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Native Tongue (Skink #2)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  8,744 ratings  ·  369 reviews
Now reissued--one of the most beloved novels by the "New York Times" bestselling author in which dedicated, if somewhat demented, environmentalists battle sleazy real estate developers in the Florida Keys.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Vision (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Noralil  Fores
Jun 24, 2007 Noralil Fores rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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....more
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
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
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...more
Apr 12, 2007 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
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
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...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,...more
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Sarah Sammis
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...more
ISBN/ISSN 1402561938 :
ISBN/ISSN C2342 Recorded Books

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Writing like an Edward Abbey of South Florida, Hiaasen ( Skin Tight ) sets his reluctant journalist hero after a morally corrupt real estate developer planning to build an 18-hole golf course on North Key Largo. Burned out as an investigative reporter for a Miami newspaper, Joe Winder now writes PR releases for the Amazing Kingom of Thrills, a sleazy theme park owned by Francis X. Kingsbury, who hopes to i...more
Lorna Francis
What a great read this book had mehooked from the start, who wouldn't be when a rat is thrown into a family of tourists rented Convertible in South Florida. This happened in the first two pages of the book and draws the reader wright into the story.
Carl Hiaasen when writing, often uses characters full names which I have never come across. I liked his writing style and his characters very much.
PR Man Joe Wilder, previously a journalist finds himself in grave danger when he starts questioning str...more
Mark Smiley
Carl writes well. He writes of environmental issues couched in murder and humor. He loves the state of Florida, where most of his books transpire. The writing is engrossing and draws a person in...into the story and characters. These are not cardboard cutouts but each a true (or seemingly so) true to life person. We feel their pain, understand their attitudes.

A knock-off Disney wannabe will do all he can to secure financial stability for his magical kingdom even if it means bringing in faked end...more
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! :)
Another great one by Crazy Carl. This is a(n) hilarious story surrounding the trials and tribulations of The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, an amusement park in Southern Florida trying to usurp Disney as Florida's biggest draw.

The park is run by an ex mafioso in the witness protection program, who is also bulldozing a beautiful stretch of nearby land to build a golf course and housing complex. In comes a PR guy (briefly works for the park), an old lady (head of a wilderness preservation group), a c...more
Dustin Gaughran
Now that I'm finished with book two of the Skink series, I'm again disappointed that a proud Floridian such as myself hadn't read these sooner. The story is entertain on it's own, but I have to say, without meaning to sound like some kind of snob, that when you read these having grown up in Florida, you understand them a little more. The themes about carpetbaggers coming down here and bulldozing the natural beauty just so snowbirds can not be cold for a few months touch home, because if you look...more
Nov 06, 2011 Shelby rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody, ever.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Wade
A new favorite Hiaasen. To lend credit to my review, some of his books I've enjoyed less than others: Sick Puppy and Basket Case were so-so. Native Tongue 'NT' was awesome - right up there with Nature Girl, Skinny Dip and Strip Tease.

Some of the other reviews complain about the large cast of characters and side tangents. Umm... have they read any of his other books? Native Tongue was pretty much straightforward Hiaasen. I thought there was more sex in NT than some of his more recent novels - no...more
Text Addict
I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately, and Hiaasen makes a great kind of 'palate cleanser' in the midst of that kind of feast. Hiaasen's characters are extreme, his language vivid and absorbing, and his plots seriously whacked. Very, very few other writers provide the kind of roller-coaster, living-on-the-edge feel that Hiaasen does.

They also tend to be rather grim, full of characters who give meaning to the term "moral turpitude," or are operating way, way out at the far end of the...more
Joe Winder is the PR secret that the Animal Kingdom, a theme park in Florida,
uses to keep their edge above that 'mouse park.' He plays the game, stretching
the truth to fit into the park's blurred vision of the truth. But a combination of the an abduction of the park's endangered blue-tongued voles and the destruction of his beloved Florida causes Winder to go a little crazy.

Among him on the journey are a one-eyed ex-governor, a sex-line writer and an older, grandmotherly type woman who will st...more
Hiassen is a master at creating the most believably unbelievable characters, as told by the spin doctor of a Florida zoo, who has finally switched sides against the zoo's despicable owner. Kingsbury, the greedy land developer sees the zoo as his ticket to easy money, but he's not running any ordinary zoo, he has the rarest of the rare creatures, a pair of blue-tongued mango voles. When the planet's only surviving voles are volenapped by two incompetent thieves, and the zoo vet is mysteriously mi...more
Al Young
I just finished reading my first Carl Hiassen novel, and I am hooked.

I always was interested in Hiassen for 2 reasons: 1) Carl was friends with Warren Zevon and Hunter S Thompson- how cool is that? and 2) after seeing him profiled on 60 Minutes a couple of years ago, I thought 'this was a character.'

It's not too hard to see why Hunter and Warren liked him so. Carl has a sense of humor and absurdity that they would have appreciated.

Native Tongue was the first time I read Hiassen. I would compare...more
Lance Charnes
Jan 06, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carl Hiaasen completeists
Shelves: fiction-crime
Fairly standard-issue Hiaasen (which is better than a number of writers at the top of their game), a pleasant-enough way to spend an afternoon. If you've read any of his other Florida-based sagas, you'll see all the regular characters: the burned-out, washed-up ex-journalist hero (check); the hot babe who unaccountably sleeps with the ex-journalist hero (check; wonder how Mrs. Hiaasen feels about this character?); the stupid cracker criminals (check); the rapacious zillionaire developer bent on...more
I like to read one Carl Hiaasen book a summer. They are full of interesting, offbeat characters, situations just ludicrous enough to be almost real, and lots of interweaving of characters and details. You know that everyone is going to come together in the big climax and that justice will be doled out in an appropriate and humorous manner.

Joe Winder is the PR man for The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, a theme park aspiring to Disney status on Key Largo. Already bored of his cushy and vapid job, Joe...more
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
This is the second book of Carl Hiassen that I have read(the first being Nature Girl) and I have to say, I am slowly warming up to his books. I maybe picking up another one of his books sometime in the near future.

Now about the book, its a funny environment thriller, it has a crazy plot, really interesting and weird characters (the best ones!) and it makes us think about our environment. It really does in a subtle way from time to time that we would share the characters' indignation and anger to...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 southern Florida.
More about Carl Hiaasen...
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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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