Tuesday 15 March 2016


2 from Tim Dorsey this week.

Tim Dorsey’s books from the outside reminded me a little bit of Carl Hiaasen, an author that I quite enjoy; though it has been a year or two since I read anything by him. Both have worked in the newspaper industry as journalists, both write comedy-crime books, set in and around Florida.

Dorsey’s main character is Serge Storms and there are about 20 books in the series, starting with Florida Roadkill back in 1999. This is the only Dorsey I’ve read so far, so I don’t know if my initial comparison with Hiaasen is valid. Most of Hiaasen’s books seem to have concerns over Florida’s future and the drains on the environment and ecology that a constant population influx are creating. Dorsey maybe just plays it for laughs?
I probably have about 8 in the series at a guess (that's the logged figure so far), but I kind of stopped buying them as I wasn't keeping up with his output - how very restrained of me.

Tim Dorsey's website is here.

The Stingray Shuffle (2003)

"In this brand-new saga, The Stingray Shuffle, Serge takes on all comers: the Russian mob, the Jamaican mob, the cocaine cartels, and spoiled frat boys. But there must also be time for hobbies, and Serge's newest "interest" is trains: how they developed Florida, where the old historic cars are on display, when to book a trip on Amtrak and share his enthusiasm with the other passengers." "And for Tim Dorsey readers, here are some answers. Ever since the publication of his first four novels, Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Orange Crush, and Triggerfish Twist audiences everywhere have clamored for details: Where's the briefcase with the $5 million? What happened to the loonies who somehow managed to survive the merry bloodbaths? How did Serge end up with amnesia? And can he meet the increasingly difficult challenge of maintaining his spot atop the wacko pile that is Florida?" "The Stingray Shuffle answers all these and more as Serge and friends pinball between stops including Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Cocoa Beach, and the Keys before setting their sights on New York City." "Which brings up a whole new set of questions. How will Serge survive outside his native state? Will New York City survive? Will luck finally shine on Johnny Vegas, the Accidental Virgin?" What about the women's book club, whose members want more excitement in their lives and decide to hook up with a hyper but delightful tour guide from Florida? Does this mean romance is in the air? And will it involve props?

Torpedo Juice (2005)

The drinks are on us!

Serge A. Storm returns -- and so does Tim Dorsey -- for another hilarious tour of the wacky underside of the Sunshine State. And this time our lovable but maniacal hero is on a mission: Stay off police radar and reinvent himself.

Naturally Serge makes a beeline to the Reinvention Capital of the United States, the Florida Keys, where nobody is who they seem to be and the freaks are the least of your worries.

The perfect place for Serge to blend in!

Unfortunately, some other less likable lunatics have latched on to the same idea, and the sheriff's fax machine keeps jamming because of all the APBs coming in like a storm front about to break ... Lurking beneath paradise are many questions: Who is the mystery driver of the metallic green Trans Am? The brown Plymouth Duster with Ohio plates? What about the white Mercedes with tinted windows?

Who can keep it all straight?

Serge can!

At least when he's not conch blowing, Seven-Mile Bridge running, underwater romancing, operating an all-inclusive twelve-step program, or trying to convince his accidental posse that he's not the messiah.

But the questions only lead to more questions: Why is everyone afraid to set foot on No Name Key? 

Why are they more afraid of the smuggler left over from the old days, when all the phone booths are covered with drug dealers' numbers? What was Serge thinking when he got married? What was she thinking? Who rises from the dead to wreak havoc on the newlyweds' bliss? Will the Skunk Ape win the scavenger hunt? Who will survive the Key West beach bash from hell? And why is everyone hammered all the time?

Maybe it's something in the Torpedo Juice ...


  1. Going by the covers I thought these books were funny. I don't remember reading "comedy crime" which, I think, would be a nice departure from normal crime fiction, even if occasionally.

    1. They do have cartoonish elements in the covers. Blending comedy and mystery/crime is a delicate balancing act. Too often the jokes can fall flat.

  2. I like Hiassen's work, Col, so I imagine I'd like Dorsey's as well. It's certainly true that an author can take the comedy element too far. Still, when it's well done, it can add to a novel. I hope you'll enjoy these.

    1. Margot, I hope I enjoy these - if they are half as good as Hiaasen I should be ok!

  3. I am not sure these books are for me, and I don't need new authors (sound familiar?). But I will wait for one of your reviews and see what I think.

    1. I did think you would probably pass on these as you don't always enjoy humour, or at least too much of it in your reading.

  4. I think Tracy said it for me, Col. Ditto.

    1. No problem. I'll keep him to myself then!