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Native Tongue

(Skink #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  12,788 Ratings  ·  570 Reviews
When the precious blue-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 is dragged along in their wake through a series of weird and lethal events that begin ...more
Paperback, 437 pages
Published May 2005 by Warner Books (first published 1991)
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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 rated it really liked it
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
Thomas Strömquist
Carl Hiaasen at his very best; 4 stars for the writing and story, another 1/3 for this having an even larger portion of humor + 1 star for the blue-tongued voles alone. So that comes to... all the stars! We don't need no stinking literary super high quality! We have blue-tongued rodents and Skink!
3.5 stars

Joe Winder is a journalist who is fed up with mainstream news so he takes a job as a publicity writer for a Disney-like theme park. This park also has animal exhibits one of which is of endangered voles. The voles are stolen by a couple burglars hired by an environmental extremist. The burglar idiots think they just have a couple of rats and decide it would be fun to throw one of the rats into passing convertible just for yucks.

Winder and his boss, Charles Chelsea, begin writing a serie
Noralil  Fores
Jun 23, 2007 rated it liked it
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
The Badger
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
No actual feedback because I read this when I was 12 (and just found it in my mom’s books). However, I remember really enjoying it.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mr. Hiaasen is always a good choice. This one’s about the troubles for a Walt Disney wanna be in Key Largo. Well done, funny and captivating.
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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! :)
Thomas Todd
Really enjoyed this book. Loved the humor injected from start to finish.
Anthony Eaton
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seminole princesses, oversexed porpoises, steroidal thugs with teeny weenies
You would think a book set at a cut-rate Florida theme park, featuring an environmentalist granny with an itchy trigger finger, an ambitious phone sex worker, an ex-governor living in cranky hermitry in the Everglades occasionally shooting up tourists' rental cars, bunging cops and robbers, oversexed porpoises, and "blue-tongued mango voles" would be a comedy gold mine. And Native Tongue is funny, but while it's funny in bits and pieces, I just didn't think the book as a whole was as funny as Do ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Julie Decker
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Joe Winder gets hired to work as a public relations writer for a corrupt theme park. But his roots are in investigative reporting, so he can't help but chase the story a bit when some endangered-species voles are vole-napped from the park. Joe, a man who resents that his father was involved in destruction of Florida flora and fauna back in his day, has always been a conservationist and environmentalist, so any story about endangered species going missing gets his attention. But the more he learn ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, fiction, mystery
I really needed this book. You see, I had just finished reading Michael Grunwald's THE SWAMP & was feeling angry & utterly hopeless, so what better way to cure my ills, then to go back to a world where developers are still morally bankrupt scumbags and nature is something to be awed & inspired by, not destroyed -- in other words, the world of Skink.

I think what I loved best about this book, was the introduction of Molly McNamara. What a pip!! Nothing like a gun toting granny to head
Leonide Martin
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Florida theme park, the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, promises an unforgettable experience with animals and nature but the sleazy operation is a hotbed of crooks, criminals, and no-good losers. After endangered blue-tongue voles are kidnapped from the park by inept bunglers at the behest of an environmental extremist, panic ensues among park employees making former investigative reporter Joe Winder's job as PR man impossible. Things quickly spin out of control leading to mayhem and chaos that in ...more
3.75 stars

Two endangered voles (a specific type) – in fact the last ones on Earth! – are stolen from Animal Kingdom, a theme park/zoo in the Florida Keys. Characters in the book include the two bandits and an old woman (an activist who has a penchant for guns!), who get to know each other; the owner of the zoo, who has a questionable past, and some of his employees: one of the main ones being a PR script writer, who decides he doesn’t like all the lies he is asked to write to release to the medi
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second “Skink” book I have read, and it was a fun read. The imagination of Carl Hiaasen amazes me. The story, the characters and dialog are all entertaining and yet, very bizarre. I will continue reading this series.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite authors -- love his crazy characters and situations, and this is no exception. I'm new to Skink, but will read the other books in this series, as well as any other Hiaasen books I can get my hands on! Funny book about voles, money-grubbing real estate idiots, and of course southern Florida.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grown up readers
Recommended to Brent by: Florida
So funny!
Highly recommended.
Bridget Carlson
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Basically just the expected Skinky fun!
Paul Cooley
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early Hiasen awesome.

A wonderfully written, if at times preachy, romp. Outrageous characters, clever dialogue, and a fun plot, it’s a great read. Unfortunately, its message is still relevant today.
Garrett Hamblin
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another fun read from Hiassen. What I enjoy most about these tales are the colorful detail that goes into the fringe characters. It adds to the madness of an absurd storyline that is the heart and soul of Native Tounge. Loved this book!
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another example of what I like about Hiaasen - I know what I'm going to get before even starting. Fun story, characters and setting. Florida seriously is this weird - and reminds me that I'll enjoy stories like this much more once I no longer live here. The Audible version was good; narrator did a good job with the various character voices - but I thought it was interesting that Skink sounded in this book the same as Jim Tile did in Double Whammy. A little odd, but only briefly distracting.
It's better plot-wise than the first Skink book. I mean, if there is any plot, at some points it's just one zany thing after another. It's fun to read, but extremely difficult to figure out the motivations of anyone, be it good or bad. If I don't want to really think, this book is fine. But his heart is in the right place, Skink's as well as Hiaasen's, as long as you're not a poor unendangered pit viper. If you are, you might slowly get roasted and eaten. On the plus side, (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it 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- ...more
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Play Book Tag: Native Tongue / Carl Hiaasen. 3.75 stars 1 12 Aug 13, 2017 03:58PM  
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Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. After graduating from the University of Florida, he joined the Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. As a journalist and author, Carl has spent most of his life advocating for the protection of the Florida Everglades. He and his family live in southern ...more

Other books in the series

Skink (7 books)
  • Double Whammy
  • Stormy Weather
  • Sick Puppy
  • Skinny Dip
  • Star Island (Skink, #6)
  • Skink--No Surrender (Skink #7)
“The deceased was a well-known scumbucket and they don’t usually have the decency to kill themselves. Usually someone else does the honor.” 0 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
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