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Sick Puppy (Skink #4)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,985 Ratings  ·  978 Reviews
Independently wealthy eco-terrorist Twilly Spree teaches a flagrant litterbug a lesson--and leaves the offender's precious Range Rover swarming with hungry dung beetles. When he discovers the litterer is one of the most powerful political fixers in Florida, the real Hiaasen-style fun begins.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 12th 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 4th 2000)
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Bernie MacKinnon Virtually every chapter in "Sick Puppy" has a belly laugh. Carl Hiaasen's evisceration of Florida culture continues, to our collective benefit. When…moreVirtually every chapter in "Sick Puppy" has a belly laugh. Carl Hiaasen's evisceration of Florida culture continues, to our collective benefit. When it comes to channeling our malice toward certain figures--developers, lobbyists, corrupt politicians--no one does it better, and no one conjures up more poetic and imaginative justice for them. This one concerns a narcissistic lobbyist who is unlucky enough to be caught littering by a trust-fund hippy environmentalist, who then targets him for maximum humiliation. Hilarity and suspense ensue. Apart from said trust-fund hippy, the character of the ex-Florida governor-turned-survivalist Clinton Tyree--a aggrieved idealist on a mission--is worth a movie all on his own.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 10, 2011 Caris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Oh my shit.

Guess who read a book. Go on, guess.

Yep. This motherfucker right here. Boo-yah.

I'm so happy I could write a haiku:

The book has been read
Take that, you skeevy assholes
Fuck you, world, fuck you


This book was recommended to me by a friend at work. He and I got to discussing Kerouac one day, and, don't ask me how, but I ended up with this book in my hands. He highly recommended it.

Here's the thing. I don't normally read stuff like this. Mass market stuff. It's the snob in me. It's
May 21, 2007 Lily rated it did not like it
Shelves: received-as-gift
This book is about a hundred pages too long and is a poorly developed story about an unstable environmentalist that stalks an asshole lobbyist/exotic game hunter because he saw him toss trash out the window of his car. The most frustrating thing about this book is that it has potential to turn into an interesting story, but it moves in a bunch of roundabout directions and never delivers. Worst of all, it seems like the author wanted to use every strange character he had ever developed in one boo ...more
Scott Rhee
Feb 10, 2014 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it
Carl Hiaasen is a literary comic genius, a Samuel Clemens for our day, as evident in his hilarious book "Sick Puppy", but to say that his books are simply entertaining is to miss the point. He's writing primarily about Florida, a state which no one should have to actually live in, due to the number of ridiculously insane people that inhabit it, most of whom are politicians, elderly retirees, immigrants, or criminals. Hiaasen takes aim at everyone: Republican or Democrat, young or old, rich or po ...more
Jun 15, 2007 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ridiculous people like me
Shelves: hilarious
man. this book made me laugh. hiaasen is friggin hilarious. the book has crazy floridian creeps causing eco-mistakes. the main character simply doesn't like it. picture an entire truck load of dung beetles being dumped onto your fancy SUV because you threw a mcdonalds wrapper out your window. and Skink, the vagabond with good teeth, gives me the smiles. just - if you are wanting to laugh, this is it. so silly. and there is always a good message about development destroying the world and whatnot. ...more
Book Concierge
Feb 11, 2013 Book Concierge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twilly Spree is a trust-fund baby and eco-terrorist with some anger-management issues. When he witnesses blatant littering by the driver of a Range Rover with vanity plates, he is compelled to teach the litterbug a lesson. Within a few pages the reader is immersed in the usual Hiaasen scenario featuring a dog-napping and peopled with corrupt Florida politicians and ruthless developers; among the characters here are a former Toyota salesman who is now governor, a hunt-trophy-happy lobbyist, a mil ...more
Linnea Hartsuyker
Jan 08, 2008 Linnea Hartsuyker rated it it was ok
My mother-in-law recommended Carl Hiassen as someone who amusingly sends up Florida politics and corrupt politicos. What I liked is that this book spares no one. The environmental nut really is a total nut, not someone you necessarily want representing your cause. It was funny. What I disliked is how completely irredeemable the bad guys are. Hiaasen paints with broad brush strokes, and the bad guys aren't just bad, some of them are incredibly twisted in ways that seem too horrid and brutal for a ...more
Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People with endearing temper problems.
Shelves: fiction
One of the funniest books I've ever read. What enjoyable, escapist fiction should be. Twilly Spree is a character Joseph Heller would have been proud of, a hero in anger management classes, and his exploits are so absurd that they are only believable because they take place in the state of insanity known as "Florida". Absolutely fun and all that good, escapist fiction should be.

