Penzler Pick, August 2000:
Is it Florida, or is it the mystery writers who set their stories there? There seems to be a tradition of Florida noir that is as loony as that name implies. Tim Dorsey is the newest writer from the Sunshine State whose stories are inhabited by a cast of characters who, in any other state, would probably be behind bars. In Dorsey's world, not only are they roaming free, they are also wreaking havoc with impunity up and down the peninsula.
In his first book, Florida Roadkill, Dorsey introduced us to several characters who are still at large as his second story begins. Serge A. Storms is a spree killer and Florida history buff, still looking for the five million dollars that's stashed in the trunk of a Chrysler--unbeknownst to the driver--somewhere in the state. Johnny Vegas is a playboy who, because catastrophic events always seem to get in the way, has yet to lose his virginity. Also along for the zany ride is 90-year-old Mrs. Edna Ploomfield, who blows away a man delivering her flowers and chocolates; a DJ who changed his name legally to Boris the Hateful Piece of BLEEP so that he would not be BLEEPED on the air every time he used the name; and Safety Officer Chester "Porkchop" Dole who watches the monitors on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Along with a dancing Chihuahua who forecasts the weather, the Diaz Boys, Harvey Fiddlebottom, undercover cops, and a variety of oddballs, they will congregate in or around the seediest place never to have been shut down, the Hammerhead Ranch Motel on the Gulf of Mexico. There, they will play out their lunacy as Hurricane Rolando-berto bears down on them. This is a wonderful summertime read, relentlessly funny and impossible to put down. --Otto Penzler
From Publishers Weekly
HWith this followup to Florida Roadkill, Dorsey places himself in the ranks of Laurence Shames and Carl Hiassen as a writer of hilarious, violent farces set in Florida. A loopy energy fills this A-ticket trip among the bridges, sailboats, seedy dives, dysfunctional families and drug deals of Tampa Bay. In the prologue alone, a college student falls through the glass dome of the Florida Aquarium; aged but feisty Mrs. Edna Ploomfield fights a gun battle with a shotgun-toting drug dealer; coitally challenged playboy Johnny Vegas has his Porsche flattened by a truck; and a man in a Santa Claus suit torches a car on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge before jumping into the sea. Later, we meet Lenny, inveterate pothead and sometime 'gator wrestler, whose exploits turn up in the Weekly Mail of the News World; Alabama-bred blonde Ingrid Praline, whose "giant Lolita package gave men hemorrhagic fever"; panicky pilot Bananas Foster; and many more zany characters. After Dorsey introduces a white Chrysler and a metal briefcase with $5 million in it, fans will not be surprised when demented killer Serge A. Storm of Florida Roadkill shows up, kicking off a long parade of crazies, most of whom end up in the motel of the title during a hurricane (and a VCR viewing of Key Largo) in the novel's wild finale. Until then, joke follows joke like a 50-car pileup, in a plot that can feel like a game of 52-pickup; it's as if Dorsey chopped up his narrative into one- and two-page segments, threw them on the floor and published them in the resulting nonorder. The story loops backwards and forward in time: halfway through the book, for example, come the scenes that set up the wild prologue. But Dorsey's temporal convolutions do not impede momentum: instead, they encourage readers to hang on for the ride. And a delightfully giddy ride it is, ending with the promise of more craziness to come. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.