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4.3 out of 5 stars
Hurricane Punch (Serge Storms)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This whole series of books by Tim Dorsey can be described as a twisted and funny study on the dark side in all of human beings. Tim Dorsey manages to take everyday situations and make them incredibly funny. Based in Florida, the series follows the twisted life of Serge Storms (one of the best characters ever created) and all his sick, violent and disturbed adventures. Of course, along the way you will get to meet every kind of character you can imagine.

The interesting thing about this series is that behind all the funny stories, there are tons of social and political criticisms. I have read all the books in the series, and each one keeps getting better. If you are a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies, Family Guy cartoons or South Park cartoons, you will love these books. A MUST BUY.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Okay, this is a highly biased review. I own twelve copies of Dorsey's books. Nine published editions and three purloined pre-published editions. And someday, I'll do a complete index so that each of us can search back to find specific characters or antics in the life of one Serge A, Storms.

A long while back, I wondered aloud whether Tim Dorsey could sustain his main character. Well, the wonder is over, at least for Hurricane Punch, Dorsey's ninth book (lessee... The original, a prequel, and 7 sequels). And in my humble opinion, Dorsey has returned home - Florida - where Serge characters abound and seem to "fit right in." Where hurricanes are a fact of life (and death).

Seems tho we got ourselves an imposter calling himself "Eye of the Storm". Serge complains but Agent Mahoney, just released from the booby-hatch, teams up with McSwirley, a Tampa reporter who can't stop crying over spilt blood, is convinced Serge is behind all the mayhem. Meanwhile Serge has a new game - driving in the eye of hurricanes. And picking up wenches along the way. And offing guys the old Serge way. Ingeniously. Coleman, still working the booze and drug circuit, thinks Serge's losing his touch. Getting old. 44. And that's almost 50. And that's almost 60! Maturing. Mellowing. And what about Party Parrot, you ask! Don't ask.

Personal opinion. Hurricane Punch is Dorsey's best book since Orange Crush.

Final thought: Remember the thriller, Das Boot? Remember how you were warned NOT TO READ THE LAST PAGE BEFORE YOU GOT THERE? If you're a Floridian, or if you are a devotee of the nonsense going on in this nonsensical state, whatever you do, DON'T READ THE LAST PAGE BEFORE YOU GET THERE!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Where have I been? Tim Dorsey has eight earlier novels--and I've just discovered his scathing and raucous humor. I have a whole lot of catching up to do.

Hurricane season is about to pound the life out of Florida. It seems a serial killer, or maybe two, is on the loose and if he isn't caught, the body count will skyrocket.

Dorsey's loveable (can that be true?) psychopath, Serge has a weird sense of moral justice. He's not opposed to killing someone, he just prefers that they deserve death. He's not only a walking encyclopedia on all things Florida, but he loves hurricanes.

Serge is dedicated in righting wrong doings. Even if that means someone must die. But he balks at the newspaper calling him a serial killer.

Agent Mahoney (recently released from a mental hospital for getting too far into Serge's head) believes Serge is the serial killer and his personality is splitting from years of experiencing the good and better parts of life. He's determined to bring down Serge.

Coleman, Serge's friend, is forever 'high' and that just might be what derails Serge. In the meantime, Coleman is along for the ride of his life and will do anything if it only means he can avoid getting a job.

As the storms increase, Tampa Bay's favorite journalist is getting all the newspaper 'scoops.' He's contacted by the killer and will help Agent Mahoney in his quest to stop a bumbling, but very lucky madman who denies being a serial killer--who denies it by writing letters to the newspaper, dueling letters with another killer.

Is Serge a serial killer? Will the hurricanes get the best of Florida and be the undoing of Serge? Will Mahoney get his man, or men? And what will happen to our mild-mannered reporter?

Dorsey is simply brilliant. His edgy humor leaves nothing in society untouched by his unique view of life. The novel is more of a series vignettes strung together to make a raucous novel. By the time you turn the last page, you just might believe that Serge makes a whole lot of sense--and that's a scary scenario. '

Armchair Interviews says: Hurricane Punch packs a wallop and leaves the reader wanting more of Dorsey's off beat humor. It's a winner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What would happen if you combined Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry and Hunter S. Thompson? Well, you'd probably get this strange but enjoyable novel which follows the exploits of Serge Storms: autodidact, musician, hurricane lover and oh yes... serial killer. Serge and his hapless friend Coleman make for one of the more interesting buddy groups in current literature. They ride around the state in a stolen Hummer following a series of hurricanes that are striking the area and dispatching their own unique brand of justice by ridding the world of looters, unethical journalists and other vermin. All along the way, they are chased by a state agent obsessed by noir mysteries and a newspaper reporter that is prone to crying jags. If you enjoy satire and very dark comedy, this book is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I look forward to reading Tim Dorsey novels because I know they are going to be funny but at the same time I expect my interest to wane as I get near the end. I usually enjoy the first half of a Dorsey novel a lot more than the second. Not so with Hurricane Punch. I enjoyed the novel from start to finish.

