10 Best Authors Like Carl Hiaasen for Humorous Crime Story Authors

Discover our guide to the best authors like Carl Hiaasen. If you like to read sarcasm mixed into a good mystery novel, you won’t want to miss our list.

A native of Florida, Carl Hiaasen is known for his funny books that always feature a crime. After graduating from the University of Florida, he was hired as a writer for The Miami Herald at 23. He wrote an opinion column from 1985 to 2021 full of sarcastic humor. Hiaasen collaborated with William D. Montalbano to write three novels in the 1980s, then wrote Tourist Season, his first solo novel, in 1986. It had great accolades from critics, and he published Double Whammy not long after. These two books solidified him as a hilarious author of satirical crime novels.

To date, he has published his books in 34 languages, and 11 are national bestsellers, including Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Strip Tease, and Nature Girl. Hiaasen also won the Newbery Honor for his children’s book, Hoot, which became a feature film. Find out how to write dialogue by checking out these fantastic authors!

Best Authors Like Carl Hiaasen Ranked

1. Tim Dorsey, 1961 –

Tim Dorsey
Author Tim Dorsey signing books

Tim Dorsey grew up in Florida, near Miami, and the beach setting heavily influences his books. Dorsey studied transportation at Auburn University, then worked as a reporter after graduation. In 1999, he retired from reporting to write for himself full-time.

Dorsey’s crime fiction books center around Serge A. Storms, his main character, who has several mental illnesses. Storms is an anti-hero, using his intelligence and internal struggles to fight crime. Dorsey’s first book, Florida Roadkill, hit bookshelves in 1999, and he continues to publish a book yearly. He also has several collections of short stories and essays. Check out our guide on authors like Paul Doiron.

“The men sat on a street bench next to a pair of fashionably depressed students from New College, who gave the bikers the creeps.”

Tim Dorsey, Florida Roadkill
Florida Roadkill: A Novel (Serge Storms, 1)
  • Dorsey, Tim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 02/28/2006 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

2. Dave Barry, 1947 – 

Dave Barry
Author Dave Barry

Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning honor columnist and bestselling author who wrote a nationally-syndicated column for The Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005. Born in New York to a Presbyterian minister, Barry attended Haverford College, where he earned a degree in English. He began working as a journalist in 1971, eventually attending The Miami Herald. Big Trouble, his first novel, was published in 1999 and eventually became a motion picture. Many of his fiction works, including Tricky Business in 2003 and Swamp Story in 2023, is in the humorous crime novel genre.

“We don’t shoot somebody soon, I’m gonna forget how.”

Dave Barry, Big Trouble
Big Trouble
  • Barry, Dave (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 07/06/2010 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

3. Elmore Leonard, 1925 – 2013

Elmore Leonard
Portrait of author Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard was born in New Orleans, and during his childhood, he frequently moved before settling in Detroit. After graduating high school, Leonard joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific before attending the University of Detroit to study English and philosophy.

His early writing career involved publishing Westerns before he started writing novels in 1953 with the publication of The Bounty Hunters. The Big Bounce, published in 1969, was his first crime story. His 1985 novel Glitz was on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks.

“Muggers were repeaters in their strung-out state, then dumb, always desperate. They came on with adrenaline pumping, hoping to hit and get out.”

Elmore Leonard, Glitz
Glitz: A Novel
  • Leonard, Elmore (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 11/29/2011 (Publication Date) - Mariner Books (Publisher)

4. James W. Hall, 1947 –

James W. Hall is an author from Florida who teaches creative writing at Florida International University. Hall is best known for his series of crime novels starring a character named Thorn. These books center on life in South Florida and examine the poverty that coexists with extreme wealth in this region. Under Cover of Daylight, his first book was published in 1987, and he continues to write more Thorn books. The most recent, Bad Axewas published in 2020. Hall won both an Edgar Award and a Shamus Award for his books.

“All you need is love. It sounded true but wasn’t. You needed a hell of a lot more than that. You needed tolerance and self-control, and you needed empathy and strength and discipline and flexibility.”

James W. Hall, Bad Axe
Bad Axe (Thorn)
  • Hall, James W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 243 Pages - 06/23/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

5. Randy Wayne White, 1950 –

Randy Wayne White is a New York Times bestselling author who writes crime fiction novels. This writer is well known for his main character Doc Ford, a retired NSA agent who lives on the Gulf Coast and solves crimes.

The first Doc Ford book, Sanibel Flats, hit bookshelves in 1990. In addition to his novels for adults, the author also has three children’s books featuring Doc Ford and another series featuring a female protagonist, Hannah Smith. White also owns a Sanibel Island restaurant with the Doc Ford name.

