Carl Hiaasen (born March 12, 1953) is an American journalist and novelist.
Born and raised in Plantation, Florida, (near Fort Lauderdale) of Norwegian heritage, Hiaasen was the first of four children and the son of a lawyer, Kermit Odel, and teacher, Patricia. He married Connie Lyford just after high-school graduation and entered Emory University in 1970, where he contributed numerous satiric pieces to the school newspaper, The Emory Wheel. In 1972 he transferred to the University of Florida, graduating in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Carl and Connie divorced in 1996, and he married Fenia Clizer in 1999. He has one son from his first marriage and another from his second.
After two years as a reporter for Cocoa Today out of Cocoa, Florida, he joined the Miami Herald in 1976, where he currently works. In 1979 he turned to investigative journalism, concentrating on construction and property development, exposing schemes to destroy Florida's natural beauty for the sake of profit; several of his novels have plots based around such schemes. Since 1985 he has written a regular column for the Herald, which currently appears weekly.
"The idea of using suspense or a suspense novel as a framework for satire is just useful to me and it's natural to me from doing newspaper work. From writing about crime it's perfectly natural because that's what much of what we do is. Especially in South Florida whether it's violent crime or good old fashioned corruption, a lot of what we write about is right or wrongdoing."
In the 1980s he embarked on a career as a novelist. He co-wrote three thrillers with fellow-journalist Bill Montalbano: Powder Burn (1981), Trap Line (1981), and A Death in China (1986). After Montalbano became a foreign correspondent, Hiaasen wrote his first solo novel, Tourist Season (1986), introducing many of his distinctive styles and themes.
Hiaasen's fiction mirrors his concerns as a journalist and Floridian. His novels have been classified as "environmental thrillers" and are usually found on the mystery shelves in bookshops, although they can just as well be read as mainstream reflections of contemporary life. His books have been published in 33 different languages.¹
*** with Bill Montalbano
Carl Hiaasen has also published five works of nonfiction:
These are the bestselling books he has written for young readers: