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Razor Girl
Cover of Razor Girl
Razor Girl
A novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
A lovable con woman and a disgraced detective team up to find a redneck reality TV star in this raucous and razor-sharp new novel from Carl Hiaasen, the bestselling author of Bad Monkey.
Merry Mansfield, the eponymous Razor Girl, specializes in kidnapping for the mob. Her preferred method is rear-ending her targets and asking them for a ride. Her latest mark is Martin Trebeaux, owner of a private beach renourishment company who has delivered substandard sand to a mob hotel. But there's just one problem: Razor Girl hits the wrong guy. Instead, she ends up with Lane Coolman, talent manager for Buck Nance, the star of a reality TV show about a family of Cajun rooster farmers. Buck Nance, left to perform standup at a Key West bar without his handler, makes enough off-color jokes to incite a brawl, then flees for his life and vanishes.
Now a routine promotional appearance has become a missing persons case. And Andrew Yancy, disgraced detective-turned-health inspector, is on the job. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising to him as anything else he encounters along the way—including the giant Gambian pouched rats that are haunting his restaurant inspections.
A lovable con woman and a disgraced detective team up to find a redneck reality TV star in this raucous and razor-sharp new novel from Carl Hiaasen, the bestselling author of Bad Monkey.
Merry Mansfield, the eponymous Razor Girl, specializes in kidnapping for the mob. Her preferred method is rear-ending her targets and asking them for a ride. Her latest mark is Martin Trebeaux, owner of a private beach renourishment company who has delivered substandard sand to a mob hotel. But there's just one problem: Razor Girl hits the wrong guy. Instead, she ends up with Lane Coolman, talent manager for Buck Nance, the star of a reality TV show about a family of Cajun rooster farmers. Buck Nance, left to perform standup at a Key West bar without his handler, makes enough off-color jokes to incite a brawl, then flees for his life and vanishes.
Now a routine promotional appearance has become a missing persons case. And Andrew Yancy, disgraced detective-turned-health inspector, is on the job. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising to him as anything else he encounters along the way—including the giant Gambian pouched rats that are haunting his restaurant inspections.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book CHAPTER ONE

    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. He nearly made it.

    Twenty-seven miles from Coolman's destination, an old green Firebird bashed his car from behind. The impact failed to trigger the Buick's airbags, but Coolman heard the rear bumper dragging. He steered off the highway and dialed 911. In the mirror he saw the Firebird, its grille crimped and steaming, pull onto the shoulder. Ahead stood a sign that read: "Ramrod Key."

    Coolman went to check on the other driver, a woman in her mid-thirties with red hair.

    "Super-duper sorry," she said.

    "What the hell happened?"

    "Just a nick. Barely bleeding." She held her phone in one hand and a disposable razor in the other.

    "Are you out of your mind?" said Coolman.

    The driver's jeans and panties were bunched around her knees. She'd been shaving herself when she smashed Coolman's rental car.

    "I got a date," she explained.

    "You couldn't take care of that at home?"

    "No way! My husband would get so pissed."

    "Unreal," said Coolman.

    The woman was wearing a maroon fleece jacket and rhinestone flip-flops. On her pale thigh was the razor mark.

    "How about a little privacy?" she said. "I'm not quite done here."

    Coolman walked back to the Buick and called the man he was supposed to meet in Key West. "I'll be a few minutes late. You're not gonna believe what just happened," he said on the man's voicemail, leaving it at that.

    The cops arrived and wrote up the red-haired pube shaver for careless driving. Naturally, she had no collision insurance; that would be Avis's problem, not Lane Coolman's. A tow truck hauled away the Firebird, which needed a new front end including a radiator. The woman approached Coolman and asked for a ride.

    "Tell your 'date' to come get you," he said. One of the police officers had pried the damaged bumper from the Buick, and Coolman was trying to fit it into the backseat.

    "He doesn't have a car," said the woman, who'd buttoned her jeans. She was attractive in a loose and scattered way. Coolman had a weakness for redheads.

    "See, I work for an escort service. We go to where the client's at," she said.

    "Yes, I understand the concept."

    The woman's fleece was unzipped and beneath it she wore a black sequined top. Her toes must be freezing in those flip-flops, Coolman thought; the temperature was 55 degrees with a biting north wind, arctic conditions for the Florida Keys.

    "My name's Merry," she said, "spelled like Merry Christmas."

    "My name's Bob," said Coolman, "spelled like Bob."

    "Does that mean you'll give me a lift?"

    "Why not," Coolman said, the worst mistake he would ever make.

    At Mile Marker 22, Merry told him her last name was Mansfield, like the bombshell actress of the Fifties. Coolman stopped at a Circle K where he got a cup of coffee and Merry bought three eight-hour energy drinks, chugging the little purple bottles one after the other.

