Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Basket Case” as Want to Read:
Basket Case
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Basket Case

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  13,061 Ratings  ·  760 Reviews
Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, "plotting to resurrect my career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff." Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba "accident" may be just the stiff Jack needs-if only he can figure out what happened. Standing in t ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
A slightly off-kilter mystery about a dead punk rocker, his peri-pubescent brat of a wife (of a few months) a toss-up of residual newsroom characters, overarching goodies and baddies (media conglomerates) and some of the sundry tasty and tawdry types that one finds in beach towns of a certain size, there to be someone they weren’t yesterday.
It isn’t a book that will linger, or open any wondrous spectral insight - but it might make you giggle out loud several times. That's good.
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy
Other than "Team Rodent" I had never read a Hiaasen novel until this one. I had always heard good things and had listened to him compared to many of my favorite authors. Last night I read Basket Case (actually I finished it... I started it yesterday). Now that I have finally read a Hiaasen novel, I must say, I absolutely loved it.

First, it takes place in my home state of Florida, which I miss immensely so it was nice to be back there, if only in my mind. Second, Hiaasen is an extremely intellig
Mike French
Oct 30, 2013 Mike French rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable book. This book wasn't laughing out so much your sides hurt for a least 2 days like the Skink series, but was very humorous! If you like Carl Hiaasen and haven't read it ,you should!
Oct 09, 2016 Art rated it really liked it
Jack Tagger has been exiled to his Florida newspaper's obit desk but he has a plan to find just the right death to springboard his by-line back to the front page.

And when Jimmy Stoma's death notice crosses his desk, the game is on.

Stoma was the front man for an old rock group. Tagger suspects his death was not a result of natural causes. And the cast of characters inhabiting the world of Stoma and Tagger is a typical Hiaasen mash-up of likeable, colorful and potential Darwin Award winners.

Oct 12, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
Basket Case is the first Carl Hiaasen that I've read and it was pretty good.

What I liked:

- Pacing - the story moves and doesn't lag at any point. It was so easy to read that I was finished before I knew it.

- Humor (general) - it's meant to be funny and it was refreshing to read a mystery that was fairly light and without too much heavy emotion.

- Details about the newspaper business. It doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me but I can see how someone with the right personality would love the d
Jul 16, 2008 James rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Can't say that I would
I am a big fan of Mr. Hiaasen. That being said I was pretty disappointed in Basket Case. It took me over two years to read this book, simply because I didn’t care. It turned into the book I picked up and read a few pages in between the next thing I would read. The characters weren’t as interesting as in Hiaasen’s previous stories. The humor, which usually has me laugh out loud, was weak. Basket Case also lacked the pro-environmental undertones that he has become known for.

This is the first novel
Scott Rhee
Sep 18, 2011 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it
Carl Hiaasen is funny. But he's probably not so funny to a lot of people, namely politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike), the Aryan Brotherhood, trailer trash, people who spend thousands on plastic surgery, plastic surgeons, Colombian drug dealers, tourists, pedophiles, supermodels, criminals, and dog-haters. I suppose if you're not in one of those demographics, you won't be offended by Hiaasen's salty disposition.

