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Florida Road Kill: A Novel Paperback – May 30, 2000

269 customer reviews
Book 1 of 18 in the Serge Storms Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This dizzying road movie of a first novel follows a passel of comic con men (and one con woman) down and around the Florida coast. Their adventures involve deliciously caricatured characters along with delirious violence, not to mention pigeon-eating maniacs, cocaine, traffic jams, biker gangs, hot-tub accidents, mock-Satanic heavy metal bands, partially frozen crocodilians, the World Series and the space shuttle. Serge and Coleman are roommates, manic ne'er-do-wells trying to fashion a living from crime and adventure. Sexy Sharon Rhodes murders magnates for their life insurance. On the run after her last hit, she meets Serge and Coleman, and the trio start a crime spree. Former millionaire George Veale has just been released from prison when he absconds with a suitcase of drug money. The cash belongs to insurance CEO Charles Saffron, who hires sleazy private investigator Mo Grenadine to get it back. (Mo is also a corrupt right-wing state legislator and a gay-baiting talk radio host.) Serge and Coleman (themselves remotely connected to drug cartels) get wind of the suitcase and scheme for the cash. Sharon wants in on the caper, too, whether or not the two men planned it that way. Dorsey's cast of dangerous oddballs chase, rob, shoot and kill their way from Tampa to the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas, until their raucous evasion of law catches up with them. Dorsey is a newspaperman by trade (at the Tampa Tribune), and his sentence rhythm can be crisply journalistic: "Wilbur Putzenfus was losing hair on top and working the comb-over. No tan. No tone.... Spiro Agnew without the power." Floridian readers may laugh or wince as Dorsey skewers the state's foibles and stereotypes. But he can abandon his verbal dexterity and his social observation to get a quick laugh or a quick jolt of violence: as a result, his satire seems less serious than it might be. Admirers of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiassen will note their influences here; as entertainment, this rollicking, over-the-top novel is a blast. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this debut, lots of people are after a suitcase full of money that got dropped in the wrong car: two bad guys, one obsessed with Florida history (the setting is Miami) and another with cocaine; one lady, whos also a killer; and the good-guy lawyer. Dorsey is night news coordinator of the Tampa Tribune, so expect good detail.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarTorch (May 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380732335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380732333
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999 and is the author of ten previous novels: Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Orange Crush, Triggerfish Twist, The Stingray Shuffle, Cadillac Beach, Torpedo Juice, The Big Bamboo, Hurricane Punch, and Atomic Lobster. He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By J. Surowiecki on June 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tim Dorsey's "Florida Roadkill" is hands down, without a doubt, one of the funniest novels I've read in years! I was laughing by page two!
The narrative is fast-paced and top notch. The plot is devilishly multi-layered and engaging. Mr. Dorsey populates his delightfully demented Floridian world with the most whacked out collection of loonies ever assembled.
Serge A. Storms is a character that readers will remember for some time. Mentally unbalanced and a font of trivial pursuit-esque knowledge.
Coleman, Serge's sidekick, is a whack-a-loon of the highest caliber. There's a seen involving Coleman, an almost successful bank robbery and a poorly hidden dye-pack that had me laughing till my sides hurt. Clearly a scene that could easily be adapted for the big screen by the Farrelly brothers!
The supporting cast of nut-jobs really flesh this novel out! To name but only a few....Sharon Rhodes. Johnny Vegas. The Riders of Eternal Doom, Sunshine Chapter. Fred McJagger and his beleaguered residents of Vista Isles. Mo Grenadine. And let's not forget the world's worst drug cartel!
Throw into this mix a suitcase with $5 million in cash and you get a novel that's some bizarre emulsion of a Monty Python sketch, Clerks, Pulp Fiction and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"!
The inference that this novel is remiscent of Hiaasen is a very nice sentiment and well deserved. However, Tim Dorsey is a writer of his own unqiue style of prose and humor. I EAGERLY await "Hammerhead Ranch Motel"!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Nelson on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
...for me to finally get into this story. Having read only one Hiaasen book which was too miserable to remember I had sworn off the Florida Fiction genre forever. Then I discovered Laurence Shames. His tales, while somewhat over the top at least provided a cast of characters that one could relate to. When I came across Dorsey after completing the Shames catalog, I figured why not? The prologue; a number of disjointed scenes without explanation was a great way to lure the reader in, fast paced, all action. Why were these characters thrown into such outlandish situations? What was the common thread that joined them together? Obviously the answers would come in the chapters ahead. The unfortunate part for me was that most of these characters were more like caricatures. Everything about them was so bizzarely ridiculous, yet shortly after the halfway point everything suddenly fell into place, starting with four latin thugs holding a corporate office hostage in search of the CEO who has indirectly absconded with a hefty sum of their money. Rather than quaking in fear, the hostages assault them with questions.

>> One of the employees raised his hand.
"This isn't school! We don't take questions."
"How do you smuggle cocaine?"
"I saw it in the papers that they call you the Keystone Cartel"
"Do you Hide it in your underwear?"
"Do you swallow balloons with tiny strings that come up your throat and are tied to your back teeth?"
"You should get a running start and run right up to the border and throw it really hard."
The leader raised his arms to get the room's attention.
"OK we gotta leave now. Nobody move...and count to ten thousand. What's that state you say to count slow?"
"Mississippi," One of them answered.
"Mississippi, that's it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Picture this scene: I'm riding in a Greyhound bus filled with various low-lifes (including myself) from Gainesville to Ft. Myers (both in Florida) with this book in hand, laughing out loud every 5 minutes or so. Ordinarily, this is not proper behavior on such a trip, where you should keep your mouth shut and your valuables firmly in grasp. Kudos to you, Mr. Dorsey, for your ability to express the insanity of Florida crime with such wit and candor. You are truly in league with Hiaasen and Leonard for great Florida crime fiction. I can't wait until the next book for the exploits of Serge, who is certainly in line for admission into the Crime Character Hall of Fame (next to Hiaasen's Skink).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bertilak on December 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Consider this a review of the whole series.

I have been reading these books yearly since I found this one (Florida Roadkill) on the shelf of B&N in about 2000. As an ex-Floridian I just had to have it. Tim Dorsey should be proud that B&N shelves his books as "Literature" and not "Crime" or "Mystery", but that may be why it took me a year to notice it.

Although over the top plot-wise and character-wise, the books give you the *feel* of Florida and in that sense are quite realistic, even the barely believable weird stuff: I have seen an alligator walking down the middle of a residential street; I have seen a *fish* that didn't make it across the street before getting killed (Florida has walking catfish); I have seen strange and scary people (while otherwise alone -- and on foot) in the Everglades; I have been in a hurricane; I have been on a disastrous airboat ride (caught in thunderstorm); I owned two plastic pink flamingos. All the stuff of Dorsey's Florida and all before any of these books were published.

This series stars Serge A. Storms. Serge suffers from a variety of (somewhat under control) mental illnesses. Although obsessive, compulsive, and dangerous, Serge has a strong moral sense and is quite likable in many other ways as well. For example he doesn't drink nor take drugs -- not even the prescribed drugs he *should* be taking. Some negative reviewers say Serge is NOT likable but is reprehensible. They are just party-poopers hung up on this whole "serial killer" thing. Serge doesn't like killing any more than the rest of us but sometimes ya gotta do what's gotta be done, and if you want a job done right -- well you know the rest. And really, he doesn't do this very often.
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