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Skin Tight

(Mick Stranahan #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  16,188 ratings  ·  675 reviews
Somebody wants Mick Stranahan dead. He knows because he's just had to spear an intruder with a stuffed marlin's head. And that wasn't the first time. There was the plastic surgeon with extremely shaky hands...the personal injury lawyer with the beaming billboard face...the vanity-crazed star of TV's IN YOUR FACE...and the high-stepping hit man with the moonscape skin. Not ...more
Kindle Edition, 417 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Berkley (first published September 1989)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  16,188 ratings  ·  675 reviews

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Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, this was my first Carl Hiaasen book. So, after reading a couple of chapters, I'm thinking, it's just another typical seventies kind of detective story. Just another writer acting out a testosterone fantasy. Featuring another tough, macho, independent loner who fights large mean disfigured criminals, while standing knee deep in dead bodies and naked women.

But, this guy is a little too eccentric, a little bit, too loose of a cannon. And the sociopath is a little too psychotic and h
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What I learned from Skin Tight...

1. A stuffed marlin makes a good weapon.

2. A ex-Amish hit man with a weed whacker for an arm and a skin condition shouldn't be laughed at.

3. A fictional thinly disquised Geraldo Rivera is as lame as the real one.

4, I want to be Mick Stranahan (without all those people trying to kill him, of course).

5. Wood mulchers are good for mulching other things.

6. How a nose job could kill you.
Scott Rhee
If you believe that Florida is the sewer where a majority of the country's human waste ends up, you'll love Carl Hiaasen.

A former police reporter for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen clearly has a love-hate relationship with the state he resides in.

Mostly hate. But he shares his vitriol with a smile and laughter.

It is hard not to laugh at the inanity of most of the criminals in his books.

In "Skin Tight", for example, an incompetent hit-man loses an arm from a barracuda attack, and instead of attach
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fake. I guess there's some unintentional irony playing out when a book, poking savage fun at the cosmetic surgery business in phony and corrupt Florida, is itself a do-over of sorts. Hiaasen is a good writer, but one I've always felt owed, nearly everything, to Elmore Leonard. What gets him over the top, usually, is that he's a good student, and he adds his own outrage at what Florida has become. Skin Tight has the usual formula of ex-lawman, bizarre criminals, seedy but exotic landscape, and twisted ...more
Thomas Strömquist
My first Hiaasen - picked it up in a thrift store based only on the cover (THE BLURB ON THE BACK! - blurb - back, OK, OK, settle down people). It totally rocked my world and I was an instant fan. This is the first book starring ex-cop Mick Stranahan - one of the best of the more or less improbable characters of the roller coaster rides which are the Hiaasen books of the time. The fifth star is part pure entertainment value and part nostalgia I'm sure. But those are fine justifications in my view ...more
Oct 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Carl Hiaasen's books are uniformly fun. The good guys win and the bad guys get what they deserve. They are well worth the reading--and the occasional rereading.

Hiaasen's detective/adventure/action/humor books feature unlikely heros and unlikely--but possible--situations. They are set in a Florida which seems like the perfect place to steal an election on TV.

Skin Tight is one of the better ones. Mick Stranahan just wants to be left alone, but it seems he just can't relax without someone trying to ki
aPriL does feral sometimes
One couldn't ask for a more fun summer read. Nobody is playing with a full deck. There are characters who are whacky good people types and those who should be locked up in an insane asylum, but whatever side of law and order they live on, entertaining is most certainly the strongest attribute of everyone involved in the nefarious plot.

