Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen

6 08 2008

I just finished Basket Case and I have to tell you, it knocked my socks off.

Yeah, it’s about an investigative reporter whose role is diminished at a newspaper to writing the obituaries after he calls the new corporate owners a few choice names. It’s your basic murder mystery but the reason why the book was so good is that Carl Hiaasen has written a sardonic and real critique of the dead tree news business.

And it doesn’t just bark, it bites.

In the novel, the lead character, Jack Tagger, talks about how his fictional paper has reduced staffs, added the always dreaded special advertising sections and basically, IMHO, how journalists/editors are asked to basically not do news.

Hiaasen has worked for decades at the Miami Herald. The tiers and hierarchy of the news staff in the novel are real. Anyone in the news business will recognize everything from the excitement of an intern to the cluelessness of non-journalists managing a newspaper. They will also recognize Jack Tagger, a 46-year-old journalist who is clouded by apathy and mourns the changes in his profession before he reinvents himself.

And there is a Warren Zevon connection for you rabid fans out there.

Yeah, I’m gushing.




2 responses

6 08 2008

But is there an Edna Buchannan reference?

7 08 2008
Katherine Coble

Ah, Seminole Bingo…

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