All Carl Hiaasen Books In Order: What Do You Read First?

If you want to mix environmentalism, wildlife, the environment of Florida, and some murder as well, you will want to give the books by Carl Hiaasen a read! And there are a lot of them to look at, which is what this article is all about! Here’s an overview of all of his books and when you should read them!

All Carl Hiaasen Books In Order: What Do You Read First?

Carl Hiaasen lives in Florida, and as a Florida native his books not only touch on what life is like in Florida, but they also speak about common problems that Florida is facing, most of them focused on environmental issues and the increased levels of development in Florida that is impacting the local wildlife. 

For his adult books, themes of greed, capitalism, and shortsightedness are prevalent, while in his children’s books, those themes are also there… along with the themes of growing up and fighting for what you believe in.

Most of his books are designed to be humorous crime thrillers, where the bad guys are bumbling and yet there is a real and present danger to the heroes of the story.

Carl Hiaasen started writing when he studied journalism at the University of Florida, and eventually found his way to the Miami Herald after graduation where he was quickly promoted to the investigations team of the paper. In 1985 he was given his own opinion column and got a following due to his witty political commentary. 

But the call of fiction was too strong for him and fellow journalist William D. Montalbano, and the two began writing novels together in their spare time, publishing the Black Lizard Series. In 1986, he published his first solo novel and his writing career took off into the list that we are going to read right now!

The Black Lizard Books- with William D. Montalbano (1981-1984)

Powder Burn

These three books read more like traditional crime thrillers and lack some of the humor that his later works became known for, and each book tells a separate story. In Powder Burn, a hero named Chris Meadows watches two of his friends get gunned down by drug lords, and is forced to become a decoy for the police. In Trap Line, a boat captain named Breeze Albury is forced to run drugs for a cartel on his boat, dealing with the dangers of drug smuggling on the way, and in A Death In China, a reunion between two old friends is cut short by murder, and while hero Tom Stratton tries to solve it, he must also escape the web of a brutal conspiracy as well.

These books aren’t as familiar as what Carl Hiaasen’s books would later become, but if you want to see where he got his start, the Black Lizard Books will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Tourist Season (1986)

Tourist Season: A Suspense Thriller

Tourist Season was the first book Hiaasen published on his own, and it starts the theme of environmentalism that permeates all his books. An eco-terrorist cell decides to protect Florida’s natural beauty by killing off tourists who are coming to the state, eventually attempting to capture Florida’s Orange Bowl Queen. Private investigator Brian Keyes is forced to team up with old friends to stop this conspiracy when he is hired to investigate several missing tourists, and learns just how dangerous the eco-terrorists can be.

Tourist Season is the first of many books inspired by Hiaasen’s work on the Herald and his life in Florida, and it is a read that will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Double Whammy (1987)

Double Whammy (Skink Series)

Double Whammy introduces the character of Skink AKA Clinton Tyree, who later becomes a character in several other novels. Private Investigator R.J Decker heads to Florida to investigate a member of the Bass fishing community, trying to find a cheat in the tournament circuit, only to be drawn into a web of pollution, lies, and murder as the tournament takes on a much bigger role than anyone could have thought.

Double Whammy is a book that will give you what is in the title. The first blow will be all about what happened in the book, while the second might be because you now have a much bigger interest in bass fishing!

Skin Tight (1989)

Skin Tight (Skink Series)

Skin Tight has detective Mick Stranahan investigating the corrupt doings of Dr. Rudy Graveline M.D, who has all the trappings of being a famous plastic surgeon without any of the training, and has built his business on lies and death. As Mick investigates, his ex-wife gets caught in the crossfire and several different groups decide that they want a piece of the failing surgeon’s empire before it goes down.

Skin Tight might make you a bit nervous if you dislike being in the surgeon’s chair, but otherwise, you will enjoy this thriller and its many characters until the end.

Native Tongue (1991)

Native Tongue

Whenever former investigative reporter Joe Winder finds himself working at the theme park ‘The Amusing Kingdom of Thrills’ his investigative instincts rise to the challenge when two endangered voles are kidnapped, and an environmentalist group seeks to prevent the park’s founder from constructing a vacation spot near a federal wildlife preserve. In addition to the shady past of the man who built the park, which brings its own problems for everyone involved.

Native Tongue is a very interesting book that will keep you guessing until the very end, and it is well worth a read!

Strip Tease (1993)

Strip Tease

Along with the powers of the sugar plantation owners and the threat of a growing election, this story is more personal as it has single mother Erin Grant fighting for custody of her daughter, having taken up erotic dancing to raise enough money to do so, despite having worked at the FBI.

As A U.S. congressman encounters Erin during a fight at the club, he becomes possessive of her and has to deal with blackmailers left and right who want to sabotage his election campaign. But when murder enters the picture, Erin and her allies are forced to take on the powers that rule Florida if they want to expose the congressman for who he is. 

Strip Tease was also made into a movie starring Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds as well, so if you love your books to also be movies, then this is the story for you!