Hiaasen basically hates everybody in Miami, Florida, and he writes lovingly
Mar 20, 2009 Joanie rated it really liked it
I read this for the spring challenge. I liked this one more than Nature Girl but not quite as much as Skinny Dip. Hiaasen again brings to life some pretty funny characters including some of the dumbest criminals you've ever met. Entertaining story, pretty far fetched but still a lot of fun.
Mar 29, 2009 Agumom rated it really liked it
I randomly picked up Sick Puppy by this author because I liked the cover (well done marketing team!). The heroes are flawed and quirky. The hero in this book is obsessed with death and writes obituaries. I am really enjoying this author. I mean, his books have yet to change my life or my perspective on life, but they're great to read on a lazy Sunday (cupcakes!), curled up on a comfy chair still wearing pajamas and sipping coffee. Or tea, you could sip tea, as well.
Jan 05, 2010 Barbara rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Forty-six year old Jack Tagger - who was once an investigative journalist - has been banished to the obituary page since publicly insulting his newspaper's publisher. Hoping to make it back to the front page Jack latches on to the story when former rock star Jimmy Stoma, who was lead singer of the Slut Puppies, dies while scuba diving in the Bahamas. Jack becomes suspicious when there's no autopsy, a quick cremation, and Jimmy's wife, Cleo Rio - an up and coming singer - tells conflicti
Frederic Pierce
Jun 21, 2014 Frederic Pierce rated it really liked it
Loved it. For a former newspaper reporter and increasingly devoted Carl Hiaasen fan such as myself, this book was a two-fer. The story is pure Hiaasen - a laugh-out-loud-funny mystery filled with outrageous characters, genuine suspense, a flawed and reluctant hero and an rock band called The Slut Puppies. Oh, and murder. It wouldn't be a Hiaasen tale without one of those.
But the story is also a period piece about newspaper journalism in the 1990s, when increasing corporate ownership and the res
Jul 23, 2011 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, audiobooks, florida
Carl Hiaasen is in top form here, even if he differs from his usual narrative by switching to a single-perspective first person present tense narrative. This doesn't matter, because Hiaasen's writing is so good, his wit is so dry and the comedic timing so brilliant...he can handle any narration device with ease. The bonus of the different narrative is that the mystery is more focused, and it's his best in this regard. Hiaasen drops the usual environmental platform in what is an homage to classic ...more
Apr 29, 2008 Xander rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it. (I mean couldn't-put-it-down-enjoyed-it.) A top-notch detective novel—without a detective.

Hiaasen's novels are always twisted and funny, but this was especially good. The crime itself is not especially original, but the protagonist, obituary writer Jack Tagger, and the way in which the crime is uncovered through his impulsive (compulsive?) actions is unique and interesting.

The healthy dose of pop-culture references kept me smiling, too.
Jun 28, 2007 Jaime rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007, comedic_fiction
This book doesn’t have some of the absurdity of Hiaasen’s other novels, but it was quite good. The relationships are all very believable, and I ended up liking Jack quite a bit. The conclusion of the mystery is also quite satisfying.
Oct 11, 2016 Tim rated it it was ok
Positively, one of my least favorite Hiaasen reads. In fact, it's closer to 1 star than the 2 I'm giving it because of a few clever lines by an obit writer in fear of his own fatality. 3 of 10 stars
Garrison Kelly
Jun 14, 2017 Garrison Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack Tagger, Jr. is a middle-aged former elite reporter who has since been demoted to writing micromanaged obituaries after going on a tirade against his newspaper’s corporate masters. Life is slow, miserable, and boring for Mr. Tagger until he’s tasked with writing an obituary for Jimmy Stoma, a rock and roll icon who is believed to have drowned in an unfortunate diving accident. Jack’s investigative instincts cause him to dig deeper into this case in an attempt to uncover a conspiracy involvin ...more
Kimber Frantz
Jack Tagger is a 40-something journalist at a newspaper in Florida. He's been demoted from writing front-page articles to the obituary section for back-talking the new media conglomerate that purchased the formerly independently owned newspaper during a high-power meeting between staff, board, and executives. He becomes very interested in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a former punk rock star, Jimmy Stoma. Despite being told to stand down by his younger, less-experienced e ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Megan rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, i-reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2017 Aaron rated it really liked it
Jack Tagger's dreams have not panned out as he would have hoped. He was a pretty good investigative reporter up until he investigated the wrong person ... something that resulted in his being reassigned to cover the obituaries for the paper he works at in southern Florida. An interesting opportunity arises when he gets an opportunity to write the obit for Jimmy Stoma, the lead singer of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. Jack always loved the band, which reminds me a of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Poor Ji ...more
Jun 02, 2017 Mariaan rated it really liked it
A lot of people don't like Carl Hiaasen I am not one. I love this style of writing and I thoroughly enjoyed all the intriguing investigation and the character of Jack Tagger and Jimmy and The Slut Puppies. Nothing to take too seriously and was just a fab read for a rainy day.

Cat Ellington
Dec 27, 2016 Cat Ellington rated it it was amazing
"If you don't own your masters, your masters will own you."
— Prince

I'm only giving Basket Case five stars because, even though its plot, in the beginning, unfolded a bit slower than a Carl Hiaasen plot should, the great author made up for it with an explosion of gut-busting humor and extraordinary writing ... as only he can. Plus, it's a yarn about the music industry, so that's right up my alley.

