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The Big Bamboo: A Novel (Serge Storms) Hardcover – March 28, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Having previously taken on dirty politics and corporate scandal, Dorsey now skewers Hollywood in his eighth over-the-top novel. Serge Storms (who insists he's not a serial killer because he gets no joy out of it; he's just doing his duty) strikes again (Torpedo Juice; Cadillac Beach; etc.) with his strung-out sidekick, Coleman. Serge's new obsession is insisting that his beloved Florida be represented accurately in the movies and he's even taking a crack at writing a screenplay. He and Coleman end up in L.A., where mayhem ensues, most notably the kidnapping and murder of starlet Ally Street. Dorsey's cartoonish characters include the Glick brothers, slimy, coke-snorting owners of Vistamax Studios; ruthless director Werner B. Potemkin, whose over-budget/behind-schedule blockbusters cost people their lives; and unscrupulous agent Tori Gersh, who uses a rape accusation to secure a leading role for her client. Incorporating Ed McMahon and the prize van, Japanese investors and a trip to the Playboy Mansion, Dorsey takes wacky to a new level that readers will either love or hate. The litmus test is whether readers laugh when Serge tells the nursing home mogul he's about to kill that there is good news: "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The manic (in fact, more like maniacal) Serge Storms, along with his always stoned, always clueless sidekick Coleman, are back for their eighth outrageous adventure. This time the boys are headed to Hollywood on an escapade that begins, innocently enough, with a letter written by Serge's recently deceased grandfather. The duo hits Tinseltown with a bang (literally) and is soon embroiled in a caper involving a kidnapped starlet, the Japanese yakuza, redneck gangsters, bumbling cops, and twin-brother movie producers who give new meaning to the term "casting couch." Serge and Coleman are an Abbott and Costello for the new millennium as they bumble their way from one ridiculous exploit to another while still saving the girl and giving the bad guys their just deserts. This screwball neo-noir is recommended for all popular fiction collections. Michael Gannon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Serge and Coleman are once again a part of the novel, but not prominently at first, and I missed them. And when they do appear as the main characters, they're no longer in Florida, but in Hollywood. I still laughed out loud at some of Serge's nonsensical sensible pronouncements, but he just wasn't at his prime as he is when he's in Florida chasing down the bad guys, even though he's the baddest of guys. At least Serge has a moral compass albeit one with broken magnetic markings.
Hollywood has plenty of authors depicting its superficiality and flaking gold-plated facade. Come on back to Florida, Mr. Dorsey, and be sure to bring Serge with you.
If this is your first Tim Dorsey book, I suggest you skip it and read one of his Florida-based books instead. Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, and Hurricane Punch are a few of my favorites.
For this novel Dorsey brings back much of Serge's extended family, a concept he introduced in the much stronger (and funnier) book "Cadillac Beach". Also in attendance is Serge's sidekick Coleman, and for the first 100 pages or so Coleman is a whiney and boring character foreshadowing what he was to become in Dorsey's recent Christmas book, "When Elves Attack". It feels like Dorsey does not know what to do with this character anymore, so maybe it is time to retire him for good.
Dorsey is especially vicious when satirizing actors who don't live in the real world, and when he mocks the vapid and insincere talk that spews from the mouths of most movie executives. The reader cannot help but take pleasure in the way he treats such characters in this book.
The novel's dénouement leaves a lot unexplained and is a little weak. I am not sure if Dorsey is mocking Hollywood endings here, or if it is merely feeble writing. Since I think Dorsey has talent I am going to assume the former.
An okay read, but he has produced much better.
I've got to take issue with those reviews who'd rate "The Big Bamboo" a notch below "Hammerhead Ranch" or "Triggerfish Twist". I found "Bamboo" one of his best: a clever and biting parody that playfully skewers Hollywood's plastic pretentious culture and the movies it spews, reality shows, and pop thriller fiction. Back of course is the manic Serge A. Storms, the hyperactive front man set with Coleman, his near-comatose partner - Cheech and Chong for the 21st Century. Not that the plot really matters, but seemingly unconnected capers involving the abduction of a movie starlet, a big budget film disaster, Harvey and Bob Weinstein cloned into Ian and Mel Glick, and an Alabama oil scam mash together in the brand of black humor climax that's by now a Dorsey hallmark. And Dorsey again struts his Olympian command of useless facts and trivia, proving that should you ever show up on Jeopardy, Tim Dorsey is the last smiling idiot you'll want to see standing across from you.
So if you enjoy Carl Hiaasen's biting satire, and find yourself laughing out loud at Dave Barry's slapstick social satire - go demented, go rabid, get unhinged - read Tim Dorsey.
Most recent customer reviews
Maybe I should have bought the entire series versus one at a time.