Paul Pessolano
Aug 23, 2015 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“Sick Puppy” by Carl Hiaasen, published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Category – Mystery/Humor Publication Date – February, 2000.

How can one resist a good mystery/humor novel that has a dog, not only a dog but a Labrador retriever, as one of its characters. Hiaasen has again put together a book that takes a look at the corrupt politics of Florida that is driven by a greed for ocean front property and litter bugs.

The characters, again, are outrageous. You have the former Governor of Florida, Clinton Tyree,
Jul 13, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing
I laughed and laughed at this story. It's actually filled with so many characters who could be thought of as sick puppies, it's hard to decide who the title refers to! There's lobbyist Palmer Stoat, who loves nothing better than killing big game at his favorite big game killing establishment, which is oddly reminiscent of a theme park. There's Twilly Spree, good-intentioned though somewhat neurotic eco-terrorist. There's ex-Florida governor Clinton "Skink" Tyree, one of the scariest characters I ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Rhonda rated it really liked it
I love Carl Hiaasen. I am not a big mystery/thriller person and his stuff is great! His characters are OTT and at the same time so very human and in this instance humane. How can you not love a man who would chase down an idiot for throwing trash out of his car doing 80 on the freeway?!?! Twilly Spree is my hero. With Hiaasen you just never know where you will wind up - except that it will be in Florida, that much you know.
Aug 11, 2009 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
I haven't read any Carl Hiaasen in about ten years. It's worth saying that based on his first 5 books, his investigative reporting and the fact that he once appeared on IN SEARCH OF alongside Leonard Frickin' Nimoy, I regard Hiaasen as a genius to be spoken of in hallowed tones. I will now proceed to speak of him in tones more harsh than hallowed, even though I still think he's one of America's greatest writers and one of the top 10,443 crime novelists in god damned South Florida; since they all ...more
Terri Powers
Jul 10, 2014 Terri Powers rated it liked it
Ok, I read it. Read the whole thing. Was this my favorite Carl Hiaasen book? No, but it was an entertaining read. The characters are:

Palmer Stoat – an obsessive/compulsive type prone to littering rather than having the offending item on his possession, Stoat is a cocksure deal maker in the middle of the Florida political arena.

Desie Stoat – young, beautiful, and unlucky with men. She is wife number three and wondering how or why she was still hanging around.

Twilly Spree – to say Twilly is a hero
Jan 18, 2016 Booknblues rated it really liked it
You gotta love a dog story and especially one which nails the essence of a dog as well as Carl Hiaansen’s Sick Puppy. It is clear that Hiaansen has been around his share of dogs with descriptions such as this:

“That’s the thing about being a Labrador retriever--you were born for fun. Seldom was your loopy, freewheeling mind cluttered by contemplation, and never at all by somber worry; every day was a romp. What else could there possibly be to life? Eating was a thrill.......And everywhere you wen
Apr 29, 2016 Shelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, humor
I don't even like dogs, but I liked this book a lot. Fortunately, I guessed that the sick puppy of the title referred to one of the characters and boy, was I right. In fact, it could refer to almost any one of the characters. They are all sick puppies. Glad I don't know any of these people in real life, but they are all so much fun to read about. I read one other good book by Hiaasen, I think it was Double Whammy, but Sick Puppy is even better.

