"Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiassen
After reading a book as memorably retarded as Alan Dean Foster's "Mid-Flinx," any other book is going to seem brilliant by comparison. I probably could have picked up a copy of Dr. Seuss, and been struck by his mastery of prose, his deft pacing, and his rich sense of irony.
So take what I have to say about "Skinny Dip" with a grain of salt. Upon further reflection, this book might be much worse than any comments below lead you to believe. It might even be a terrible book, but it's still better than "Mid-Flinx," and that's saying something.
It was first published in 2004. The author lives in Florida, where the novel is set. He is passionate about the Everglades, and has written four other novels, all firmly within the mystery/suspense genre.
And as I've stated before, I'm not a big fan of this genre. The plots of most suspense novels seem very contrived to me, and the characters in them tend to behave in wooden, even unnatural ways. Worse still, there's usually some detective on hand who makes unbelievable associations, and it is these associations that end up cracking the case. "Oh wait!" says the detective, "The killer left his note in crayon, so that must mean he works in the crayon factory!"
Skinny dip doesn't try to avoid any of these pitfalls, but at least it tries to be funny. I say tries. It doesn't always succeed. The characters often find themselves in ridiculous situations. Some of these situations are almost funny, but Hiassen expends so much effort maneuvering his characters into these situations that any suspension of disbelief falls by the wayside. Worse still, the intricacies of his plot often make the characters seem inconsistent. I had trouble believing that an ex-cop would really help a complete stranger fake her own death, or that the falsification of water readings could really be the motive behind a murder.
Anyway, you could read it if you don't have anything better on hand. It's certainly better than other things I've read recently.