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Naked Came the Manatee

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,995 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
In South Florida, everyone wants to get a head. But not just any head. A very famous human head--severed and snugged away in a cryonic container. A head that could spark a revolution and change the course of history.
Everybody wants a piece of the noggin: rotund gangster Big Joey G., a 102-year-old environmentalist, hard-boiled Miami reporter Britt Montero, lawyer Jake Lass
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 20th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2008 Catten rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, 20 or so journalists at the Long Island newspaper Newsday, posed as a single writer named Penelope Ashe and wrote a really bad sex novel called Naked Came the Stranger.

In 1997, Dave Barry wrote the first chapter of Naked Came the Manatee and passed it to the right, in the tradition of that party game called Telephone. He thought he'd made up enough characters for all of the South Florida writers involved in the project. And like the first person in the Telephone circle, he lost
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it
Interesting concept: 13 different authors, each of whom penned a chapter, taking the story in their own direction. Dave Barry wrote the opening chapter, which had me in hysterics despite my best attempts to stifle my giggles so my 8 year old son, who was asleep next to me, wouldn't wake up. A manatee named Booger? Brilliant!

I'd never heard of the majority of the writers, so I had no idea what to expect. Each chapter had its own style, its own flavor, but they all worked together really well. Th
Ann Feeney
Like most such serially written books, Naked Came the Manatee starts out strong, but as it progresses, each previous writer is more and more likely to write the next one into a corner. In some such stories, the ending is a foregone conclusion, so the writers needn't struggle too much to assure that the assassination is foiled, the lovers are united, etc., but something that starts with an open ending, like this book, paradoxically creates more troubles for writers and readers. For example, Carl ...more
Richard Gazala
Mar 13, 2010 Richard Gazala rated it liked it
Like the waters of Key Biscayne, in and near where much of the plot of this book occurs, this story is choppy. That's to be expected, given the novel consists of 13 chapters, no two written by the same author. Dave Barry kicks off the story, Carl Hiaasen finishes it, and the writers in between are all seasoned Floridian authors of varying renown. Some of the chapters are funnier than others, some better written, and a couple don't work at all. The approach makes for disjointed storytelling at be ...more
Craig Pittman
Not as funny as I'd hoped it would be. In 1995 and 1996, a team of South Florida's best writers collaborated on a wacky mystery story that was published a chapter at a time by the Miami Herald's "Tropic" magazine (RIP).

The first chapter, setting up the storyline, was by Dave Barry, and featured a manatee named (of course) Booger. Other writers had to then pick up the story and run with it. Les Standiford tossed in his series hero, John Deal, and then Paul Levine had his attorney hero Jake Lassi
Lance Charnes
Mar 23, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it liked it
Recommends it for: South Florida crime novel completists
Shelves: fiction-satire
An extended gag as much as a book. Thirteen authors who have dished their share of Florida crime tales (including the top-billed Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, Edna Buchanan, Paul Levine and James Hall) get together to write a chapter each of an increasingly bizarre tale involving a frozen head and a slate of characters so cracked they have to be Miami residents. Some familiar series protagonists show up, too, such as Buchanan's Britt Montero, Levine's Jake Lassiter and Les Standiford's John Deal.

Jan 23, 2013 AJ rated it liked it
I have lived with the legend of this book ever since my parents let me read Dave Barry when I was a small child (Bad move, parents. I'm super strange now and it's your fault).

In my mind, nothing beats the humor and weirdness of South Florida's best and most cherished authors: Barry, among others like Hiassen and Shroder, collaborated on the book and each added a chapter. You think this would make for a great romp, but really, it's just as confusing and halting as it sounds.

I even read this whil
Oct 06, 2008 Elaine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008, october
Remember that game where you get a bunch of people together and one person starts a story then breaks off and the next person continues the story, and so on? Well this book is what happens when that bunch of people are all published authors. Just like those impromptu group stories, this story is a lot of fun, but suffers from characters that suddenly begin acting out of character, plot points that show up suddenly then just drift away, and even chapters that shift genres. Kudos to Carl Hiaasen w ...more
Ms. Okes
Jul 20, 2015 Ms. Okes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Dave Barry's zany novels and Carl Hiaasen's humorous nods to saving the environment, so when I found this book written a chapter apiece by famous Florida authors including this dynamic duo, I was excited. Ah, what a let down.