It all begins with an accidental death. A Florida plastic surgeon, Dr. Rudy Graveline, with more PR talent than actual skills, kills a rhinoplasty pati
Simply put, "Miami Vice on Steroids." There are not many authors who can deliver a 400+ page comic crime mystery, (Tim Dorsey does it in about half the length and both authors set their work in Florida) who can throw the ball up in the air on page one and keep it spinning. Hiaasen goes for it, and I almost gave this one a 4-star rating (it's a wild-ass blast), as I read the whole thing between Sunday afternoon and this morning (oh, remember back in the day, Saturday Night Fever and then an all-d ...more
What an odd story. It reminded me of Travis McGee in many ways, but an insane version. Normally I don't have an issue with satirical stories, but Skin Tight couldn't seem to decide if it was serious or totally loopy. One or the other, but not both. Mr. Hiaasen seems to have forgotten that old saying about not being able to have ones cake and eat it too. It was just too jarring. So I must say that ,in all in all, I didn't care for the book at all. I know that I should say more, but I simply didn't car ...more
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every so often I gotta have my "Hiassen fix." This guy writs hilarious, violent, complex and generally outlandish mysteries set in Florida and his works are very supportive of the ecological balance there, pus he sets to right those whose egos are bigger than their brains. Case in point: Rudy Graveline, plastic surgeon to the stars and anyone else with a LOT money to preserve their frail vanities. Seems a young student, Victoria Barletta, disappeared after a nose job some years ago, and now the ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Yah? I'd never read any Carl Hiaasen and after seeing all the rave reviews about his books and reading how humorous they are supposed to be I thought I should try one. I picked this one 'cause it's #1 in a series and I like reading series in order. Well maybe it's just me but I sure didn't find this book very humorous. I had a few small smiles and maybe even 1 slight giggle but most of whatever humour is supposed to be here went way over my head. I will admit that I did somewhat enjoy reading th ...more
Wayland Smith
I'm fairly sure I've read this one before and managed to not log it, which is very unusual for me. But it was worth a reread anyway.

The weirdness of South Florida provides a lot of opportunities for story telling. Carl Hiaasen is a master at setting his tales here. There's a repetition of themes in his work, but it's always a fun ride.

Mick Stranahan is enjoying his forced retirement from the State's Attorney's office, living simply out in the rural bywaters off Miami. He gets a most unwelcome visitor
Davis Aujourd'hui
If you are a Hiaasen fan, this book will not disappoint you. If you have never read one of his books, this is a wonderful place to start. Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite comedic authors. His brand of humor is over the top and will keep you laughing all of the way. Carl Hiaasen has been an inspiration to me as an author of comedic books!

In order to enjoy this book, you need to have an appreciation for dark humor which is satire at its best. His characters are zany and the scenarios
Nov 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Had been reading a lot of crime fiction lately, and was looking for something else in that genre. I read the back of this book, and it sounded promising. Bizarre story, over the top characters, good stuff, right?

