Richard’s first sign that something is amiss in the turtle’s nest is the sound of wet, whistling breathing coming from within. As he pushes aside the protective straw, an old man wearing a shower cap bursts out, gagging and rolling his weird eyes in opposite directions. Richard, meet Skink, aka Clint Tyree, former governor of Florida. In the years since his presumed death, Skink lives way off the grid, waging ecological warfare against those who drain swamps to build theme parks, dump refuse in wildlife preserves, and steal turtle eggs from nests.
When Skink calmly announces that he is off to find Richard’s missing cousin, Malley, Richard hops in the car and heads off on the adventure of his life. Skink is as hilarious as he is impassioned, enthusiastically cooking up roadkill and wreaking havoc on litterbugs. As he and Richard catch up with feisty Malley and her low-life kidnapper, Richard begins to understand why Skink is the greatest hero that Florida will never know.
Skink—No Surrender is geared toward a slightly older audience than Hiaasen’s earlier YA books, while reintroducing characters that romp throughout his bawdier adult novels. Budding environmentalists and Hiaasen fans will find much to enjoy.
Diane Colson works at the Nashville Public Library. She has long been active in the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Association (YALSA), serving on selection committees such as the Morris Award, the Alex Award and the Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award.