Carl Hiaasen [pronounced hiya-sun] (born March 12, 1953) is an American journalist and novelist.
Born and raised in Plantation, Florida (near Fort Lauderdale), Carl was the first of four chldren and the son of a lawyer, Odel. He married Connie Lyford just after high-school graduation and entered Emory University in 1970. In 1972 he transferred to the University of Florida, graduating in 1974 with a degree in journalism.
After two years as a reporter for Cocoa Today out of Cocoa, Florida, he joined the Miami Herald in 1976, where he still (as of 2004) works. From 1979 he turned to investigative journalism, concentrating on construction and property development - exposing schemes to destroy, for profit's sake, Florida's natural beauty. From 1985 he has had a column in the Herald, intially thrice-weekly it now appears once a week.
Eventually, 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),
A Death In China (1986)). After Montalbano became a foreign correspondent, Hiaasen wrote his first book,
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 crime shelves in bookshops, although they can just as well be read as mainstream satires of contemporary life.
Hiaasen's Florida is that of greedy businessmen, corrupt politicians, dumb blondes, apathetic retirees, intellectually challenged tourists, and militant ecoteurs. It is the same Florida of John D. MacDonald and Travis McGee, but aged another 20 years and viewed with a more satiric or sardonic eye.
Hiaasen divorced Connie in 1996 and remarried in 1999 to Fenia Clizer, a restaurant manager, he has one son from his first marriage and another from his second. He lives in the Florida Keys