Dave Barry starts the madness in Naked Came the Manatee, introducing a 102-year-old environmentalist named Coconut Grove and a manatee saddled with one of Barry's favorite monikers, Booger. Carl Hiaasen closes down the party, and in between, 11 of Florida's literati, including Elmore Leonard, John Dufresne, and Edna Buchanan, make twisted offerings to the affair: three severed heads, all bearing a remarkable resemblance to Fidel Castro; four murders; some sex; some espionage; even an appearance by Jimmy Carter and one by Castro himself.
Originally published as a serial novel in the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine, Naked Came the Manatee resembles a literary game of telephone, with each writer contributing a chapter and passing it on to the next, who then makes the most of what he or she is given. The result is a novel with wildly fluctuating styles and more crazy plot curves than a daytime drama, but thanks to these 13 masters of the craft this roller coaster of a book is almost as much fun to read as it obviously was to write.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Kind of a Mess, June 17, 2003 Reviewer: sara_cc from WA, USA "Naked Came the Manatee" is a group collaboration by 13 Florida authors (originally serialized in 'The Miami Herald Tropic'), where one writer produces a chapter, then passes it on to the next writer so s/he can do the same. Dave Barry starts it off with the first chapter (comically entitled "Booger"), then Les Standiford takes on the next one, followed by the 11 other mystery writers: Paul Levine, Edna Buchanan, James W. Hall, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson, Tananarive Due, Brian Antoni, Vicki Hendricks, John Dufresne, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen. Basically, "Naked Came the Manatee" is about a decapitated head--Fidel Castro's, to be exact--that's found in a metal canister floating in the water. From there, about half a dozen main characters (though only two stick out in my mind a day later: a 102-year-old woman and a manatee named Booger) are either trying to solve the mystery or just trying to stay alive--or both. I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book when I bought it, even though a librarian recommended it to me. The idea of collaborative writing didn't seem like a good idea, especially with so many writers battling for the helm of the story. I noticed a few authors even backtracked to cover up other author's plot holes or mistakes, even added a few unnecessary characters. The result is kind of a mess. It doesn't have very smooth chapter transitions, and felt more like a collage rather than a work of art. The Florida setting was descriptive, yet at the same time very unflattering (didn't make me want to visit, especially after reading Brian Antoni's chapter). The one good thing about "Naked Came the Manatee," though, is that it's short (approximately 200 pages), which makes for light reading. Still, this isn't one I'd necessarily recommend, unless you're a fan of one or more of the authors mentioned above. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.