Carl Hiaasen’s Squeeze Me is set among the landed gentry of Palm Beach. A prominent high-society matron–who happens to be a fierce supporter of the President and founding member of the POTUSSIES–has gone missing at a swank gala. When the wealthy dowager, Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons, is later found dead in a concrete grave, panic and chaos erupt. The President immediately declares that Kiki Pew was the victim of rampaging immigrant hordes. This, as it turns out, is far from the truth. Meanwhile a bizarre discovery in the middle of the road brings the First Lady’s motorcade to a grinding halt (followed by some grinding between the First Lady and a lovestruck Secret Service agent). Enter Angie Armstrong, wildlife wrangler extraordinaire, who arrives at her own conclusions after she is summoned to the posh island to deal with a mysterious and impolite influx of huge, hungry pythons . . .
Completely of the moment, full of vim and vigor, and as irreverent as can be, Squeeze Me is pure, unadulterated Hiaasen.
This is one of the weirdest mysteries I have ever read – in a good way! Heavy with not-so-subtle commentary about American politics, I was definitely extremely entertained. A few chuckles even slipped out as I was reading this. Read on to find out why!
Squeeze Me is a murder mystery, yes, but also has many elements of comedy. Although it is not meant to make you laugh out loud necessarily, the ever pertinent American politics are really woven in a way that is just so unsubtle. We mainly follow the story line of Angie Armstrong, a wildlife wrangler, who ends up entangled in messier and messier situations with an ever growing number of massive, Burmese pythons. It all starts with a missing person’s case, but the way we are led around Florida tracking down the perpetrators allows many things to happen.
Although the main character is the wrangler, we actually do go through the POV of many other characters, to give us a glimpse of what is happening simultaneously. I think if you have a strong understanding of American history and politics, or at least keep up with the current news, you will find this book entertaining. Nothing is said explicitly, but the implications are hidden behind a paper-thin façade. I found this extremely amusing, as I rarely read books that are so brazen with their innuendo.
As for the mystery part, it was fairly entertaining to have everything intertwining. I admit it wasn’t the most complex of plots, but there were some surprising twists and the whodunnit-loving part of me was still satisfied. The relationships and interactions were believable, and besides the exaggerated (was it?) American commentary, the novel painted a very real image of what American communities can be like.
This novel really has it all: the mystery, the suspense, the twists, the romance…the list goes on. While it may not be the story that everyone needs to read, I definitely recommend it to anyone who is up to date with American news, and who like a lighter hearted mystery novel. It is also set in modern day, in our ever-present pandemic setting, which adds a subtle element of realism to the mystery.
Squeeze Me is a mystery novel set in Palm Beach, Florida, which begins with a mysterious missing persons case of a wealthy old lady and a giant python. And then many more pythons. Filled with commentary and implications about American society and politics, this is almost satirical in nature, although serious issues are also addressed. If you are familiar with American news (at all) and also a fan of a mystery, this may be the book for you. If any of this sounded intriguing to you, I can definitely recommend it – an entertaining read for sure.