It’s been four years since Carl Hiaasen’s last novel for adults, “Nature Girl.” That should have been long enough for America’s pop culture in general, and Florida’s in particular, to have yielded a shooting gallery’s worth of new targets. It’s been enough time to place the excesses of a flaming pop tart, à la Lindsay Lohan, in Mr. Hiaasen’s satirical cross hairs.
So his latest novel, out next Tuesday, is “Star Island,” about the self-destructive escapades of an over-the-hill former child star. Cheryl, née Cheryl Gail Bunterman, is famous as a singer called Cherry Pye, as in: “That’s Cherry Pye! She’s my ringtone!” She became a music star without having any discernible talent. Cherry has what her producer deems “the weakest singing voice he’d ever heard from anyone not confined to a hospice.”
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons. A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper’s weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald’s opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at www.miamiherald.com or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.