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Native Tongue (Skink #2)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  11,299 Ratings  ·  477 Reviews
Unabridged 15 hours 57 minutes

Ex-reporter Joe Winder had been working in the public relations department of a sleazy family entertainment park, The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, when he chanced upon a news-breaking story inspired by the disappearance of two blue-tongued voles and the bizarre death of Orky, the killer whale.
Audiobook, Unabridged US Audible Download, 0 pages
Published April 17th 2009 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published 1991)
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aPriL does feral sometimes
A pair of blue-tongued mango voles, perhaps the last on earth, are the sad victims of an indifferent heist by two inept burglars, Bud Schwartz and Danny Pogue. The two thieves did not know the small creatures were voles; they were under the belief they were rats, and while escaping from the theme park they had burglarized they had playfully tossed the animals into the open windows of the rented cars of tourists on the highway. Since they had grabbed the box without opening it, they did not know ...more
Richard Derus
Jan 16, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: what? I was too busy laughing to hear you

Blue-tongued mango voles. If you've read the book, you've now collapsed on the floor howling in remembered glee. If you haven't read the book before, well, it's time now.

Mix Hiaasen's trademark hapless idiot criminals, burnt-out losers, small-minded grifters, and slimy real estate developers, add a cut-rate theme park, shake with a dose of environmentalist headline-grabbing, and *poof* you have the kind of book that makes summer beach reading so m
Noralil  Fores
Jun 24, 2007 Noralil Fores rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thriller Fans
By page 320 I was quite ready to put Carl Hiaasen's Native Tongue down. As cleverly drawn as Hiaasen's characters are, it seems he was quite unwilling to let them go, and hence 100 pages after I was done reading, the book ended.

The story follows former investigative reporter turned PR man Joe Winder as his job and the events around it at the Amazing Kingdom theme park on North Key Largo turn from bad to worse. Following the daytime kidnapping of two endangered mango voles, the park goes into pa
Jul 18, 2015 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, Skink is one of my favorite characters in the long and chequered history of my falling in love with book characters, so I'm not sure why I've never read Native Tongue, since Skink is such a key character here (Sick Puppy is still my favorite Hiaasen ever, and subsequently, one of my favorite books ever). I enjoyed this thoroughly - Yes, Hiaasen has recognizable, identifiable patterns and traits to all his books: the destruction of the Florida landscape, the weirdness of native Floridians, th ...more
Anthony Eaton
Carl Hiaasen does what he does, and he does it well. That's basically it.

You know when you pick up a book by Hiaasen that you're going to get:

a) Sleazy Florida land developers
b) A protagonist who's a little person fighting a losing battle, but doing it with style.
c) A romantic subplot, usually involving a remarkably competent woman
d) Theme: 'Don't tear up the everglades / gulf coast'
e) A number of laugh-out-loud moments
f) An over the top bad guy, probably addicted to something bizarre. In this c
Jan 31, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has more hilarious adventures of "Skink", ex-governor of Florida. Some of the wacky characters are two misfit burglars, an obsessed older woman environmentalist who shoots people plus the owner and various employees of "The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills" amusement park. All of these people interact and produce some laugh out loud lines.
Jul 15, 2009 Marcie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Notes for myself: Characters include Joe the burn-out ex-newspaper man turned PR hack for a rip-off amusement park, that was founded by a mob guy in the witness protection program, Frankie. Frankie's obsessed with competing with Disney. The smarmy Charles Chelsea is the head of PR, Joe's boss. Joe's girlfriend Nina who dumps him works the sex-talk phone lines. Pedro, the steroid-popping head of security, is the precursor to another character in another of his books...Tool. Also, there's Molly th ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t get enough of Hiaasen! This was another of his hilarious satires - full of wacky characters that inhabit South Florida. I think this is about the 7th Hiaasen I have read and I would rank this with his best. (Others I have read include Tourist Season, Double Whammy, Strip Tease, Lucky You, Skin Tight, Nature Girl). This novel is one of his most direct assaults on developers wrecking havoc on the Florida environment. The targets include the amusement parks such as Sea World and Disney but ...more
Apr 12, 2007 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a good sense of humor
Shelves: fiction
If you haven't read anything by Carl Hiaasen, come see what all the fuss is about. I'm a huge devotee, and "Native Tongue" is part of the reason.

The story takes place at an animal theme park in Florida. As in all Hiaasen books, characters include thugs, ecoterrorists and all-round good guys. Hiaasen is a master of crafting a seemingly lighthearted tale with a strong message underneath. Read a Hiaasen book once a year--it's good for what ails you. And you might even be able to stop taking anti-d
My first Hiaasen. I enjoyed it but I'm not sure I'll read any more of his. So just middle of the road. I did enjoy listening to it. The narrator was great and did a wide variety of different voices. After a while I was totally believing that different people were talking.