    "You running a marathon?" Coolman asked.

    "I'm all about performance."

    At Mile Marker 17, she told him she didn't really work for an escort service.

    "Wild guess—you're a dancer," he said.

    "On my own time," she replied. "Not one of those."

    "I didn't mean it in a bad way."

    "Why didn't you just say stripper? The games you guys play, I swear." Her eyelashes were a paler shade of red than her hair.

    Coolman said, "Why would you make up a lie about being an...
About the Author-
  • CARL HIAASEN was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of thirteen previous novels, including the best-selling Bad Monkey, Star Island, Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and four best-selling children's books, Chomp, Hoot, Flush, and Scat. His most recent work of nonfiction is The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. He also writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 13, 2016
    At the start of Hiaasen’s breezy, enjoyable sequel to 2013’s Bad Monkey, Lane Coolman, a Hollywood talent agent, is driving from Miami to Key West to keep an eye on Buck Nance, star of Bayou Brethen, a reality TV show, when his rental car is rear-ended by an attractive crash-scam artist, Merry Mansfield. Coolman ends up kidnapped, while Buck incites a riot at a Key West bar. Meanwhile, a Bayou Brethren fan, desperate to impress his TV hero, goes too far when he attacks a tourist. Aided by Merry, Andrew Yancy, a lowly health inspector looking for a way to get his job back with the sheriff’s department, seizes the chance to solve a murder case in which Buck, who goes AWOL from his show, is a suspect. Add a few Gambian pouched rats, a New Jersey mobster, a businessman selling stolen sand, and reprehensible neighbors to the fast-paced plot, and readers will be hoping that Yancy and the other quirky denizens of Hiassen’s Florida will soon be back for another screwball adventure. Author tour. 300,000 first printing. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 1, 2016
    Rejoice, fans of American madness who've sought fulfillment in political reportage. South Florida's master farceur (Skink--No Surrender, 2014, etc.) is back to reassure you that fiction is indeed stranger than truth.Even though a prefatory note indicates that both the come-hither title and the stuff about giant Gambian pouched rats are rooted in reality, no one but Hiaasen could have dreamed up the complications arising from the collision of Merry Mansfield with talent agent Lane Coolman--a literal collision, since she rams his rented car while shaving her bikini area in the driver's seat of a Firebird. Make that multiple collisions, since Lane turns out to be only the latest victim of Merry and her partner Zeto's kidnap-for-hire schemes. In this case, he's the wrong victim, mistaken for beach-replenishment contractor Martin Trebeaux, whose swindling has put him on the wrong side of Calzone crime family capo Dominick "Big Noogie" Aeola. Since Coolman's being held captive, he can't be on hand to walk his client Buck Nance, the reality star of Bayou Brethren, though a personal appearance at the Parched Pirate, and Buck goes off script into a racist rant that sparks a demonstration and sends him fleeing, though he's still capable of inspiring Benny Krill, a murderous apprentice racist who dreams of joining him on his show. After laboring in vain to persuade Jon David Ampergrodt, his boss at Platinum Artists Management, as well as Merry and Zeto that he's worth ransoming, Coolman escapes, but it doesn't matter: he's still confined in the zoo that's Key West, where liability lawyer Brock Richardson's fiancee loses the $200,000 ring he didn't bother to resize after his fatter former fiancee returned it, and when his neighbor, health inspector Andrew Yancy, discovers it, he hides it in the hummus in the hope that an indefinite search for the bauble will stall Richardson's plan to build a McMansion that will obstruct Yancy's sea view. Etc. How can Hiaasen possibly tie together all this monkey business in the end? His delirious plotting is so fine-tuned that preposterous complications that would strain lesser novelists fit right into his antic world. Relax, enjoy, and marvel anew at the power of unbridled fictional invention.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2016
    Since this is Hiaasen, expect wild characters, starting with Razor Girl (aka Merry Mansfield), perpetrator of car-crash scams and linked to Andrew Yancy, who lost his detective badge after confronting his ex-lover's husband with a Dust Buster but seeks to get it back by solving a murder. With a 300,000-copy first printing and a nine-city tour.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times "Carl Hiaasen's irresistible Razor Girl meets his usual sky-high standards for elegance, craziness and mike-drop humor."
  • The Washington Post "Raucous . . . It's a classic Hiaasen setup, and Razor Girl delivers on it with seasoned, professional ease."
  • The Daily News "One of the wildest, funniest Hiaasen novels yet."
  • The New York Times Book Review "In Florida it's usually too hot to move very fast, but Carl Hiaasen, a native son of the Sunshine State, likes to hit the ground running. . . . The secret is Hiaasen's premium, high-grade comic prose, which keeps everything at the right temperature. In Florida, you have to know how to stay cool."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Razor Girl
A novel
Carl Hiaasen
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