I have finished the 151st book for the book challenge. It was Skinny Dip by Carl Hiasson.
Joey Wheeler Perrone had a terrible last night of her anniversary cruise. Her husband Chaz threw her over the railing of the ship and into the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily, she was a championship swimmer in college and managed to dive into the water and then swum toward the lights of Miami. When she could swim no further, she washed up on some bundles of marijuana and clung to them. There she was rescued by recluse private investigator Mick Stranahan who lives on an island by himself and his doberman dog Strom.
Mick takes Joey to the island and nurses her back to health as she comes to terms with what has happened to her. Her husband has tried to kill her. She decides she wants revenge. Mick tried to talk her into going to the police but Joey tells him that it will be Chaz’s word against hers and he is a smooth talker and the police and courts would believe him. He testifies as a scientist for a living and she knows he is good. No, she wants revenge. Joey and Mick hatch a plot for revenge.
Meanwhile, Chaz is acting the grieving husband, sort of. Karl Rolvaag is the police investigator assigned to his case and try as he might, he just doesn’t believe Chaz as the grieving husband. Chaz immediately goes home and cleans out all of Joey’s things. He wipes the house clean of everything of Joey’s. He has boxed all her clothes and packed them in the garage. Except for her underwear. He has decided to give them to his girlfriend Ricca.
Joey and Mick sneak back to the house and Joey takes a black dress from the boxed clothes and hangs it back in the closet. She leaves a lipstick on the bathroom counter. She takes the underwear. She cuts her face out of a picture and leaves the mutilated photo on Chaz’z pillow. When Chaz finds these, he is flipped out. He thinks the detective is stalking him. He goes to his employer for whom he has been fudging the data on pollution water samples, Sam Hammernut, and asks him for help. Hammernut gives Chaz a “bodyguard” in the form of Tool, a large, hairy man who collects cross markers from those who died in roadway accidents.
Tool is addicted to painkiller patches and breaks into a nursing home to secure more. There he meets Maureen, an elderly patient who befriends him and gives him her patches. She talks to him and makes him a better person. Tool has a bullet lodged in his butt that is painful and she urges him to get it removed but he doesn’t. That is what is causing him pain. They watch television together and talk.
Joey and Mick decide to ask Chaz for blackmail. They make a fake tape showing Joey going over the side of the Sun Duchess. They send a copy of the tape to Chaz and to Hammernut. They ask for a half million dollars. They figure they will give the money to charity. They also fake a will that gives Chaz Joey’s money. That will make the police look carefully at Chaz as the murdered. And it does. Rolvaag does look more cautiously at Chaz once he has the will as motive but he thinks it is forged. Rolvaag is in touch with Joey’s brother Corbett in New Zealand, who knows Joey is alive but doesn’t tell Rolvaag. Corbett is coming to Miami to hold a memorial for his sister.
Meanwhile, Mick has found Ricca, Chaz’s girlfriend. He has told her and convinced her that Chaz murdered his wife. Ricca tells Chaz that she knows he murdered his wife and she doesn’t want to see him anymore. He takes her to the Everglades and shoots her in the leg. She escapes and is helped back to civilization by a recluse in the Everglades.
Corbett organizes a memorial for Joey in Miami. He speaks and her best friend Rose, who also knows Joey isn’t dead, also speaks. Then Chaz speaks. As he is speaking, he sees the blackmailer sitting in the chapel and it freaks him out. Then he sees Ricca coming into the chapel wearing a cast on her leg. He had cleaned out her apartment and got rid of her car, thinking she was dead. He goes to her and tries to smooth things over with her. She’s not having any of it. She goes to Rolvaag.
Chaz arranges to meet the best friend of Joey that night. He takes Viagra and goes to her house. She slips him a drug in his wine and it knocks him out. She puts him in bed and Joey comes in and tells him she is alive and asks him why he tried to murder her and why he even married her. These are questions she wants answered. He mutters answers and they leave him naked outside.
The blackmail setup is arranged for Stiltsville. Mick and Joey take their boat and Chaz and Tool take a boat. Chaz is worried that Tool will kill him because Hammernut doesn’t want him around so he takes his gun too. In the confusion and storm that follows, Chaz shoots Tool and Joey shoots the boat that Chaz is in. Chaz gets away with the money. Joey and Mick rescue Tool and bring him to shore. Tool and Hammernut go to Chaz’s house to find him and capture him and the money. They wrap him up in plastic and take him to the Everglades.
Mick and Joey go to Rolvaag and say that Joey has had amnesia and just remembered who she is. She has been staying with Mick on his island and is all right. But now Chaz has disappeared.
Chaz is let loose in the Everglades. Tool shoots at him but misses. Chaz runs for his life but comes upon a recluse. The recluse remembers Ricca who told him about her scientist boyfriend Chaz who killed his wife. Chaz will not be leaving the Everglades.
Tool kills Hammernut by shoving a wooden cross marker through his heart. He takes the half million dollars and gets Maureen out of the nursing home and they drive off to follow the birds to Canada.
This was a rollicking good fun book. I couldn’t even begin to tell you all the fun parts of it. It was a laugh a minute. Read this book. It will keep you in stitches.