You know all about Santa

You know all about Santa

Sorry to say, but know all about Santa.

Yeah, you learned the truth about the Jolly Old Elf years ago, but you let your younger sibs believe. Same with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy: get past grade school and you’re a little old for that stuff. So if, in the new book “Skink – No Surrender” by Carl Hiaasen, fourteen-year-old Richard Sloan said he met a one-eyed, bearded, beak-wearing man-bear on a Florida beach, who’d believe him?

Malley was almost never late.

It’s true that she was a rebel and gave her parents plenty of grief, but late? No, Richard Sloan knew his cousin Mal hated tardiness, which is why he was surprised when she didn’t show up on their nightly turtle nest hunt.

Figuring that Malley was grounded (again), Richard decided to scout for egg-laying loggerheads anyhow. He was sitting next to a turtle nest when he saw a drinking straw poking out of the ground – right before the sand exploded and a gigantic man burst from the beach, scaring the daylights out of Richard.

The guy was well over six feet tall, with different colored eyes pointing in different directions. He was wearing an ancient army jacket, camo pants, and vulture beaks tied in his long, scraggly beard. When he said his name was Clint Tyree, Richard couldn’t wait to Google it.

It turned out that Clint Tyree, college football star and Vietnam vet, had somehow gotten elected to the Florida governor’s office years ago. Halfway through his term, he disappeared. Rumors said he lived in the wilderness as a hermit called Skink; one post said Skink was dead, but Richard knew that wasn’t true.

He’d met Clint “Skink” Tyree. And Skink knew where Malley was.

She’d lied to her parents when she said she was leaving early for boarding school, and had instead run away with a man with a strange alias. But now there was trouble, few clues to her whereabouts, and a lot of places to hide in Florida’s Gulf Coast. Riding with Skink in a plain gray car heading north, Richard hoped the governor knew all that.

And he hoped they weren’t too late…

So you’ve known the truth about Santa for a few years: the dude doesn’t exist. It’s a fact, but after reading this book you’ll wish that Skink did. I mean, what can you say about an old guy who eats road kill, barely bathes, is moral and kind, but hates trouble?

“Weirdly addictive.” That’s what you can say because author Carl Hiaasen’s main man – here in a teen novel for the first time – is someone you can’t resist. Indeed, the title character in “Skink – No Surrender” is outrageously, appealingly wild and the story is rompish with a surprisingly keen element of suspense, which will keep readers laughing and turning pages.

Adult fans of Skink will run to find this book, but it’s mostly meant for readers age 14 and up. Still, you know you want it because “Skink – No Surrender” will make you say ho-ho-ho.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@gmail.com.

More in Life

Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Penisula Clarion)
Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Sisterhood and soft pretzels

Our favorite snack there, the one I know will always make her smile, was a soft pretzel with cheese sauce.

The welcome sign for the City of Kenai, as seen in this city Facebook page photo.
History with a sense of humor, Part 1

The first part of a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.