Stormy Weather (1995)

Stormy Weather

Dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, multiple groups descend on the ruined coastline with their own agendas. From people seeking to scam their way to riches, to those trying to understand the respect for nature, to people who are just trying to survive until help arrives, this story takes a bunch of characters and throws them altogether amid the chaos of the hurricane’s aftermath.

Stormy Weather is a very wild read that will make you feel like you are in the middle of a hurricane as you try to piece together what is going on.

Lucky You (1997)

Lucky You

Winning the lottery can cause a lot of problems, but none like the trouble JoLayne Lucks and reporter Tom Krome get into when JoLayne ends up being one of the two lottery winners in Florida. With a white supremacist holding the other ticket, and willing to go to extreme lengths, not to split the prize, the pair find themselves discovering the powers of a little luck, and how it might just save a few lives.

Lucky You features two bumbling antagonists, an epic adventure, and a story about the power of money all in one package, and it is well worth a read.

Sick Puppy (2000)

Sick Puppy

This novel features the best kind of love there is, a love between a man and his dog, as an eco-terrorist seeks revenge on a lobbyist for his littering. Only to be drawn into a plan to tear down a toad-inhabited island to build high-rises and the murderous intentions of the political fixers and real estate developers who are determined to see the product succeed.

Sick Puppy is filled with sympathetic heroes, evil villains, plenty of politics, and of course a dog! So if any of that tickles your fancy, then feel free to give this a read!

Basket Case (2002)

Basket Case (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

This book is written in the 1st-person, rather than the 3rd, and sees an obituary writer named Jack Tagger Jr. investigate the death of a rock band star who died under suspicious circumstances. As he follows the case, and more band members die, he figures out that the real motive… and the murderer, might have been closer to the star than anyone else. 

Basket Case might drive you crazy, but if you love music this novel has a special treat. Hiaasen collaborated with singer Warren Zevon to write the song that drives the plot, and Zevon actually performed it on one of his albums! 

Hoot (2002)


With his first foray into fiction, Carl Hiaasen takes young readers into the mind of Roy Eberhardt, who has just moved to Florida and encounters a vandal named Mullet Fingers. Joining him in the vandalization of construction on the Florida cove, the pair discover that endangered burrowing owls are on the site, and soon they are forced into a race against time to prove it.

Despite being fiction, Hoot covers all the themes of Hiaasen’s earlier works, including environmentalism and corruption, while also teaching that standing up to bullies is the best way to handle them. Plus, it was made into a movie as well. 

Skinny Dip (2004)

Skinny Dip (Skink Series)

Bringing back both the characters of Skink as well as Mick Stranahan from Skin Tight, Skinny Dip sees a hedonistic biologist work with a corrupt farmer to forge pollution results so the farmer can continue fertilizing his land. When Joey, the wife of the marine biologist, catches her husband in the act (despite having no idea what he is doing), he plots to murder her, eventually throwing her overboard during their second wedding anniversary cruise.

However, Joey is able to swim to safety and is saved by Mick who both decide to investigate the attempted murder, along with a few other characters who all have their own parts to play in the scam.

Skinny Dip is a funny thriller that shows how some paranoia can go a long way when you are solving a crime, and it will have you reading it until the very end. 

Flush (2005)


His second fiction book, Flush has a very similar premise to Hoot, where the father and son team of Paine and Noah Underwood attempt to catch a casino boat owner in the act of dumping sewage into the lake. It tells the story of family, friendship, and bravery, and it is a very interesting story that is perfect for readers both young and old.

Take a look at Flush, just don’t try and get flushed away by the ending!

Nature Girl (2006)

Nature Girl

What happens whenever telemarketers call your home? Often you let them go to voicemail, but Honey Santana decides to track one down, before attempting to trick him into coming with her to Florida. However, the trip is complicated by a stalker, a young half-Seminole who doesn’t want anyone on his island, and Honey’s young son and ex-husband, who have decided to follow her there.

One of the Ten Thousand Islands of Florida becomes the host for all these characters as they try to deal with their situation, and Nature Girl is a book that might make you be pretty happy that you are inside and not out there!

Scat (2005)


Whenever the feared Biology Teacher named Mrs. Bunny Starch vanishes on a trip to the Florida Everglades, two students named Nick and Marta become intrigued by the Principal’s attempt to cover up the disappearance and attempt to investigate themselves. Only to run into stuffed rats, panthers, an eco-avenger, and a Texas oilman before they can find their teacher and get the bigger picture.

Scat is another children’s book that brings students and adults together in Black Vine Swamp, and it will certainly bond your family too.

Star Island (2010)

Star Island

Many celebs use body doubles for themselves, and in the case of drug and alcohol-addicted Cherry Pye, she needs her double Anna whenever she becomes too inebriated to make her appearances. However, an obsessed paparazzo accidentally kidnaps Anna when seeking Cherry, leading various characters to a small island in Florida as they seek to save her… or use the kidnapping to boost Cherry’s failing career.

Star Island will have you seeing stars as you read through the story, all the way to the end.

