South Beach, Miami, Fla.
Book: “Star Island” by Carl Hiaasen (2010)
Perfect page-turning locale: South Beach, Miami, Fla.
Publisher’s description: “Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen — and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed” — meaning wasted — to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott. Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über-stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public — and from Cherry herself. The situation is more complicated than they know. Ann has had a bewitching encounter with Skink — the unhinged former governor of Florida living wild in a mangrove swamp — and now he’s heading for Miami to find her …”
Afterword: “Environmental mystery” writer Carl Hiaasen sure does love his South Florida settings, and “Star Island,” his most recent deliciously twisted slice of crime noir, is no different. A swampy, satirical take on celebrity culture, the book will surely feel right at home with a stash of beach-ready trash tabloids.