Most of Dorsey's novels feature a ridiculously large cast of off-kilter characters and absurd situations. While the novel's individual parts may be enormously entertaining, the sum of those parts is often lacking. Most of his novels bounce around like they've been set loose inside a pinball machine. While they're hilarious, they lack momentum because they don't have a coherent plot that will keep the reader flipping pages.

Hurricane Punch is about as conventional a novel as Dorsey has ever written. The cast of characters is kept pretty slim in Hurricane Punch. The narrative follows Serge and his perpetually intoxicated buddy Coleman as they follow the eyes of a series of hurricanes hitting Southern Florida, dispatching people who play their car stereos too loudly or commit similar acts of social inconsiderateness. Meanwhile Serge's nemesis Detective Mahoney is in hot pursuit, convinced that Serge's personality has split and he is now two killers in one. An overly sensitive newspaper reporter named McSwirly is inadvertently drawn into the fray as dueling serial killers start writing letters to the editor, at least one of them threatening McSwirly's life. There is some semblance of a plot (not all of Dorsey's novel's have one) and even a bit of mystery. Has Serge's personality split or is another killer at work during Hurricane season?

Hurricane Punch is not the funniest of Dorsey's novels (my personal favorite is Triggerfish Twist) but it is an amusing ride. I have to admit that at times I find Serge's creativity a little too sadistic to be truly funny (the human beef jerky he made in Stingray Shuffle is a good example), but this isn't an issue this time around. Some readers may feel that Serge is losing his edge, but as far as serial killers go, you'll never meet one as likeable as Serge A. Storms.

If you are looking for a suspense novel - this isn't it. Dorsey writes social satire, not white knuckled thrillers. Hurricane Punch isn't Dorsey's most outrageous novel, but it is one of my favorites. It's a little less frenetic than his other novels (which may disappoint some of his fans) but it's great fun if you like a little twisted humour with your crime fiction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Serge and Coleman return in another rollicking adventure. Tim Dorsey books are the most entertaining and hilarious one can find. Never disappointing, and I always feel a little sad when I get to the end because I want it to go on and on. Oh well, you know what they say "To much of a good thing..."

Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
OK... I'm caught back up with Tim Dorsey since I finished Hurricane Punch this evening. Serge and Coleman are on the loose in Florida again, and hurricane season takes on a whole new meaning...

The (very!) loose story-line is that Agent Mahoney, freshly released from the psych ward, is convinced that he can nab Serge this time around. He teams up with a newspaper reporter, McSwirley, who doesn't want to do crime beat stories any more. Unfortunately, he's really good at it even though he tries everything possible to sabotage the stories. A series of murders are occurring with each new hurricane that rips through Florida, and Mahoney thinks that Serge is responsible for all of them. Of course, with Serge's sense of "justice" and rather creative ways to off people, it's entirely possible. Within that framework, you've got all the wacky, off-the-wall action that you've come to expect from a Dorsey novel. And along the way, you've got all the little obscure Florida history lessons that only someone like Serge would know and share.

If you've read a Dorsey novel, you know how incredibly funny and bizarre they are. This one ranks right up there. If you've never read one, be prepared for anything and everything to happen. This was a lot of fun, and I don't think I'll ever view the number 20 in the same way again...

(You'll need to read the book to get that one...)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Coleman and Serge are back in Miami, and so is Mahoney, the cop who's been trying to put Serge away with such little success he himself was just released from the loony bin. Mahoney is hot on Serge's trail again, this time enlisting the help of empathetic reporter, Jeff McSwirley. McSwirley's bosses want the ratings an exclusive with Serge will bring, and Mahoney just wants Serge, especially since he thinks Serge's personality is beginning to split. Or are there two killers now? The usual hijinks and mishaps ensue as Serge visits his therapist in between driving a stolen Hummer through the number of hurricanes that hit the Florida coast and offing a few deserving bozos along the way.

