I don’t know what to make of this novel, and maybe it’s a case of well, they don’t make them like this anymore. It’s an oddly rich and literary-adjacent mystery novel, it’s also fast and loose with racist and homophobic slurs (some that serve the narrative, and some that don’t — it’s one thing to have a character who would casually toss out slurs as part of their nature, but there’s also a sign of the times casualness with some of the language that makes it rough going).
The plot here is that we have a right-wing terrorist group that is looking for a cause. It’s kind of a post-Castro Cuban group (similar in ways to the fascist terrorism group in The Day of the Jackyl), and it’s also an anti-capitalist, pro-environmental group, but not really as what they really want to do is save Florida from becoming a vacation hellhole, and it’s kind late 70s Black separatist group, but again, not really.
Our detective is a former journalist who is hired in part because his ex-wife is married (maybe there’s no marriage involved, I forget) to the de facto leader of the group, another writer clearly shaped off a vague memory of Hunter S Thompson. There’s a former pro football star, and there some Cuban dissidents. The whole thing is a swamp-filled, vacation home, tourist trap kind of romp. The group is killing tourists, fighting against the rampant development of the Keys, and plenty of other things.
Like I said, it’s oddly literary-adjacent and a rich novel over all, and is a lot of fun at times, when I wasn’t wincing from the 30 odd years of social progress the novel has not gone through. It’s like Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice-lite-lite-lite, mixed with either Sunshine State by John Sayles, maybe a little Karen Russell and Kristen Arnett, and then a dose of Elmore Leonard.