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When Elves Attack Paperback – October 25, 2011

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Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Serge A. Storms

Dear Friends and Enemies,

Season’s Greetings! It’s me, Serge! Don’t you just hate these form letters people stuff in Christmas cards? Nothing screams “you’re close to my heart” like a once-a-year Xerox. Plus, all the lame jazz that’s going on in their lives. “Had a great time in Memphis.” “Bobby lost his retainer down a storm drain.” “I think the neighbors are dealing drugs.” But this letter is different. You are special to me. I’m just forced to use a copy machine and gloves because of advancements in forensics. I love those TV shows!

Has a whole year already flown by? Much to report! Let’s get to it!

Number One: I ended a war.

You guessed correct, the War on saying “Merry Christmas!” instead of “Happy Holidays!” When I first heard about it, I said to Coleman, “That’s just not right! We must enlist!” I rushed to the front lines, running downtown yelling “Merry Christmas” at everyone I saw. And they’re all saying “Merry Christmas” back. Hmmm. That’s odd: Nobody’s stopping us from saying “Merry Christmas.” Then I did some research, and it turns out the real war is against people saying, “Happy Holidays.” The nerve: trying to be inclusive. So, everyone ... Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Good times! Soul Train! Purple mountain majesties! The Pompatus of Love!

There. War over. And just before it became a quagmire.

Next: Decline of Florida Roundup.

They tore down the Big Bamboo Lounge near Orlando. Where was everybody on that one?

Remember the old “Big Daddy’s” lounges around Florida with the logo of that bearded guy? They’re now Flannery’s or something.

They closed the 20,000 Leagues ride at Disney World. And opened Buzz Lightyear. I offered to bring my own submarine. Okay, actually threatened, but they only wanted to discuss it in the security office. I've been doing running lately at theme parks.

But let’s not get hung up on the negative. It’s the holidays after all, so it was time to head back to Tampa. Because hiding out from the cops on your home turf during the season is always a warm-and-fuzzy. The malls have changed–when did yogurt go to five bucks?

In advance: Happy New Year! (Unlike the cruddy last one),

Serge A. Storms

From Booklist

Gleefully unhinged criminal Serge Storms and his perpetually drunk and/or stoned buddy Coleman return for another bizarre trip through Central Florida suburbia in this silly and sometimes touching send-up of Christmas tropes. On the run from the law once again, an elf-suit-clad Serge and Coleman meet up with mild-mannered Jim Davenport, whose bland middle-class lifestyle Serge idolizes (much to Jim’s horror). When Serge and Coleman take up temporary residence on Jim’s street, chaos follows in the guises of a supersized Christmas tree, Xtreme Caroling, a Christmas lights display that doubles as a torture device, and several of Serge’s trademark murders. Dorsey’s latest zany picaresque does a great job of satirizing the absurdity of recession-era hiring policies and has some genuinely hilarious moments—usually delivered by a team of foulmouthed nonagenarians known as the G-Unit—but its over-the-top humor often feels forced. Additionally, although Serge is a likable protagonist, he is, nonetheless, a stereotype of a violent person with untreated mental illnesses, a fact that some readers may find offensive. --JoSelle Vanderhooft

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; First Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062092847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062092847
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,654 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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Full disclosure - I picked up Tim Dorsey's latest Serge Storms novel, "When Elves Attack," immediately after finishing George R. R. Martin's massive tome, "A Dance With Dragons." With all due respect to Mr. Martin and his book, which I enjoyed, words cannot express the joy of reading a new Dorsey novel - he packs more gonzo delight into 200 pages than any reader, sane or otherwise, can expect.

Serge Storms loves Christmas and is willing to fight for it. Considering that Serge is a serial killer par excellence, that should be troubling to some. Not for us, though, as we get to ride along with Serge (and perpetually stoned sidekick Coleman) for a pell-mell paean to all that is good and true about Florida and the holidays.

Serge is one of those characters you kind of wish was in your life, if only because Serge solves problems. Granted, he does so in an unusual way, but when Serge solves a problem it tends to remain solved. And who doesn't have problems over the holidays? If you've got a mother-in-law who never stops reminding you of your shortcomings? Call Serge. If your teenage daughter wants a tattoo or gets in over her head with guy named Snake? Call Serge. If you just don't know what to get your wife for Christmas? Umm, better not call Serge.

"When Elves Attack" is a flat-out hilarious walk through the silliness of the holiday season in the land where it never snows. It's much shorter than your average Serge Storms novel, but it has as many laughs per page as the others do, if not more. And Dorsey treats us to a few episodes of Florida justice, Serge style.