There were several times this book made me laugh out loud, but I have to wonder if Dorsey isn't losing his touch in much the same way Mahoney believed Serge was unraveling. This book doesn't lack a cohesive theme so much as the theme is basically irrelevant. Whereas Dorsey's books used to seem like a series of bizarre, seemingly unrelated events that all worked toward a central theme, the last couple have been a lot of Serge and Coleman wandering around with little purpose. This time their aimless wandering was the result of following hurricanes, but it still lacked any kind of reasoning, other than experiencing the rush. That may be how Coleman does things, but Serge has always had some kind of a plan until recently.

Anyone reading these books loves Serge and finds humor in Coleman's creative substance abuse, but there really has to be more going on than that. A successful series needs not only good recurring characters, but a good story to follow every time out. Road trips in stolen cars are what Serge and Coleman do, but it's more fun to accompany them if there's a reason why they're out there. Tim Dorsey is always worth reading, but I'm hoping his next book will give me a little more something to relish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tim Dorsey doesn't get a bad rap so much as an inaccurate one. His penchant for writing about the off-kilter residents of the State of Florida has led to comparisons with other authors who mine similar territory, which is unfair to everyone involved. Because a Dorsey novel is an experience worthy of its own classification.

All of his novels have featured, to varying degrees, a force of nature named Serge A. Storms. Storms is quite the character, a roiling, disruptive mass of mental illnesses, each of which is competing for attention and control, and all of which win the contest at one point or another. He maintains a running commentary out of his mouth and in his head, which is hysterically funny and requires that the reader pay close attention. Storms is also a serial killer, though for the most part his victims are people who will never be missed.

In HURRICANE PUNCH, Storms finds time to cut and cull some of the Gulf Coast's more obnoxious citizens from the herd --- using ingenious, innovative techniques --- even as he and Coleman, his faithful intoxicated companion, transverse Florida in the midst of the worst hurricane season ever. Coleman spends most of his time succumbing to the god of chemical toxins while Storms chases hurricanes, seeking to drive within the eye of each one, even as he is the subject of yet another manhunt conducted by the undaunted and unbowed Detective Mahoney, his constant and hapless nemesis. Storms has some competition in the mayhem department, however, as a mysterious and jealous serial killer vies with Storms for newspaper headline space.

There is a mystery here --- the identity of Storms's competitor is the puzzler --- but HURRICANE PUNCH is not so much a whodunit as it is a commentary, a snapshot of the underbelly of the Florida population, a demographic that is unacknowledged by the Florida Department of Tourism but nonetheless exists within a few miles of any beach in the state. As did John D. MacDonald in his brilliant Travis McGee series, Dorsey cannily documents a class of people at a particular time and place. Where McDonald utilized drama as his vehicle, however, Dorsey uses humor soaked in absurdity to illustrate and illuminate the women --- and men --- who didn't make the cut on the "Girls Gone Wild" videos.

But the underclass is hardly Dorsey's only target. Everyone from the President of the United States to the CEO of Dorsey's own publishing company is lampooned here --- not always accurately, but nonetheless unflinchingly and hilariously.

In addition to being the book's title, HURRICANE PUNCH is an apt description of Dorsey's work. He, like Storms, is a force of nature who will leave you howling.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Serge and Coleman spontaneously road-trip through Florida via staying in the eyes of hurricanes. Serge is in denial about having a mid-life crisis, and is all-the-while plotting his "comeback" serial killing spree. Unfortunately, he has copycat competition who is stealing his thunder...

Yep, that about sums up the plot threads... this is one of those books where the storyline is incidental to the characters and "Florida flavor" that are the series high points.

Dorsey seemed to be going for a hard-boiled noir-esque vibe in this (emphasized by recurring cop/nemesis Mahoney's dementia fixation with the medium) which is fine by itself, but unfortunately it backfired with allowing at least one minor and one major glaring plot hole/inconsistency to slip through -- I won't mention them here as they're spoilers. It's probably a forgivable error for most fans, though it was a speed bump for me as I like to try to guess the twists in mysteries and said plot holes threw off my rhythm. I'll get over it, of course, and I think most readers will, too.

Despite that, this is still a fun book, replete with staples like dark humor, obscure history/pop culture references, and Serge's trademark: new and unusual ways to kill people who annoy him. Obviously you have to like that sort of thing -- and I do, which is why I keep coming back to this author for more -- but of course it's not for everyone, especially "mainstream" readers who can't grasp the "fun" of an anti-hero.

Although this is a comparatively weak offering in the Dorsey canon, fans of the books are still encouraged to check it out. If you're new to Dorsey, though, start elsewhere (such as 'Triggerfish Twist' or 'Cadillac Beach') to see better examples of the author's output before backtracking to this one.
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