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Skink - No Surrender    by Carl Hiaasen order for
Skink - No Surrender
by Carl Hiaasen
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Richard is worried about his cousin Malley. Getting into trouble is Malley's specialty but this time she's in real danger. She's run off with someone she met on the Internet. Her parents think she's in New Hampshire at her new boarding school so it takes a while before Richard convinces them otherwise and they call the police. But even with an Amber Alert, they police are getting nowhere.

Clinton Tyree is a recent acquaintance of Richard's. Wikipedia lists Clinton Tyree, a former Florida Governor, as deceased, but Richard knows he's not. He now calls himself Skink and he wanders Florida taking revenge on the scumbags destroying the state.

Richard meets Skink on the beach one night where he's buried himself under the sand disguised as a turtle nest while waiting on a turtle egg thief named Dodge Olney. Olney digs up endangered loggerhead turtle eggs and sells them on the black market. Olney has been arrested three times, but prison time didn't seem to rehabilitate him, so Skink decides to use his own brand of persuasion.

After extracting his revenge on Olney, Skink decides to help Richard find Malley and the two set out on a journey across Florida using clues Malley manages to drop into her cell phone conversations with Richard. Along the way they encounter hungry alligators, wild pigs, venomous snakes and stormy weather. Richard learns to eat roadkill, how to turn the tables on highway litterbugs and drive a car, although he's not old enough for a driver's license.

Clinton Tyree is a reccurring character in Hiaasen's books, including his adult novels. He always brings hilarity to any adventure. Richard is a resilient sidekick, determined to rescue his cousin. Hiaasen fans are always grateful for the underlying theme of respect for the environment. This wacky page-turner is one you'll want to read more than once.

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