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

Native Tongue (Skink #2)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,620 Ratings  ·  440 Reviews
"Ruthlessly wicked...Wonderful...His best book yet."
When the precious clue-tongued mango voles at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills on North Key Largo are stolen by heartless, ruthless thugs, Joe Winder wants to uncover why, and find the voles. Joe is lately a PR man for the Amazing Kingdom theme park, but now that the voles are gone, Winder
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published August 18th 2010 by Knopf (first published 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Native Tongue, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Native Tongue

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
Jan 31, 2014 Chantel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thrillers
Native Tongue (Skink #2) by Carl Hiassen (Borzoi books 1991) (Fiction). There has been a break-in at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, which is a fifth-rate Disney knock-off amusement park in deepest South Florida. Oddly, the only things taken in the break-in were two rodents; they were the last two examples of the small furry hamster-like creatures known as blue-tongued voles. Native to the northernmost Florida Keys, the animals had become extinct in the wild, and the park's breeding program was ...more
Mark Smiley
Jun 07, 2014 Mark Smiley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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! :)
Jan 13, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hiassen writes comedic books that look at the relationship between politicians, big business, and their impact on rhe environment.

In this book, a suitably suspicious theme park owner in Florida who models his park after Disney (in a knock-off-cum-wannabe sort of a way), decides to branch out into those condo development that focus on golf courses (or marinas or the like), only to have environmentalists get in his way and attempt to do him down.

Hiaasen's books are cleverly structured and written.
Apr 01, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dustin Gaughran
Jul 28, 2014 Dustin Gaughran rated it really liked it
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
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Stingray Shuffle (Serge Storms, #5)
  • Scavenger Reef (Key West, #2)
  • Maximum Bob
  • Ten Thousand Islands
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...

Other Books in the Series

Skink (6 books)
  • Double Whammy
  • Stormy Weather
  • Sick Puppy
  • Skinny Dip
  • Star Island (Skink, #6)

Share This Book

“As he was pulled underwater for the final time, terror gave way to abject humiliation: he was being fucked to death by a damn fish.” 1 likes
“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
More quotes…