Carl Hiaasen


  • This summary of Flush includes a complete plot overview – spoilers included!
  • We’re considering expanding this synopsis into a full-length study guide to deepen your comprehension of the book and why it's important.
  • Want to see an expanded study guide sooner? Click the Upvote button below.

Flush Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Flush by Carl Hiaasen.

Flush is a young adult novel written by Carl Hiassen and published in 2005. It is set in Florida and is the story of a teenaged boy, Noah Underwood, whose father is dedicated to environmental issues. Noah’s father asks his help so that they can finally catch a repeat environmental polluter.

Noah spends his days snorkeling and surfing with his family and friends in the warm Florida climate. When his father ends up in jail, he is confused, and his life is thrown into turmoil. It turns out that his father has sunk a boat called the Coral Queen.

The Coral Queen was rumored to be dumping waste into the waters and reefs off the coast. Noah’s father sank the ship to call attention to the pollution and to stop it. This practice of dumping sewage is ruining the environment around the ship, but no one has been able to prove that it

When Noah understands the implications of this action, he agrees to help his father catch the ship’s owner, Dusty Muleman. A few days later, when a bully almost takes Noah’s bike, a stranger intervenes. The stranger is wearing a medallion that catches Noah’s eye.

Noah’s first idea is to catch Muleman in the act. He arrives to find a waste container on the shore, but he is chased away by Muleman’s men. He hides hear the tank and discovers that it’s corroded and unusable, just a decoy. While he is hiding, the workers finish dumping the waste out of sight, and Noah is unable to get his proof.

The next day, Noah has an idea when he sees a slick field of pollution across the water. With the help of a bartender, Shelly, who works on the ship, they decide to dye the waste a bright color to make it more noticeable and lead back to the ship. They buy fuchsia food paste and plan to dump it into the toilets.

They sneak onto the boat and begin their plan. They are caught, and Noah is chased off the ship. However, their plan works. A few days later a streak of brightly colored waste is traced back to the ship and photographed.

A few days later, Noah comes back to his house to find holes in the walls and his father’s hands in casts. It turns out that the ruling for Muleman was only $10,000 worth of fines and Noah’s father felt that it was too low. He lost his temper and injured his hands thrashing around the house. During this exchange, a policeman appears at the door to arrest his father.

The previous night, the Coral Queen was burned down to the waterline, and the police believe that Noah’s father is the arsonist. However, Noah’s mom is able to provide his alibi, explaining that he was in the hospital at the time of the arson and that his hands have been in casts ever since. The ER paperwork corroborates her story, and Noah’s father is off the hook. The real arsonist is Muleman’s son, who set the boat on fire as he was smoking in a compartment full of fireworks.

The story ends with the appearance of the old man who helped save Noah’s bike from the bully. He is Noah’s grandfather, a man who has been traveling around the world. He has returned to Florida, and he gives Noah the medallion. Together they see the “green flash,” a common legend in Florida.