Farcical Crime Author Carl Hiaasen Returns; Pylon Members Discuss New Release

Oct 1, 2016

A con artist who plows into cars for pay while shaving her “bikini area.”

The star of Louisiana-based reality TV show “Bayou Brethren” who is actually an accordion player from Wisconsin.

A crooked businessman who steals sand from one beach to replace erosion on another.

A demoted cop who’s now forced to police restaurant kitchens and deal with problems like a Giant Gambian pouched rat.

Yes, these weird doings will tell alert listeners that we’re back in Carl Hiaasen territory. Carl’s been writing hilarious crime novels that spoof the oddball characters and the most bizarre aspects of South Florida culture since the mid-1980s. We visited with him almost two years ago when he was on an author tour promoting his book “Bad Monkey.” The conversation was so much fun that Carl became one of our all-time favorite guests.

Carl is back to talk about his new book “Razor Girl,” which includes the characters mentioned above and many more. Critics are calling “Razor Girl” one of his best. Here’s what the New York Times said about the book:

“The farce machinery of Hiaasen’s fiction is, as always, fearsomely elaborate, and a good part of the pleasure of “Razor Girl” is in the casual, no-sweat way he sets it all up. Once it’s in motion, things happen fast, new people (and animals) keep turning up to play their parts in the comedy, and the whole complicated apparatus gives off a soothing hum, like a smooth-running motor on a fishing boat. You’d think the engine would overheat, but somehow it never does; it doesn’t even sputter. The secret is Hiaasen’s premium, high-grade comic prose, which keeps everything at the right temperature. In Florida, you have to know how to stay cool.”

We talk to Carl about the book, about some of the serious problems confronting his native state of Florida – rising seas and overdevelopment among them – and to Carl’s dismay, we talk to him about the pivotal role Florida is playing once again in this year’s presidential election.

As promised, here’s the news story from Key’s News about the real life woman who inspired Carl’s title character.

Later in the show, Senior Producer Jenny Ament interviews the surviving members of the seminal Athens band Pylon. In the early '80s, along with R.E.M. and the B-52s, Pylon established Athens, Georgia as a beacon for the emerging indie rock/post-punk sound that continues to inspire listeners around the world today. Pylon members Michael Lachowski, Curtis Crowe, and Vanessa Briscoe Hay reflect on their time as a touring band and the recent release of "Pylon Live." The new record documents a 1983 performance that marked the first time the band broke up. "Pylon Live" was released on what would have been guitarist Randy Bewley's 61st birthday. Bewley passed away in 2009.