A lot of your enjoyment of Carl Hiaasen’s latest novel Squeeze Me is going to come down to how you feel about the person currently occupying the Oval Office.
If you love him, you’re not going to find much here. If you dislike him, you’ll probably find a great deal to like here.
While never explicitly named, the President and First Lady both serve as major characters in the story. Referred to by their Secret Service handles of Mastodon and Mockingbird, they play a pivotal role in escalating the peculiar world that is Hiaasen’s Florida. In this case, when a rich donor is consumed by a python, things quickly spiral out of control with Mastodon is drawn into the political fray involving double-crossing, dim-witted criminals, an illegal alien who is a convenient rallying cry, and the typical Hiaasen heroine who is smarter and more able than half the men in the novel.
And while Squeeze Me starts out as an amusing enough book and is packed with the usual witty observations by Hiaasen, it begins to wear out its welcome by the mid-point of the novel. I get that having the guy in the Oval Office must be a boon for a humorist like Hiaasen, but there are points in which the novel just feels like it’s piling on the jokes and they start falling a bit flat. Indeed, the second half of the novel loses the central driving narrative at multiple points, making me wonder if this might have been better served as a novella or short story.
It may not help that this one comes down to feeling like a greatest hits album. Hiaasen is funny and certainly in our current world, anything that pokes fun at where we are is appreciated. But it feels like Hiaasen put himself and this novel on cruise control.