Star Island book cover

Star Island

Star Island is a 2010 novel by Carl Hiaasen, released on Tuesday, July 27, 2010. The novel takes its name from Star Island in Miami Beach, Florida, where part of the story takes place. Ann DeLusia, the "stunt double" for habitually intoxicated and drug-addicted pop star "Cherry Pye", is mistakenly kidnapped by an obsessed paparazzo. Now, the star's entourage must find a way to rescue Ann, and do it without revealing her identity to the star herself, or the world at large. The novel also features the re-appearance of Hiaasen's recurring character, ex-Florida governor Clinton "Skink" Tyree.

Genre: Novel

Paparazzo "Bang" Abbott is lying in wait outside a posh South Beach hotel, on a tip that pop star Cherry Pye has overdosed again. However, when the paramedics bring a woman down to the ambulance, he sees that she is a body double. Meanwhile, the real Cherry is being driven to the nearest hospital in a private limousine by her entourage. The body double is Ann DeLusia, an actress hired by Cherry's family to make brief public appearances when Cherry is too inebriated to do so. Cherry's mother/manager, Janet Bunterman, tells Ann to take a few days off, while Cherry is packed off, yet again, to drug rehab. Infuriated at having been fooled by a body double, Bang becomes even more obsessed with getting photos of Cherry under sordid circumstances. In Los Angeles, Cherry jumps over the wall of the rehab center and hitches a ride to the airport from a nearby motorist, who happens to be Bang staking out the clinic. Pleased by his transparent flattery, Cherry takes him along when she charters a private jet to Florida. Aboard the plane, Bang is astonished when she decides to have an onboard quickie with him. His astonishment turns to outrage when she drives away in a limousine and strands him at the airport, taking his camera bag and BlackBerry with her. Meanwhile, Ann spends her few days off touring the Florida Keys, but while driving through Key Largo, she swerves to avoid a man scooping a roadkill off the highway and drives off a bridge. When she wakes up, the man, "Skink" has rescued her. With apologies, Skink brings Ann along on a brief mission to kidnap and intimidate real estate developer Jackie Sebago. Afterwards, Skink has a friend give her a ride to the nearest hospital, and gives her the number for his seldom-used cell phone, to call in case she ever needs help. Over Janet's protests, Cherry's record promoter, Maury Lykes, assigns a man nicknamed "Chemo" to replace her recently fired bodyguard. As revenge for her theft of his cameras and smartphone, Bang kidnaps Cherry outside her hotel at gunpoint, only to realize that the woman he has snatched is Ann. He demands, in exchange for Ann's safe return, that Cherry be made available to him for a private photo shoot. Ann is furious to hear that the Buntermans have not even reported her missing. She hurriedly uses her cell phone to contact Skink. When the Buntermans refuse to agree to Bang's demand, he dresses Ann up in costume and shoots pictures of her with a discarded syringe, making it look as if "Cherry" is a drug addict. His threat to release the pictures is taken much more seriously than his threat against Ann's life. In fact, since Cherry's career is dangerously close to ending already, her father Ned suggests using the kidnapping as a publicity stunt to boost interest in her upcoming concert tour and comeback album. The photo shoot and hostage exchange takes place on Star Island, in the rented home of Cherry's actor boyfriend. Cherry is duped into thinking that she is posing for the cover of Vanity Fair, while Ann confronts her employers over their indifference to her safety. At that moment, Skink tracks her down, and Ann prefers to leave with him rather than the Buntermans. After the photo shoot, Chemo confiscates the digital memory cards from Bang's cameras. Maury had ordered him to kill Bang, but Bang convinces him that once Cherry is dead, they can make a fortune publishing them. Chemo decides to let Bang live and hangs onto the photos. Meanwhile, the Buntermans meet with Ann and Skink and offer her $50,000 in hush money. Ann declines, settling instead for plane fare back to California and the price of a Zegna suit she bought for Skink. She also informs them that she's quitting her role as Cherry's double, and warns them never to contact her again. Maury flirts with the idea of paying Chemo to kill her, but Chemo refuses and warns Maury not to send anyone else after her (after less than a week spent with Cherry and her parents, Chemo is now firmly on Ann's side). The Buntermans admit to Cherry that the photo shoot was a ruse, but she is pleased to hear that she will be the star of a media blitz surrounding her fake kidnapping. Cherry is upset to be told that, to sell the story, she will need to be secluded for a few days, ostensibly "recovering" from her ordeal. With Skink's assistance, Ann makes a conspicuous appearance at a nightclub using Cherry's name. A short time later, Cherry escapes from her parents' guard at the hotel and goes to the club with her boyfriend. There, Ann tells Cherry the truth about her role as Cherry's "stunt double". Cherry launches herself at Ann in an inebriated rage before Chemo carries her out. As he is doing so, Cherry vomits, inadvertently ruining the memory cards in his pocket containing the photos. Cherry's "meltdown" is captured by the paparazzi outside the club, instantly sabotaging her entourage's plan to sell the kidnapping story. Ann and Skink slip away in the chaos. Bang, however, does not get a photo of Cherry. Like the other paparazzi, he is lying in wait outside the club, but he is shot through the buttocks by a thug hired by one of his disgruntled tipsters. The tipster sent the information to Bang's BlackBerry while Cherry had possession of it, and Bang was unaware that the man was expecting his usual fee. In a touch of poetic justice, Bang finds himself on the receiving end of his profession's notorious indifference to pain and suffering: as he lies in agony on the sidewalk, none of his fellow "shooters" are inclined to give him aid, but just keep snapping pictures of him as he is lifted into an ambulance.
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Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is an American journalist and novelist. He began his career as a newspaper reporter and by the late 1970s had begun writing novels in his spare time, both for adults and for young-adult readers. The two of his novels had been made into feature films. more…

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