Re: RARA-AVIS: Hiaassen and McGee

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 03 Apr 2001

I must admit I just don't find McGee that eccentric, more bohemian, kinda self-consciously bohemian at that, which seems to be the American way. And I don't see that as a problem, but a good thing. He makes enough money to take his retirement in installments, every American's dream.

As for the preachiness, I've got to agree with Juri here, there is a difference between the politics of McGee and Dan Fortune (or Lynds' Mark Sadler books, for that matter, though they have the capitalist indictment within the plot more than through lectures). As the series went on (one of the few series I thought stayed as good, sometimes even got better over time), Dan Fortune got more and more openly compassionately Marxist (caring about what capitalism was doing to real people) in his critique of corporate US. McGee is a conservative in the literal sense, yearning for an earlier, better time (whether or not it ever actually existed, hence the nostalgia) before strip malls took over Florida.

Hiassen takes that to an extreme. I enjoyed several Hiassens (up to Striptease, which I found mostly stilted), found several hilarious. I don't find his characters eccentric, either, but pure comic constructs. And for the most part his "Florida is going to hell" moral is worked into the text, is the basis of the plot.

Of course, so much of the hardboiled Florida critique seems to be of the
"I'm aboard, pull up the ladder" nature -- "Florida started being overrun the day after I got there."


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