arl Hiaasen – what can you say? If you haven’t read any of his South Florida Crime Novels, you’ve got a treat. While his writing can be a bit formulaic (good guys are gruff and honest, bad guys are unremitting shit-weasels (one of my favorite phrases of his) who tend fated to end his tales in horribly fitting ways). It’s not high art, that’s for sure, but it’s fun.
So, the title character, the Razor Girl, is a young woman with a suspicious name (Merry Mansfield) who makes a living of sorts by crashing into cars. She’s got rear-ending to a fine art, hitting them just enough to get them to stop. And when the driver comes back, understandably furious at the collision, there she is, caught in the (staged) act of shaving herself in a very private place while driving (you cannot get any more distracted than that). Usually she’ll beg a ride off her road-side companion for a lift, fluttering her eyes or shaking out her ruby-red hair, to which the mark (being a man) will generally concede to. And usually she’ll have him drive her to wherever various less-than-lawful sorts will be waiting to kidnap the mark for whatever purposes they desired. And Merry, she’ll accept her money and go off to do it again and again.
See, Hiaasen’s characters are like that – strange yet interesting. And the stories roll through unexpected twists and humorous observations (mainly regarding how stupid Florida can be sometimes, how low-brow and tourist-swarmed a place it is). Razor Girl is no exception, just bouncing its way from one situation through another until a satisfying conclusion is met.
If I had one thing to say bad about it (and it’s a review, so I’m duty-bound to do so), the plot wandered a bit near the end. Like its companion novel Bad Monkey, the plot seems so fixated on being clever that the traditional buildup to the climax appeared lost (and when it does finally come, it’s so quick that it seems a cheat). As mention, Bad Monkey had this issue as well, and as that was a book on disk, my wife and I kept thinking it was nearly over when it wasn’t.
But overall it was a fun novel, interesting to read. And I’m always happy to see how our favorite Key West food inspector is faring. If you’ve never done Hiaasen, you might want to give this one a try.