Naked Came the Manatee begins with promising chaos and wacky characters, trademarks of Barry. I'm not sure who came up with the plot, but it seems to have his name written all over it. I only wish more of the book had actually been penned by him.

The problem with havin
Aug 29, 2008 Carolyn rated it liked it
I didn't like this one as much as naked came the phoenix by all the women mystery authors, but it was a cute, quick read. The concept of these "Naked came the..." books is great! Some are just done better than others.
Theresa Spencer
Jun 05, 2013 Theresa Spencer rated it liked it
Booger the manatee is much more fun to follow than Fidel Castro, truly. I enjoyed this summer read.
Tim Hicks
Nov 30, 2014 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
Look, this is not a very good book. So why the 4 stars?
Because I never expected it to be good - only funny and interesting.
A book with 13 authors working on sequence isn't going to succeed any other way.
Even if the authors include Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Edna Buchanan, Elmore Leonard and others.

The plot is complex and ridiculous. But the setting and characters are fun, and I enjoyed seeing what each author did with what he/she received.

They don't need to write another one, but this was fu
Nov 17, 2015 Margaret rated it it was ok
Dave Barry opens this trickster novel with the introduction of Booger the Manatee gently coasting through the waters of South Florida. Booger is soon entangled in a mystery with cryogenically frozen, decapitated heads that bear a striking resemblance to Fidel Castro. A scuba diver, a lawyer, an aging naturalist dedicated to the preservation of coastal waters, a journalist aching for her next big story, and other colorful deadbeats populate this wildly twisted novel. Carl Hiaasen skillfully wraps ...more
Robin Berman
Sep 06, 2013 Robin Berman rated it liked it

First time reading a novel written by 13 different authors. My thoughts:

1. Worth a read for those of us living in South Fla. or who are familiar with life here. Pretty much makes fun of everything here, mainly assoc. with Miami & Coconut Grove.

2. Very funny chapter that makes fun of the typical South Beach life style and the trendy clubs...and tacky private dinner party...a club called "Hell" with an aquarium dance floor filled with sharks. Note: Hiaasen later will write a book called "Star
Apr 13, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Britt Montero says on page 158, “this is getting confusing.” Indeed. I was all ready to give this book a two-star rating until I learned that the book was originally published weekly (making this a real serial novel), so I decided to be generous and throw in an extra star for the authors having to solve other people’s literary problems under pressure, along with whatever else the authors were all working on at the same time. Props especially go to Carl Hiaasen for making pretty good sense out ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carl Hiaasen fans
This is a strange and very unique story comprised of thirteen serial chapters, each written by a famous Florida writer. The tale is absurd, shocking, and wickedly funny. It takes pot shots at tourists, politicians, developers, gangsters and even Floridians and Cubans. I love reading Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry's books, so I was excited to see them work together. It seems the only one missing from the group hug was Tim Dorsey.

It's a very fast read and is highly entertaining. There are too many ch
Jul 08, 2008 Jordan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of funny crime fiction
Before reading this book, I didn’t have high hopes. I’ve read a lot of reviews beforehand that bashed this book. Well, after finishing it I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.

It’s by no means perfect. When you have that many authors each writing a chapter in the novel, there is bound to be some problems. Overall, though, it was enjoyable.

One of the problems is that between some of the chapters, there are time lapses so the reader has to figure out “Okay what happened to that guy?” So in one
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
In case you didn't know, this book is actually written by several Florida authors, each contributing a chapter and taking the story where they so choose. I believe it was originally published in a magazine, with each author submitting the next installment of the story. The first is Dave Barry and the final is Carl Hiaasen with several other prime examples of Floridian writing genius in between.

This book covers the bases when it comes to Florida humor, taking place in Miami, we have nature lover
Feb 20, 2008 Becky rated it liked it
Shelves: just-for-fun
this book is absolutely preposterous, and i mean that in the best way possible. this is the novel equivalent of the experiment we did in my 10th grade english class where everybody wrote one sentence of a story on a piece of paper and then passed it to the person next to them to continue the story -- except here you've got well-known florida authors writing full chapters. you can't read this book expecting it to be the slightest bit coherent or sensical. it's pure fun, so just go along for the r ...more
You'd think that a slew of seasoned writers could put together a better story than this, wouldn't you? It honestly read like they were more caught up in playing a game of trying to trip each other up while amusing themselves in the process than they were with creating a properly flowing novel.