“Didn’t understand the nation’s habit of clubbing itself each morning with a list of tragedy and doom before trying to go cheerfully into the day. Like arsenic, it had to have a cumulative effect.”

Randy Wayne White, Sanibel Flats
Sanibel Flats: A Doc Ford Novel (Doc Ford Novels, 1)
  • White, Randy Wayne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/07/2017 (Publication Date) - Minotaur Books (Publisher)

6. Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore
Author Christopher Moore at a book signing

Christopher Moore writes laugh-out-loud funny books that are fantasy or mystery fiction. Because of his humorous take, Moore fits this list of book recommendations for Carl Hiaasen fans, even though his books are not specifically crime novels. Moore was born in Ohio and grew up as an only child, so he had to use his imagination to entertain himself, which turned into a lifelong career as a writer.

All of his books take place in the same fictional world, and though they can be stand-alone books, many characters reappear in other novels. Noir in 2018 and Razzmatazz in 2022, his two most recent novels, fit the humorous crime novel genre well. Noir was an instant New York Times bestseller.

“It was the kind of kiss that he wanted to wake up to and keep refreshing periodically until he got one long last one, salty with tears, in his casket.”

Christopher Moore, Noir
Noir: A Novel
  • Moore, Christopher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 04/02/2019 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

7. Jimmy Buffett, 1946 – 

Jimmy Buffett
Singer Jimmy Buffett at a concert

Jimmy Buffett is best known as a singer-songwriter but also has quite a few books. Buffet has three number-one bestsellers, including Tales from Margaritaville, published in 1989, and Where Is Joe Merchant in 1992. The second of these is a mystery book with enough humor to land him a spot on this list.

Buffet grew up in Mobile, Alabama, eventually making his way to Key West, which in the 1970s was full of free-spirited individuals that gave Buffett a taste of adventure. The author remains a musician, and many of his newer books have singles attached to them.

“My name is Frank Bama, and I fly boats. I can read the heavens and smell the weather, roll with the punches and flow with the tide.”

Jimmy Buffett, Where Is Joe Merchant?
Where Is Joe Merchant? by Jimmy Buffett (1993-08-03)
  • Jimmy Buffett (Author)
  • 01/01/1718 (Publication Date) - Avon Books (Publisher)

8. Janet Evanovich, 1943 –

Though author Janet Evanovich got her to start writing romance novels, her mysteries featuring protagonist Stephanie Plum launched her writing career. The stories involving a bounty hunter regularly makes it to the bestsellers lists, and to date, Evanovich has over 200 million books in print in over 40 languages.

This success landed her a spot on the 2021 Forbes 50 over 50 listHero at Large was her first novel, which she published in 1980. Hot Six, her 2000 novel, was the first to make it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

“If she wasn’t your grandmother I’d shoot her.”

Janet Evanovich, Hot Six
Hot Six
  • Janet Evanovich (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 338 Pages - 05/09/2013 (Publication Date) - Pan Books (Publisher)

9. Andrea Camilleri, 1925 – 2019

Andrea Camilleri
Author Andrea Camilleri

Originally from Sicily, Camilleri published his books in his native tongue, but they were so popular they eventually were translated into English and several other languages. His work earned him a place in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2003, and in 2012 the Crime Writers’ Association gave him the International Dagger Award.

In addition to writing, Camilleri worked on multiple TV productions, many featuring crime stories. To date, around 10 million copies of his works have been sold. The Shape of Water was the first Montalbano book, and it opened the door to making Camilleri a household name. You might also enjoy these authors like Peter James.

“As they ate, they spoke of eating, as always happens in Italy.”

Andrea Camilleri, The Shape of Water
Shape of Water
  • Camilleri, Andrea (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 249 Pages - 08/20/2020 (Publication Date) - Picador (Publisher)

10. Laurence Shames, 1951 – 

With books set in Key West, Florida, Laurence Shames writes similarly to Carl Hiaasen. Shames’s books are comic mysteries that capitalize on the beach setting. Florida Straits was his first title, which he published in 1992. Shames was born in New Jersey in 1951 and attended NYU. After graduating in 1972, he took a series of odd jobs until finding a love for writing.

Initially, Shames worked as a journalist, publishing works in many well-known magazines and writing non-fiction books. In 1991, he published a national bestseller, Boss of Bosses, a non-fiction book about two FBI agents that got him thinking about the mafia. This gave him the idea for his first novel, and since that time, he has written 17 Key West capers that continue drawing interest from readers who appreciate his sarcastic sense of humor. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best day jobs for writers!

“His father was not a man to make a habit of offering his upturned throat.”

Laurence Shames, Florida Straits
Florida Straits (Key West Capers)
  • Shames, Laurence (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 02/12/2015 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)


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