The story was amusing and was on the whole light hearted. I enjoyed the setting which resonated with me as my first job as a teenager was at an amusement park. There were plenty of characters some of whom I got really fond of.
Jul 25, 2011 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ex-reporter Joe Winder is now the PR writer for the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills theme park in Key Largo, Florida. Formerly an employee of the competition (Disney), Joe now writes real sweet press releases, you know, the sugar-coated kind. Things get a little interesting at the Rare Animal Pavilion. The rare, treasured and last two surviving specimens of the blue-tongued mango vole (similar to rats, I guess) are carelessly stolen and inevitably killed by two [bumbling] burglars hired by a 70-year- ...more
It’s silly and funny and made me laugh out loud. The whole premise is ridiculous and only gets more slapstick as the book progresses, but the progression of the ridiculousness is so gradual, you barely notice it happening and don’t stop to question it.

The storytelling is actually very good. The small hints and subtle foreshadowing is perfection. A couple of times they caught me out completely, but often a small mention of something had me thinking, “I hope that’s…” and when it turned out it was,
Oct 27, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hiaasen targets some of the larger tourist attraction commuties and the harm they do to the environment in the name of entertainment with this book, which brings readers to the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills. Set in the Florida Keys, the amusement park does everything it can to compete with nearby Disney World while also highlighting the good deeds it does in the name of protecting endangered animals. Owner Francis X. Kingsbury is a hard-talking brute with a focus on making money and plans on conver ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly wasn't expecting much from this book, in fact, I was actually expecting some quirky, terribly written, hipster garbage from the 90's. As it turns out, I should just stop assuming I know what's inside of a book before I read it.

Native Tongue is fast-paced in entertainment from the first page to the last, and although the characters are more-or-less quirky, they're all interesting and enjoyable.
All of the elements to make a good story are here: the moral cause, a bit of mystery, some
Cara Ellison
This book is a solid "meh." Though I love Hiassen's novels, this one didn't do it for me. One of the first problems I became aware of was the head hopping. We start a paragraph in one person's POV and by the end of the page, we might have been through three or four more POVs. It was difficult to settle into the story when that problem kept cropping up. It was also about 100 pages too long.

Like all of his books, this one has an environmentalist theme. I am not an environmentalist but love his boo
Oct 02, 2013 melydia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When a couple of endangered voles are stolen, a disgruntled PR guy at a cut-rate Disneyland-wannabe discovers a sinister secret. Meanwhile, you have an ex-politician hobo, a gun-toting octogenarian ecoterrorist, a couple of bumbling thieves, a phone sex worker turned serious poet, and the mafia, all getting in each other's ways. This book tries to be light-hearted and silly, and indeed most of the characters are pretty ridiculous, but it rubbed me the wrong way all the same. Don't get me wrong, ...more
Oct 27, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humor lovers, mystery fans
Recommended to Bill by: The Today Show
Shelves: fiction, humor, mystery
Hiassen is a long-time favorite. His writing style is predictible, thematic but his stories are just plain fun. Virtually all his stories take place in south Florida. Each of them involve a variety of characters - and most of these characters are, well, looney-tunes. Oddballs and dingbats, some harmless, some toxic and murderous. Even the baddest of the bad manage to make foolish choices - and that's what makes Hiassen such a great read.
Native Tongue features a couple of inept thieves who steal
Sarah Sammis
Jul 10, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
I've now read just over half of Carl Hiaasen's novels. I've come to the conclusion that I prefer his more recent work and always his juvenile fiction. The cut off point seems to be about 2000, although I did enjoy most of Lucky You (1997).

Native Tongue being one of the earliest of his novels (#4) has many of the same themes as his later ones: environmentalism, corruption, animal rights, and big business. The big business in this case is a mob run amusement park with a desire to be bigger than D
Jul 30, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's trashy but smart. It's trashy smart. Smart trash. Like, Playboy with a PhD in the swamps of Florida. The story is fun, moves like lightning and has an environmental conscience. It's the story of a journalist who has ended up working in the publicity department at a second-rate amusement park and gets caught in the crossfire of his corrupt bosses and the environmentalists trying to save the land. Also, his girlfriend is a phone sex worker, so we get regular doses of her trade whenever he cal ...more
M. Louis
Aug 24, 2015 M. Louis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carl Hiaasen's Native Tongue, the second book on the Skink series, is a fun and quirky tale of a battle between developers and a band of misfit environmentalists.

