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Where Is Joe Merchant?: A Novel Tale Hardcover – August 25, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (August 25, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151962960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151962969
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Entertainer Buffett's second blockbuster (after Tales from Margaritaville ), an 18-week PW bestseller, involves the search for the eponomyous missing rock star.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The relaxed and reigning king of beach music, who most recently told Tales From Margaritaville (1989), tries his hand at a relaxed and rambling novel. It's about seaplanes, a pretty girl, a vanished rock star, the curse of jet skis, a magic scepter, disrupters of paradise, and conch burgers. Joe Merchant, of the title, is the missing, presumed dead rock star whose sister Trevor Kane has returned to Florida to enlist her old lover Frank Bama to check out rumors of Merchant's survival. Trevor left Frank, a Vietnam vet who would rather fly than get serious, years ago because he seemed to love his ancient seaplane more than he loved her. Frank's doughty seaplane, however, is just what she needs to go in search of someone named Desdemona, who might be somewhere in the Caribbean. There is a Desdemona, and she does have a psychic link to the missing musician. She's been getting extrasensory messages for months. Also on the trail of Mr. Merchant and Desdemona are trash journalist Rudy Breno and one- armed, archvillainous soldier-of-fortune Colonel Cairo. Colonel Cairo is obsessed with the restoration of his missing arm, a task requiring a missing crystal. Desdemona might know something about that. The searches are Florida-intense, which is to say that there is plenty of time for subplots about Frank's chum who has been blowing up the jet skis that make paradise too noisy, and about a coldblooded killer with eyeballs tattooed on his eyelids who's not, after all, a subplot. So laid-back and rambling it's perilously close to sloppy, but Buffett's considerable charms as a performer and goof-off artist keep things afloat. The uninitiated may be baffled; his fans will be enchanted. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Very easy reading with great twisting fun plot.
H. Loveland
Mr. Buffett has a great ability to suck you into a story and make you feel like you are there with the characters.
Ruth E. Moore
Wish I could read this book for the first time again.
Tina Y Young

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Terry Mathews on May 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Right up front, I'll admit to being a true Parrothead. Have all the albums/CD's, but never read the books.
Then, a kind friend heard I was under the weather and sent me her copy of WHERE IS JOE MERCHANT.
I've read a lot of what's been posted here, and I can agree with the people *including some professional reviewers* who say Buffett's style is a little sloppy.
However, what he lacks in style, he certainly makes up for in substance.
I loved the stories about: (1)Frank Bama -- bruised and battered pilot with a commitment phobia; (2) Trevor Kane - Frank's beautiful ex-girlfriend whose family tree is so full of nuts that her last name should be PECAN or WALNUT or ALMOND. Trevor's looking for her lost brother, the supposedly dead rock 'n roller Joe Merchant; (3) Colonel Cairo who's looking for his lost arm, a treasure trove and control of Joe Merchant's fortunes; (4) Desdemona, macaroon-maker extraordinaire, who has been receiving instructions from 'the generators' on how to build a space ship; and (5) more subplots than a Robert Altman movie.
There's plenty of blood, guts and action to keep even a Steven King fan interested. One of Frank's best buddies blows up a fleet of jet skis, and while it's funny on the page, it makes the reader think about man's impact on the pristine ocean.
With Desdemona, Buffett even throws in some new age cosmic jokes, with hilarious results.
There is a twist, however, and it caught me completely by surprise. I had to go back and re-read the passage several times before it sunk in.
If you're looking for the tight, compact style of Hemingway or if you're into stream of consciousness like Faulkner, this book is probably not for you.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Josh on April 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my opinion, the book "Where is Joe Merchant" is a very interesting story about a rock star disappearing and the search to find the truth. I feel that Jimmy Buffett did an excelent job of creating his characters and thouroughly explaining their thoughts and actions. In all, I feel that "Where is Joe Merchant" was very well written and put together. I rate it 5 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can honestly say that this book appealed to both the avid reader AND the avid Parrothead in me! This was interesting and entertaining, with a typically Jimmy Buffett exotic setting and some fascinating and bizarre characters. Characters such as Frank Bama, Trevor Kane, Blanton Meyercord (my personal favorite!), Rudy Breno, Charlie Fabian, Colonel Cairo and of course the amazing Desdemona all made this a hard-to-put-down story.
A special note for Parrotheads: Although this is a book for anyone who likes reading bizarre love & adventure stories, Parrotheads will especially appreciate the subtle (and even not-so-subtle) references to your favorite Buffett songs. Pay special attention to the names of the chapters! :->
Anyone who has always wondered about Desdemona while listening to "Fruitcakes" and "Desdemona's Building a Rocket ship" should definitely read this book - all the answers are here!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Summer on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had just read, A SALTY PIECE OF LAND, by Jimmy Buffett, and because I LOVED it, I rushed to buy WHERE IS JOE MERCHANT? assuming it would be as good as it. It was definitely a disappointment. It was not the escape to paradise that A SALTY PIECE OF LAND was. This was quite graphically violent and unpleasant most of the book. Yes, it had a happy ending, but overall, the book was not at all what I expected. :(
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jmclain001@sprintmail.com on August 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Parrotheads rejoice! The mayor of Margaritaville has tickled the imagination with this offering. As a lifelong Jimmy Buffett fan, I was thrilled that Jimmy chose to put his talents to the rhelm of the modern novel. Was this book what I expected? Absolutely not! That is what makes it so good. With pen and laptop in hand, Buffett has boldly slapped his creative license on the nightstand and provided perhaps the tallest tale ever. The story opens as a normal day in Key West, but Jimmy's roller coaster is just getting started. Buffett takes us into his own "little world" with some extremely dynamic characters that I found quite intriguing. Inspired by the many adventures of his remarkable life, Jimmy creates Frank Bama, a seasoned seaplane pilot with a love for his dog, his plane, and a woman who has capivated his heart. Through his many exciting - and quite deadly - adventures through the mysical Caribbean islands, Frank makes a few good friends, and learns how to truly open his heart to Trevor, the love of his life. This book is loaded with detailed descriptions of life as a "flying boat" captain, as well as the cutthroat pirates that still sail the tropics today. Jimmy also provides insight into the inspiration of some of his most beloved songs, producing a wonderful marriage between his writing and his music. Jimmy freely injects a touch of tropical fantasy with the storyline, allowing the reader to truly be swept away. This is not a book to be read at the library, however. Slip on the flip-flops, and head to the beach for this read. And let your imagination run away with Frank Bama on a heart-pounding journey. Jimmy Buffett recently said, "...I sell escapism". You've done just that, Jim.Read more ›
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