If you read it from that perspective, a bunch of (otherwise) great authors coming together to amuse themselves and playing jokes on each other by torturing certain characters and at one point mutilating an
Andrew Lasher
Sep 14, 2010 Andrew Lasher rated it liked it
The basic premise of this novel is that twelve Florida writers got together and wrote a chapter each. It was originally serialized in a magazine, so the way it worked was the first author wrote chapter one, which appeared in the magazine. With that to go on, the next author had to continue the story in chapter two. So on and so forth until Carl Hiaasen had to tie everything up at the end and make a coherent story out of it.

While Hiassen did write the best chapter (in my opinion), the way the boo
Peggy Huey
This book is an interesting take on the concept of collaborative writing used in many school classrooms. Thirteen talented Florida writers each contribute a chapter to this story about events in Coconut Grove involving the head of Fidel Castro in which a manatee named Booger plays a significant role. While there are some logical flaws to the overall story arc, the end result is a hilarious time for all involved.
Jun 29, 2014 Alexis rated it really liked it
I'm not sure where to start. Naked Came the Manatee is a humorous story with a Hiassen size dash of oddity. This all star cast of writers leaves a little to be desired though. The first several chapters ran together smoothly, bogged down a little in the middle with some existentialism and then picked back up with Leonard and Hiassen's distinctive writing styles. Definitely worth a quick, light hearted read.
Patricia Staino
Ugh. Just ugh. While creating a novel by having a different author write each chapter seems like a fun concept, it is rarely successful. If you are a fan of Hiaasen or Leonard, you'll probably tolerate this book, maybe even enjoy it. But I was bored, found the characters one-dimensional and stupid, the "smart-ass" comments weren't funny but definitely predictable, completely don't understand why the manatee was in the book at all, and probably only needed to read the last chapter (by Leonard)--i ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Louise rated it liked it
Fun, ridiculous, surreal, witty. This book was written by 13 authors, each writing a chapter and passing it on to the next author to continue the story. You can't go wrong with a wild read set into motion by Dave Barry and barreled along by the likes of Elmore Leonard and Paul Levine until Carl Hiaasen takes it into the homestretch. Now I want to try this with my own group of writer friends! Anyone game?
My book group tries to do light reads for December and this was no exception. Originally released as a serial via a newspaper in Miami, this book was written by a collection of South Florida writers, each taking a single chapter. There were funny moments and this was an amusing read, but there were far too many characters going on to really connect with any one. Also, this work has not aged well and the main plot line revolving around Fidel Castro just doesn’t seem as relevant today as it probab ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Dave Barry starts this story with one of the funniest and most vivid scenes I've ever read. The next chapter, written Les Stanford, continues and adds to the plot. Each author who follows continues the story with creative additions, twists and surprises. What a fun read while on vacation!
Dec 13, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
A great premise, but this book really foundered along the way. Each author tried to make it harder for the next one to continue the story, while planting what they thought were land mines along the way. It made for a jumbled mess, for me, and I didn't think it was very funny, either. Some of the authors were quite boring, and I read too many authors to mention.
It would have worked if Carl Hiaasen took the whole thing and wrote it himself. Yes, I am a HUGE fan of his writing. But this would have
Apr 09, 2015 Roberta rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
About what you'd expect from a book written by a committee. Although I agree with Margaret's review I prefer to save one-star ratings for books that I have actually used to roast marshmallows.
Sheather Nelson
Jul 31, 2009 Sheather Nelson rated it it was ok
The premise here -- that a bevy of great Florida authors would each write a chapter to create a fun Florida thriller -- just didn't really work in reality. The plot ended up too choppy and there were way too many characters to keep up with (probably because just about every writer had to introduce a new one instead of developing what they were given). I did like what the valuable and dangerous item, which everyone was fighting over, turned out to be. In that sense it was a very Florida book. I a ...more
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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.
More about Carl Hiaasen...

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