Ghosts of Key West

Ghosts of Key West

by David L. Sloan

567422

Key West’s past comes alive with thirteen incredible stories of the southernmost ghosts. From Victorian era spirits returning to claim what is rightfully theirs, to haunted dolls that continue to send chills down their visitors’ spines, Ghosts of Key West beautifully captures the true spirit of Florida’s second oldest city. Ghosts of cigar makers, pirates, wreckers and voodoo practitioners all await you. While their ghostly journeys continue through time, yours is just about to begin. Ghosts of Key West author David L. Sloan founded Key West’s original ghost tour and is the leading authority on the island’s hauntings.

 I needed a spooky read to help get me extra excited about a tropically vacation, and luckily Ghosts of Key West was just sitting there on our shelves. It was just what I needed! 

Ghosts of Key West is a super short read, taking only an hour or so to get through, and is told in a ‘stories around the campfire’ format. There are tons of black and white pictures of historic key west homes and portraits of the people still haunting the island. The ghost stories are educational as they provide a decent amount of island history alongside the ghostly tales. Its broken up in to short chapters, each with their own ghost story, that i feel makes it a better read.

Sadly, it is very poorly written. The plot of each story is very jumpy and full of random first person encounters. These first person stories were annoying for someone who picked up the book for history. The writing issues could have probably been fixed with a good editing or two. 

Ghosts of Key West a good starter book if you’re planning on hitting the keys for a vacation. It’s a nice introduction to the ghostly history of the island, but I definitely recommend taking a tour if you visit. 

Anyone else love a good ghost story? Who else loves the Florida Keys?

Lindsay

Bad Monkey

Bad Monkey

by Carl Hiaasen

Bad Monkey

Carl Hiaasen is back doing what he does best: spinning a wickedly funny, fiercely pointed tale in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of pristine land in Florida–now, in the Bahamas too–get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.

Andrew Yancy–late of the Miami Police, soon-to-be-late of the Key West Police–has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, his commander might relieve him of Health Inspector duties, aka Roach Patrol. But first Yancy will negotiate an ever-surprising course of events–from the Keys to Miami to a Bahamian out island–with a crew of equally ever-surprising characters, including: the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; an avariciously idiotic real estate developer; a voodoo witch whose lovers are blinded-unto-death by her particularly peculiar charms; Yancy’s new love, a kinky medical examiner; and the eponymous Bad Monkey, who earns his place among Hiaasen’s greatest characters with hilariously wicked aplomb.

I haven’t felt up to reading or writing the last two weeks…stupid grown up problems.  The good thing is that I am totally hooked on listening to an audiobook when running errands so I still managed to read a book.  I needed something funny, summery, and mysterious and the local library delivered with a borrowed copy of Carl Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey.  My friend Jen has recommended Hiaasen in the past and I’m glad I finally took her advice!

First: never turn down a chance to listen to Arte Johnson read a book.  His voice reminds me of a toned down Lewis Black, which means he’s perfect for the job!  His snappy tone and constantly changing inflections just emphasized Hiaasen’s blunt sense of humor.  I am a fan, Arte, and I will be begging you to read my books when I get published!

Life is not going as planned for Detective Andrew Yancy.  First he loses his job, then his girlfriend, and now he is saddled with an arm in his freezer next to his popsicles.   He is demoted to health inspector and all he wants to do is get off roach patrol.  He knows the owner of that arm was murdered and he’s determined to figure out who-dunnit so he can get his job back.  Its a wild adventure that involves a half bald monkey who starred in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, a motorized wheelchair insurance scam, and a hurricane named Francois.

The characters and story are completely over the top, so you probably wont enjoy Bad Monkey if outlandish antics leave your eyes rolling.  I thought it was hilarious, and it was the perfect read for my current mood.  I liked Yancy.; he is blunt, odd, determined, and I developed a surprising soft spot for the opinionated screw-up.  All the characters where eccentric and just fun to keep up with.  I particularly like how the story is laid out and was equally invested in both the mystery and the numerous subplots.  The subplot involving the spec house constructed next to Andrew’s bungalow left me laughing so darn hard that I often couldn’t breathe!  I suggest reading Bad Monkey just for this subplot.

The female characters left much to be desired.  Rosa was the only almost redeemable woman in the entire story.  The rest included a gold-digger, a sex crazed voodoo priestess, a former heroine addict, and a insane pedophile…yeah, I have a feeling Hiaasen isn’t too fond of women.  It didn’t do anything to lessen my enjoyment of the story but I’m sure it will bother other readers, so you are now forewarned!

Bad Monkey is the perfect hilarious beach read to get you ready for the summer.  Are you a Carl Hiaasen fan?  Which novel is your favorite?

Lindsay