This would be a good book to give someone who is re
Sep 29, 2007 Julia rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
This book was pretty funny but also rather gross. The very interesting descriptions of people we imagine exist (the wealthy conservative game-hunting politician with a trophy wife; the psychotic, environmental terrorist with an anger management problem, etc.) made for an outrageous and dark comedy. Still, something about the book didn't feel good to me.

Maybe I'm just too serious, but reading about people this dysfunctional and the havoc they wreak on each other and the world around them just lea
Feb 24, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
Florida novels - When young ecoterrorist Twilly Spree begins a campaign of sabotage against a litterbug named Palmer Stoat, he gets much more than he bargained for. Stoat is a political fixer, involved with a bevy of shady types: Dick Artemus, ex-car salesman, now governor; Robert Clapley, a crooked land developer with an unhealthy interest in Barbie dolls; and his business expediter, Mr. Gash, a permed reptilian thug with ghastly musical tastes. After a wave of preemptive strikes centered on a ...more
John Gustafson
Oct 01, 2009 John Gustafson rated it it was ok
Sick Puppy is my introduction to Carl Hiaasen, an author that my girlfriend felt would be a good way to get me introduced to Florida. I'll probably read him again, although I found this book to be one of diminishing returns. It starts out as a satisfying read; Twilly Spree is a maladjusted and overgrown trust fund kid who gets to live out a popular revenge fantasy: he spots a litterbug on the Florida highway and decides to spend as much time and energy as possible to teach the litterbug a lesson ...more
Jun 06, 2011 Chip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay. I'll concede that there are oversimplifications in this book. The bad guys are irredeemably bad; the good guys are little better than the bad guys. That's true of most of us, isn't it? The destruction of habitat for condos is a central Hiaasen theme, so don't get your Speedos in a wad. The characters are too wild and crazy to believe? Have you ever spent time in Florida? Every nutjob who isn't on a survivalist ranch in Idaho picks up their mail in Florida (it used to be California before l ...more
Morgane G
Oct 29, 2010 Morgane G rated it liked it
Sick Puppy Review

Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen, is for anybody who likes a bit of humor, sarcasm, and love thrown into a story full of political stereotypes and psycho environmentalists. Twilly Spree, a young man who inherited millions from his father and spends his time looking for potential dangers to the environment comically deals with a prime suspect, making friends and enemies along the way. Throughout his adventure, Twilly learns that the techniques he’s been using to teach his v
Jun 18, 2013 Edwin rated it really liked it
Sick Puppy is my first book by Hiaasen and I will probably read others. Sick Puppy is, I suspect, typical of most of his books: an entertaining conflict between really bad guys and one or more idiosyncratic good guys. The characters are unapologetic caricatures with just enough resemblance to real people to keep me interested.

In Sick Puppy one of the evil ones is a lobbyist who gets paid to clear the way for rich guys who want to get richer by using politicians to help them rip off the public a
Lionel Valdellon
Jan 21, 2010 Lionel Valdellon rated it did not like it
The book is about the angry antics of a millionaire eco-terrorist named Twilly, who follows a litterbug throwing trash out of his car while on the highway. The litterbug named Stoat is actually a corrupt lobbyist brokering deals for corrupt politicians and real estate moguls. When Twilly kidnaps Stoat’s black labrador (the sick puppy of the title) and eventually Stoat’s wife Desie, the mayhem begins. A multi-million-dollar real estate deal is endangered, bringing into play various goons of the b ...more
Mar 31, 2012 Dana rated it really liked it
When Twilly Spree, an environmental terrorist and financially independent, sees Palmer Stoat throw trash out of his car window on the freeway, he is on his tail seeking revenge. Stoat is a political fixer involved with all sorts of characters: Dick Artemus, ex-car salesman, now governor; Robert Clapley, a crooked land developer with an unhealthy interest in Barbie dolls; and his goon, Mr. Gash, who plays his favorite 911 compilations in the tape deck.