Chomp (2012)


Continuing with his theme of using one-word titles for his fiction books, Chomp sees Wahoo Cray and Mickey Cray (who wrangles animals for a living) hired to help a reality TV series… Although once Mickey gets injured before, he decides to take on the job himself. Also wrangling with his father when he crosses paths with the show’s shallow star, who has no interest in learning about nature.

As the group treks through the Everglades on a shoot, a series of disasters befall them, culminating in the disappearance of the show’s star. While trying to save the star and dealing with the abusive father of one of Wahoo’s friends, everyone learns that survival in the Everglades isn’t as easy as the shows make it look.

Chomp is a fun read that is all about family, love, and respect for nature, and it is a story that will have your family chomping for more!

Bad Monkey (2013)

Bad Monkey

When a severed arm from the Florida Keys ends up in the lap of former detective Andrew Yancy, he quickly discovers who it belongs to, and how the victim had more than a few strings attached when it came to his life and the family he left behind. As he investigates Andrew finds plenty of reasons for murder, as well as more bodies as he gets closer to the real killer.

Bad Monkey has everything you have come to expect from a Hiaasen book, including a monkey! What’s not to love?!

Skink- No Surrender (2014) 

Skink--No Surrender

Skink has been a mainstay in most of Carl Hiaasen’s books as a sidekick or a mentor to the various heroes around Florida. But in Skink No Surrender he gets a book of his own to shine, teaming up with Richard Sloan to try and solve the disappearance of Richard’s best friend Malley. 

Skink- No Surrender is an interesting story that allows for Skink to be the hero of the tale, and we get to learn a little more about him too as he guides more heroes through Florida.

Razor Girl (2016)

Razor Girl

Merry Mansfield is a con artist for the mob, who rear-ends the cars of her targets, then tricks them by taking her pants off and grooming her pubic region with a disposable razor. Once they allow her inside their car, she guides them to their own abductions. However, this time she captures the wrong target, and Andrew Yancy (from Bad Monkey) is on the case to hunt for reality TV star Buck Nancy.

However, Buck has been kidnapped by a mad fan, and soon the egos of reality TV stars start to get in the way of solving both a kidnapping and a murder. 

Razor Girl pushes Andrew Yancy to his limits as he tries to solve the case, and you’ll find yourself pushed to the limit as you keep on reading the book!

Squirm (2018)


This last children’s book sees Billy Dickens living with his family in Florida, while trying to discover the identity of his father Dennis, who always sends a check every month. After discovering the return address on the envelope, Billy travels to Montana to see his father, meeting his step-family along the way and discovering his father’s job as part of the government, preventing poachers from killing endangered species. 

However, when a poacher who was thwarted by Dennis one too many times decides to take revenge, Billy and both his families need to work together to survive. Squirm is a book that will have you squirming as you read through it, and maybe learn a bit more about family love along the way.

Squeeze Me (2020)

Squeeze Me: A novel

With a story set around a U.S. presidential election, Squeeze Me deals with an elderly woman’s passing, and this woman was part of an extremely wealthy social club devoted to the U.S. president. Additionally, a python infestation begins to affect Florida, and soon the two events are connected by wildlife control expert Angie Armstrong. But with an election coming up, and various groups attempting to cover up or use the murder for their own purposes, Angie and her allies are put in hot water as they try to get to the truth.

Squeeze Me is admittedly more political due to being released at the time of the 2020 election, and it even has a revised ending that was released once the election was over. So if you aren’t a big fan of political work, then this might not be the book for you, but it does still come with Hiaasen’s trademark charm and humor.

Final Thoughts

Carl Hiaasen has a lot of common themes in his books, and if you like Florida, the Florida wildlife, and mystery and murder, then this is a series of books that you need to read. Plus, with his books for both children and adults, everyone can get involved! 

Frequently Asked Questions

In What Order Should You Read Carl Hiaasen Books?

With recurring characters, plot twists, references, and the fan-favorite character Skink making multiple appearances across all the books, there is an order to some of these books that you need to follow. It’s best to read his adult-oriented books in publication order. For the children’s books, you don’t need to read them in any particular order.

Is Skink Based On A Real Person?

An Ex-Florida Governor who suddenly abandons his office to live in the wilderness after being unable to dismantle the corruption around Florida’s special interest groups. He certainly sounds like a cool character, but someone isn’t based on him. Although he did appear in a song by Jimmy Buffet called “The Ballad of Skip Wiley.”

Who Are The Other Recurring Characters In Carl Hiaasen’s Books?

Some of the other recurring characters include the thug Chemo, Detective Al Garcia, Mick Stranahan, and Andrew Yancy.

What Grade Levels Are The Fiction Books For?

The 5 fiction books that Carl Hiaasen has written are for kids from 5th grade to 12th grade

Is Skink No Surrender For Kids?

With Skink being a recurring character in the adult books that Carl Hiaasen has written, thankfully he had a good transition to young adult writing. Skink No Surrender does have violence, but most of it is very cartoonish.

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Brady James Bourassa