to Friendly Lake and recently retiree, Ted Milo. When a man who was terrified of the water is found dead in the lake, Milo takes a stab at the case. With skills honed from reading lots of Raymond Chandler and watching plenty of film noir, Ted and his ‘tomato’, Liv, start digging up clues. Before you can say ‘hot water,’ the two are up to their eyeballs in suspects. This fast-paced whodunit was the debut novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Howard Rosenberg. Rosenberg brings the underbelly of suburban Friendly Lake to life, and his protagonists, Ted and Liv Milo, make a wonderful modern-day Nick and Nora Charles. Full of wit, a great cast of characters, and twists and turns galore, Rosenberg’s maiden voyage into the world of fiction is a resounding success.

 

With this great selection, mystery lovers can read with a smile.

 

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