Twilly, after filling Stoat's car with dung b
Aug 26, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Sick Puppy is the second Hiaasen novel I’ve read. 3 Stars of great fun. He isn’t often laugh out loud funny but he keeps you smiling throughout. His love for Florida and his passion for minimizing environmental impact by civilization are on full display here. He uses caricatures for his characters. But they are so good. The wacko environmentalist, the cynical Democrat, the smarmy, unserious Republican, the sleazy lobbyist, the slimy ex-smuggler now real-estate developer, thugs, etc all keep you ...more
J.T. Therrien
Jul 10, 2013 J.T. Therrien rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud funny!

The best reason I enjoy reading Carl Hiaasen novels is because I will never be able to conceive of plots (and characters) such as his.

In Sick Puppy he has... let me see if I can recall most of these characters: a prostitute whose clients are Republicans, a self-sufficient eco-terrorist, a slob lobbyist/big game hunter, a rogue former Florida Governor, a killer with a 9-1-1 call fetish (among several other fetishes), a black Labrador (one of the Sick Puppies alluded to in the
May 08, 2013 Juliana rated it really liked it
Carl Hiaasen is a master of sentence, character and humor of the absurd.

Case in point, this little bit taken from Sick Puppy:

"The killer had a vain streak when it came to his physique. He was driven to take measures that artificially streamlined his midsection, which in recent years had shown signs of incipient tubbiness--an unnerving development that Mr. Gash bitterly blamed on the dull sedentary life of a a hit man. It was an occupation that neither required nor allowed much physical exercise
D.L. Williams
Mar 29, 2014 D.L. Williams rated it really liked it
Sick Puppy: another great read from Carl Hiaasen. Wonderful, quirky, Florida characters. This main character is another that wants to save Florida from litterbugs and land barons. He kidnaps a dog, doesn’t kidnap someones wife (she goes along on her own) and is matched up with an ex-Governer who has gone wild and lives in the wild swamps. Great fun, great writer.
Mar 18, 2009 Sasha rated it liked it
If you're a nature lover and you haven't read any Carl Hiaasen books, Shame On You. Sick Puppy is not a book with characters a reader falls in love with, it is a book where the principle of things is more important.

The book has it all: An eccentric millionaire who doesn't like littering, a bored and attractive wife who falls in love with her husband's nemesis, an island that needs saving and a crazy ex-governor who features in most of Hiaasen's books.

Of course, it involves much much more in te
"Sick Puppy" is a novel about greedy politicians and builders who are destroying Florida's beauty. It's packed with colorful characters and wacky incidents.

Twilly Spree is a wealthy environmentalist who is trying to stop a development from bulldozing the trees and killing the animals on a Florida island. The project is designed to enrich a builder who contributed to the governor's campaign, as well as benefiting a lobyest who is trying to set up the deal.

The characters are richly drawn and easy
Aug 04, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it
This was a very very fun read. I was thoroughly entertained. It's a satirical look at politicians and life in Florida. One of my favorite characters is a champion of the environment. Twilly is seemingly a sociopath who gets very irritated by any that would take for granted Florida's beautiful wetlands and coasts. He loves to teach lessons to litterbugs and will stop at nothing to get his point across. All of the characters are heavily flawed and the situations they find themselves in are absurd. ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Krista rated it really liked it
Gotta love a book with a dog as a central character. The book is highly amusing and paints an interesting picture of Florida's politics.
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Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his family. 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.
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Other Books in the Series

Skink (6 books)
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  • Native Tongue (Skink, #2)
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“as a lobbyist he had long ago concluded there was no difference in how Democrats and Republicans conducted the business of government. The game stayed the same: It was always about favors and friends, and who controlled the dough. Party labels were merely a way to keep track of the teams; issues were mostly smoke and vaudeville. Nobody believed in anything except hanging on to power, whatever it took. .....” 16 likes
“...Right now there's a pair of bad cops on their way out here to shoot me."
"You don't know that."
"Yeah, you're right," Stranahan said. "They're probably just collecting Toys for Tots. Now go.”
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