Wendy's Reviews > Native Tongue

Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen
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's review
Jul 25, 2011

it was ok

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-old member of the Wildlife Rescue Corps.

Francis X. Kingsbury is a land developer, hiding from his past life in New York. He's the founder, president and chairman of the park. He's the big cheese. He's also developing Falcon Trace, a waterfront home site and golf club. The Wildlife Rescue Corps. is un-thrilled about this land development as well.

Unlike Jack Tagger, the main character in Hiaasen's "Basket Case," Joe Winder, is dragged through the muck and mishaps at the park and into a mystery of multiple levels. His bosses have really pushed him into the investigative driver's seat. Jack Tagger of "Basket Case" takes it upon himself, out of curiosity, to get involved. A member of an old band he liked mysteriously drowns and he really wants to find the truth. Both main characters hold similar jobs, however, and get dragged into a PI position, checking out murders, suicides, looking for evidence and clues, basically sticking their noses where they don't belong and risking their lives for a lousy job.

Native Tongue was too far-fetched for me. We've got a vole doctor killed by Orky the Wale, the scene set up like a suicide. A girlfriend who "talks dirty" for a living. (O-kay, that I believe.) And, Dickie the Dolphin has a helluva romp in his tank with a beautiful TV reporter. Far-fetched is fine, but this was really ridiculous. I had a few laughs, I admit, but I wouldn't recommend this one.
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