Razor Girl

by Carl Hiaasen
Alfred A. Knopf (Penguin Random House) 2016

Method of selection: my horoscope said I would find a shitty book today
First sentence: see below. I couldn’t bear write it twice.
Things I wanted to burn after reading three pages of this shitty book: other copies of Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen while still in the readers’ hands, the readers of Razor Girl, their girlfriends and mothers, some hefty ash tree logs for a campfire so I can make s’mores while roasting all those people. It’s a LOT of people.

Other reviews (all positive): Robert McGrath’s Blog, Curtis Brown, The Grandstander

I read a review somewhere that calls Carl Hiassen’s writing “black humor”. That is an insult to black people. And even though the term “black humor” has nothing to do with black people, it’s still insulting. It might even be racist. This book is so shitty it’s a Nazi.

My goal at ShittyBooks.com is to only read the first three pages of a book and then review the whole thing—the philosophy being that the first few pages are the most important part of a book, and that a good writer is good from the very beginning, and a shitty writer is always shitty.

Sometimes, I don’t need to read three pages to make up my mind. Sometimes it only takes three sentences. Sometimes, three clauses. Please observe the opening of this book:

On the first day of February, sunny but cold as a frog’s balls, a man named Lane Coolman stepped off a flight at Miami International, rented a mainstream Buick, and headed south to meet a man in Key West.

Mr. Hiaasen, delirious and drowning in shitty book money, thought he could coin a quaint colloquial southernism without asking my permission. And I don’t care if he wrote the book that they turned into the movie Striptease (the book ruined Elizabeth Berkley’s career before the movie did). I don’t care that he wrote some songs for Warren Zevon (Warren Zevon wrote TWO songs???). Zora Neale Hurston sure as hell never used “cold as a frog’s balls” and neither did Faulkner. And by the way, nobody in Florida ever said that. I’m from Florida and that’s not a thing we say. We say things like, “da gaiduhr godduhm!” and, “I gots tha HONGRY!” and, “I will gladly trade you some bathsalts Tuesday for one Fentanyl today.”

Also, did you catch the protagonist’s name? Or were you too shocked by the zaniness of frog balls? It was LANE COOLMAN (emphasis added). Lane Coolman falls in love with Deb Hotchick and is then robbed by Bradley Snarldude while driving his Buick Fastcar. He carries a Smith & Wesson .38 Killgun and contracts a bad case of oozing dickburn after sleeping with Sally Mudslut. I made those last six up. It was easy. But Hiaasen made up Lane Coolman. Or maybe his 11-year-old son made it up and dad thought including it in this book would be easier than spending time with him.

Like all modern novels that take place in Florida, everything is wild and crazy all the time and the wildness and craziness is nonstop and never-ending and it’s also off-the-wall and zany. Did I say nutso and bonkers and wacky? It’s all those thing too. Just get a thesaurus and type in “unpredictable”. For example, a lady is shaving her pubic hair while driving a Firebird when she rear-ends Lane Coolman in his Buick. THAT IS SO ZANY I GOT A FUCKING BRAIN TUMOR AND DIED. THEN THE PARAMEDIC RAPED MY CORPSE AND A NURSE RAPED THE PARAMEDIC AND THE CORONER RAPED US ALL AND DIED. What other crazy thing will happen next, Carl? Ooh something with alligators, maybe? Anything can happen in Florida!

This book starts with a car ride, which is one-third of the Tripartite Shitty Book Triumvirate (car rides, upcoming weddings, murders). Starting a book with a car ride is so common to shitty books I’m beginning to suspect all shitty book authors must be composing the beginnings of their books while sitting in traffic, possibly on the way to their publisher, after blowing their $50,000 advance on donor eggs for their feral mudsluts, and having written nothing by their first deadline thanks to side effects from all the Fentanyl, scrawling whatever bullshit they can think of on the highway while waiting in I-95 traffic, dipping their broken pen in bloody cum stuck to their pant legs because they were masturbating in their car to relieve a bad case of oozing dickburn, which they blamed on the mudsluts but they actually got it while rafting in Canada.

The amazing thing about this book is that, after three shitty pages, I kept reading. But not because it was compelling. It was so shitty it needed to be investigated—carefully scraped from the pages word-by-word with a tiny word trowel like it was shitty book archaeology. I threw the whole thing in formaldehyde and the formaldehyde exploded and died.