So grab this book and make it an annual holiday read. Sure, it may never replace "Twas the Night Before Christmas" as a story you'd want to read aloud to the kids on Christmas Eve, but it will sure help you smile as the family invades and you haven't bought all the presents and your mom and your wife are already at it and . . .
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. Wilfong on December 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always enjoy Tim Dorsey's books when I am on the beach. They are perfect reading for that locale. They are funny, easily plotted, and Dorsey is a clever writer. "When Elves Attack" meets none of these simple standards.
The book has a rushed to market feel to it, and one wonders if his publisher was just trying to capitalize on the holiday themed book bonanza. The text is half the length of a normal Dorsey novel, and the change is not for the better. As a result of the apparent rush, the book is poorly written and is filled with obvious high school creative writing class moments and phrases. It reads like a treatment for a television script actually. Abrupt with no details, just giving you the basic outline as it were.
The plot is really a shorter version of earlier novels, recycling characters from previous works including the geriatric ladies group the G-unit, and the Davenport family, headed up by the doormat Jim. I don't have a problem with reusing characters, but at least augment them. Here Serge's sidekick Coleman (who I have loved in previous books) is reduced to restating as a character what the narrator has just said. He says the obvious and redundant, "Look Serge", etc. and that does not a character make.
The last 20 pages are just flat out lazy writing, complete with hokey ending. However, the "Note on the Type" is clever, and at only 194 pages it is a decent holiday diversion. But don't expect a lot.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donald Capone VINE VOICE on October 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A heads up: Long time fans of the Serge Storms series who know the characters, history, and inside jokes will appreciate this slightly-shorter-than-usual novel. The plot, however, is a little thinner than usual, and the bad guys aren't very evil; mostly it's just Serge's exaggerated take on Christmas. But still hilarious. If you haven't read any of the earlier novels, I'd suggest with starting at the beginning of the series instead on this one. I consider this novel a Christmas present from Dorsey (and Serge) to his long time fans. That being said...

Serial killer Serge Storms and his stoner sidekick Coleman are back in this Christmas-themed novel from author Tim Dorsey. I've been a fan of this series for a long time now. Dorsey is a sick man, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. His writing is manic, frantic, and funny. Not only does he continue to come up with new scenarios for his wacky characters, but he also gets to make fun of topical issues at the same time. Whether it's the way the news media over-covers stories, or the way we view our elders (see the G-Unit), or the way Florida's cheesy, but unique landmarks from the 50s and 60s are slowly being replaced by strip malls. In this book, Serge sets out to take back Christmas. The new PC rules dictates "Season's Greetings" should replace the old reliable "Merry Christmas." Serge sets out to correct this, plus he plans to have his biggest Christmas ever! Of course the ever-hyper ADD Serge has many distractions along the way--simple things like murdering a few people, abducting some others, and continuing to meddle in old friend Jim Davenport's life (for better or worse). And, as usual, we get to go along for the deranged ride.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on October 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There's more humanity in a Tim Dorsey novel than 'War and Peace'. In this short (perhaps too short) novel, the Florida Don Quixote , Serge, and his blitzed Sancho Panza, Coleman, are out righting wrongs and making this Christmas the perfect one. It's as fun as all of Tim Dorsey novels, but instead of just running exploitive contractors and land developers to ground and serving up their just desserts, Serge takes on exploiters of young girls, bullies, passive aggressive mother-in-laws and mall parking lot Christmas spoilers. Further, he helps rescue fugitives of a nursing home from caregivers who don't care and helps them re-connect with life, independence and fun.

In the meantime, he's learning about living a good and valued life from his idol, Jim Davenport, a mild mannered suburbanite whose only job is to serve as a hatchet man for companies who are too spineless to fire employees themselves. In the current climate, business is booming for Davenport whose meek, non-confrontational style makes him the perfect guy to tell some poor schmuck that he/she has just been laid off. So Serge moves in across the street from Davenport and tries to ape his every move, driving Davenport's wife to distraction.

In discussing his view of life and how he finds it necessary to dispatch the nasties in society, Serge is upbeat, reasonable and funny. His explanations for the havoc he wrecks sound very much like the military talking about "collateral damage" or a car company saving 50 cents per auto by not putting in a simple safety device that would save drivers from a fiery death or disfigurement, as in the case of the Ford Pinto. Serge sounds funny only because he tells the truth in a different way.
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