The plot centers around the death of a world-famous rock star, stagenamed Jimmy Stoma. Stoma, prio
Jul 25, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
Jack Tagger writes death notices for a South Florida daily newspaper. He's 46 and already death-obsessed; nature of the business. Jimmy Stoma, front man for a gone-but-not-forgotten rock group, turns up dead from a diving accident in the Bahamas. Jack writes the death notice based on some bad information given to him by the rocker's pop-singer widow, Cleo Rio. Jack suspects foul-play and is hell-bent on finding out the truth behind Jimmy Stoma's death. With the help Emma, the young and ambitious ...more
Emilia Robin
Aug 02, 2014 Emilia Robin rated it it was ok
I've only read about half of one other Carl Hiaasen book before (Nature Girl) but it convinced me to pick another at random from the library. Nature Girl's characters were crazy and Hiaasen wound together their story lines easily and to hilarious effect.

This book was a tremendous disappointment. Many times I almost gave up out of sheer boredom, but pushed through hoping things would get better. The humor in this just falls flat and the plot falls in that terrible gray area of unrealistic but not
Jeff Yoak
South Florida news reporters, like Hiassen, get to tell more larger-than-life stories that strain the imagination in their professional capacity than many fiction authors can get away with. You'd expect when Hiassen finally indulgently allows himself to cast a South Florida newsman as a hero that he'd go even further over-the-top than is typical of his other fine novels. Surprisingly, it doesn't work out that way. I mean, sure, there an incident where the frozen remains of a former 3-and-a-half ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Lea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I've liked Hiaasen before, so when I spotted a bunch of his books for sale for criminally cheap at the thrift store I picked them up. Like all of his books, they're pretty simple, move quickly and are fairly well plotted. I've been trying to figure out how to explain his character writing, and
I'm not sure I can but here's my attempt: Each character is well thought out and unique, like he keeps a journal somewhere plotting out their lives, their likes, interests, motivation and backgrounds. But.
Dec 02, 2016 Silvio111 rated it it was amazing
Basket Case seems different to me from all of Hiaasen's other novels, and I have read them all.

Most of them feature some outrageous character whose greed is impacting the Florida environment egregiously enough to have provoked the ire of one of Hiaason's various avatars who advocate for wildlife, land use, or some other endangered facet of the landscape. There is usually over-the-top revenge at the miscreant's expense.

Toward the latter part of his career, Hiaasen began writing young adult fictio
Dec 29, 2014 Stacy rated it liked it
I always forget about Carl. I've only read one other book by him and loved it, but he's just not someone I think about. I plan to change that.

This man is funny. Bordering on Christopher Moore funny, and that's saying something. Lacking some of the absurdity present in Tourist Season, Basket Case still had me laughing out loud and I really appreciate the originality (although according to reviews, perhaps if I continue to read his books I'll no longer be so enamored with his unique storytelling
John Robinette
Jan 23, 2015 John Robinette rated it it was amazing
This was one of two fun fiction books I choose for the winter holiday break (the other Grisham's Sycamore Row) and finally finished it over the MLK holiday weekend. I'm a Hiaasen lover so maybe I'm biased, but I loved it! It has everything someone would want from a Hiassen: Wacky Florida characters, unimaginable situations, and at least one (if not several) unusual and suspicious deaths. The story takes place (was written) back in the early 2000's so some of the plot elements (computers, hard dr ...more
Jun 11, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was ok
I listened to this on cd. It's okay. There have been some funny parts, but if I had been actually reading it, I probably would have stopped. I guess it would be a decent summer read if you like the unrealistic mystery/humorous type of books. The characters seemed very flat and one sided and I could not relate to any of them.

I would recommend this to someone who is looking for a light beach read and willing to sacrifice poorly written characters and an unrealistic plot line for gossipy entertai
Jan 24, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Full of zany characters, Carl Hiaasen's novel Basket Case exudes excitement and frisky plot twists. Hiaasen is the Master of Story-Telling, Word Craft, Laugh-out-loud Humor, and the Comic Crime Novel. No wonder he's my favorite modern author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Triggerfish Twist (Serge Storms, #4)
  • Sunburn (Key West, #3)
  • Tricky Business
  • Gumbo Limbo: An Alex Rutledge Mystery
  • Heart Seizure
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...

Share This Book