Set in florida, a amusement park owner is attempting to bulldoze a section of the everglades to make room for a golf course and residential lots. With permits and financing in hand, the only thing between fish and manatees versus brightly clad golfers are an elderly environmentalist, the former governor of florida, a press agent for th
Peggy Huey
Nov 13, 2015 Peggy Huey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blend together the last two blue-tongued mango voles remaining, a theme park on North Key Largo, geriatric eco-terrorists and a sleazy land developer hiding out from the Mafia, add in Carl Hiassen's maniacal insanity, and you get his novel titled Native Tongue. This book also includes an appearance by recurring characters Florida Highway Patrol Jim Tile and a former Florida governor now living as a swamp rat known as "Skink" with hilarious results. A "Must Read" for fans of Florida's native quir ...more
Wynne McLaughlin
Hiaasen is my favorite author specializing in the "South Florida Whacko Crime" genre movement. (There were more of those then you'd think.) Crazy stories, generally where the heroes are hard-drinking, stoner environmentalists and the "villains" are various incarnations of Crazy Florida Man. Hiaasen has been a popular columnist for the Miami Herald forever, and he's got Dave Barry's sense of humor with Elmore Leonard's sense of plotting and dialog. Wicked fun. Native Tongue was one of the first I ...more
May 17, 2007 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recommended this book to a large crowd of people in an airport one time because I was laughing so hard, snot was coming out of my nose and one lady finally said "WHAT are you reading?!?!". Approximately half of the crowd standing there wrote down the title and author... hope they had the same snot-laughing-experience I had! :)
Thomas Strömquist
Carl Hiaasen at his very best; 4 stars for the writing and story, another 1/3 for this having an even larger portion of humor + 1 star for the blue-tongued voles alone. So that comes to... all the stars! We don't need no stinking literary super high quality! We have blue-tongued rodents and Skink!
Oct 03, 2015 Monte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A typical Hiassen complete with Florida weirdness that he tells so well. Always a fun read; he finds a way to tell the same type stories without getting stale.
Mar 14, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Dave Barry, Tom Robbins. Richard Brautigan, etc., you will enjoy this raunchy escapade through the swamps of south Florida.
Feb 21, 2016 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. As usual I learned a lot about Florida, and got to meet a bunch of interesting characters. I can't wait for the next ones.
Stuart Malcolm
Nov 19, 2015 Stuart Malcolm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I definitely prefer Hiaasen when he turns his outrage to environmental destruction (and Skink is involved) and this is one of my favourites. A great setting and villain, and suitably black demises.
It's better plot-wise than the first Skink book. I mean, if there is any plot, at some points it's just one zany thing after another. It's fun to read, but extremely difficult to figure out the motivations of anyone, be it good or bad. If I don't want to really think, this book is fine. But his heart is in the right place, Skink's as well as Hiaasen's, as long as you're not a poor unendangered pit viper. If you are, you might slowly get roasted and eaten. On the plus side, (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 14, 2017 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We know what to expect when once a year or so we grab a Carl Hiaasen novel – an inane tale of ridiculous characters, with just enough of a silly plot to turn pages. In “Native Tongue”, publicist Joe Winder works for a Key Largo competitor to Disney called the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, built by a Yankee con artist, wherein almost every facet of the attraction is a scam. When the last two known “blue-tongued mango voles” are stolen from the theme park by two dumb and dumber thugs, and soon kille ...more
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Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. After graduating from the University of Florida, he began writing for the Miami Herald. As a journalist and author, Carl has spend most of his life advocating the protection of the Florida Everglades. He and his family still live in southern Florida.
More about Carl Hiaasen...

Other Books in the Series

Skink (7 books)
  • Double Whammy
  • Stormy Weather
  • Sick Puppy
  • Skinny Dip
  • Skink--No Surrender (Skink #7)
  • Star Island (Skink, #6)

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“Nobody from the Amazing Kingdom bothered to check with previous employers, such as the New York City Police Department, to inquire about allegations of bribery, moral turpitude, substance abuse, witness tampering and the unnecessary use of deadly force, to wit, the pistol-whipping of a young man suspected of shoplifting a bag of cheese-flavored Doritos.” 0 likes
“The gutted ruins of the Amazing Kingdom were razed, and the land was replanted with native trees, including buttonwoods, pigeon plums, torchwoods, brittle palms, tamarinds, gumbo-limbos and mangroves. This restoration was accomplished in spite of rigid opposition from the Monroe County Commission, which had hoped to use the property as a public dump.” 0 likes
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