Hiassen sends his reluctant journalist hero after a morally corrupt real estate developer in this scattershot but inventive entertainment. ( Nov. )
Imagine you're driving a rented Chrysler LeBaron convertible to the perfect family vacation at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills when a rat is tossed into your car by a passing pickup. The rodent in question is not a rat, but a rare blue-tongued mango vole just liberated from the Kingdom by the militant Wildlife Rescue Corps. Welcome to the world of Native Tongue , where dedicated (if somewhat demented) environmentalists battle sleazy real estate developers in the Florida Keys. Hiaasen reminds one of Harry Crews in his depiction of a South full of eccentric people involved in crazy schemes. It is a measure of the writer's talent that no matter how bizarre the situation, it is believable. Late in the book a character laments his predicament as ``an irresistible convergence of violence, mayhem and mortality!'' If he had added nonstop hilarity, he would have had a perfect description of this book. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91.-- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.