The problem was that the writing was awful. Many times I had to re-read paragraphs just to figure out what the author was trying to describe. This was most noticeable during action scenes where I'm sure the author had an idea that made sense in his head, but just could not tr
I don't really feel comfortable giving this a rating as I read the first 100 pages then the last 2 chapters and epilogue. There were some funny parts and I was curious as to what was going to happen (so definitely more than 1 star) but by 100 pages I came to the realization that I, as the reader, knew exactly who had committed the original crime, who was lying, and not only who hired all of the hit-men, but who the hit-man was. The reader is just introduced to those characters and flat out told ...more
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by:
Mick Stranahan sure gets a lot of women to take off their clothes unselfconsciously in front of him. The fact that none are romantically linked with him makes this all the more unusual. You'll just have to read the story but the theme is "plastic surgery", so that may give you a hint on why this is happening to Mick. Skin Tight was mildly humorous, more tongue in cheek than other Hiaasen stories I have read. Some slightly outlandish characters make it fun. Probably 2.5 Stars on the scale. Not bad.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this one. I have read a few other books by this author, and although I have enjoyed them, this was my favorite to date. I love the character of Mick Stranahan and the characters were quite amusing. This was a fun and fast-paced mystery; I'm just sorry it languished on my bookshelf for so long!
This was a fun book to read and didn't take much brain power. It is a little different from other crime novels that I have read because it has a darkly comical undertone. The characters are vivid if a bit cartoonish. I would reccomend this if you are looking for a light easy read with a little humor.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice palate cleanser after not-reading Gravity's Rainbow all summer. Funny and cartoonish in Hiassen's way, but the ending was weirdly confusing and anticlimactic. Expected more to wrap up this darkly funny romp through the Florida Keys and the world of plastic surgery.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A typical Hiaasen mixture of good guys, bad guys and good plots sprinkled with humor. 7 of 10 stars
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, serial-mystery
In Carl Hiaasen's Skin Tight, the first installment in the Mick Stranahan comedic mystery series, this debut will have you laughing out loud and shake your head a few time. Meet Mick Stranahan, a lone man who lives in Stiltsville Florida, and a former private investigator. It all started when someone tried to kill him at his home, when he used his prized marlin to make him into mincemeat and chum out of him. That's when he started to investigate the issue on why someone who wanted him dead and l ...more
Ned Andrew Solomon
I am supremely thankful that my wife, Gina Lynette, turned me on to the books of Carl Hiaasen. They are, collectively, a great release from daily stresses, as much an escape as any favored movie or tv show. Although, I do believe that these "escapist" novels are highly intelligent, astoundingly creative, superbly written and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious. Along the way, you might even learn something about an obscure industry or an environmental aspect of Florida, the home base for all the ...more
Rachel Reynolds
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-authors
Another delightful romp from Carl Hiaasen! Like most of his novels, Skin Tight was a roller coaster ride through South Florida from start to finish. It all starts when a mysterious dead body washes up on the shores of Biscayne Bay. The recently deceased is (apparently) a member of the mob and the cause of death is impalement by marlin. It just gets crazier from there. As with most of his novels, Skin Tight hosts a crazy cast of characters, including an unqualified plastic surgeon, good cops, sli ...more
Rand Rhody
I recommend the guilty pleasure of any of Hiaasen's books, and lucky for me I still have a few left to read. This is his third, after Tourist Season and Double Whammy featuring his usual cast of wicked and ridiculous characters in a tangle of mayhem. It's less laughable than his later stories, possibly because too many bad guys are actually killed off in this one. I seem to remember a lower body count in Bad Monkey, Stormy Weather, and Skinny Dip but I'll leave the fact-check to others.
Michael McCue
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Skin Tight former Florida Attorney General's Office investigator Mick Stranahan is pursued by several contract killers when someone mistakenly thinks Stranahan is close to solving a four year old missing person case. Like all Carl Hiassen books there is humor and weirdness. Among the characters are a greedy incompetent plastic surgeon, a seven foot tall hitman with bad skin, a investigative report who is a lot Geraldo Rivera and a bunch of cops and other Miami low life types. When the hitman ...more
Carl Hiaasen has gotten leaps and bounds better over the years of his career, which makes it hard to go back and read some of his older stuff for the first time. That's not to say that it doesn't have flashes of the very brilliant Hiaasen that was in the works: Chemo, one of my favorite characters (from Star Island) makes his debut with all the wry Hiaasen trademarks.

One way in which Hiaasen managed to be waaaay ahead of his time: the story rotates around a wildly corrupt, horribly incompetent plastic
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Hiaasen, laugh out loud funny, cracking pace and an easy, entertaining read all round. Enjoy!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mick Stranahan is a retired Florida State investigator who was part of a team who looked into the disappearance of a young woman after she had plastic surgery four years ago. Mick is attacked in his home and finds out that it is an attempt to keep him from re-opening the case. An inept surgeon who operated on the woman is in the process of having anyone killed who is aware of this disappearance, and he hires henchmen to do this. "Chemo" is the one to try to murder Stranahan, but Mick is too smar ...more
Howard Brazee
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read my first Carl Hiaasen, it took me a while to decide it was funny, and a bit longer to decide that it was very funny indeed.

But his black humor with just about the whole world (or at least Florida) being very corrupt gets old too. I can't read them very often.

The individual plots don't matter too much in deciding whether to read one of his books. Pick any one for the dark humor and characterizations.
Michael Norwitz
One of Hiaasen's lesser works. Amusing and cartoonishly violent and moderately sexist, most of the tropes seen here have been covered better in other books, and the protagonist isn't weird enough to cover for his tendency towards violent retaliation.
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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 Flori ...more

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