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Triggerfish Twist: A Novel Hardcover – May 7, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews
Book 4 of 18 in the Serge Storms Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conjuring up Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard on crack, the fourth off-the-wall novel from Dorsey (Orange Crush) finds antihero Serge Storms a quixotic, socially conscious crook-cum-executioner undertaking to salvage his upscale Tampa neighborhood from encroaching undesirables. Milquetoast Jim Davenport, an unlikely corporate hatchet man at the Indiana office of Apollo Consulting, a company specializing in downsizing the executive suites of top-heavy corporations, is promoted and moves with his wife, Martha, and their three kids to 888 Triggerfish Lane in Tampa. Always a step ahead of the law, Serge moves in across the street with his drug-fiend lackeys, Coleman and Sharon. Then, like popcorn in a microwave, all manner of zany subplots go spinning off as Jim accidentally kills the youngest of the notorious McGraw Brothers, newly released from prison. Florida special agent Mahoney, who has a vendetta against Serge, is dispatched to Tampa to stop a murderous crime spree that reeks of the McGraw clan. Meanwhile, the E-Team a quartet of elderly women whose first names begin with "E" stalks elderly Ambrose Tarrington III, who pretends to be wealthy by test-driving fancy cars and photographing himself in front of a luxurious mansion. John Milton, an ill-starred substitute teacher desperately trying to find a job, meets his nemesis, Rocco Silvertone, during a stint as a used-car salesman. As the surviving McGraws close in on Jim, a July 4 barbecue brings the cast together for a madcap denouement that will please the growing numbers of the Dorsey faithful.


“TRIGGERFISH TWIST makes for twisted fun....a must-read book on this summer’s list.” (Tampa Tribune)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060185716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060185718
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my third Dorsey novel and he delivers with this one too. Dorsey is a lot like Hiaasen, only with a significantly more violent and demented twist. People are always getting bumped off in his novels, often in very creative ways. Readers of his Florida Roadkill and Hammerhead Ranch Motel books will be delighted to find that Serge and Coleman are back in this novel, which is actually a prequel to these books. Serge fans won't be disappointed as Serge is up to his usual frenetic and frenzied antics and also bumps off at least one deserving scumbag in his usual creative way. Coleman's character gets some hilarious fleshing out and development here, more so than in the previous books. And Sharon the gorgeous cocaine-snorting floozy/nympho makes up the threesome in this novel. The novel is very fast-paced and there is hardly a dull moment during the entire book, and Dorsey builds all the interelated threads and characters up to a spectacular and satisfying climax. Definitely another must-read for the Dorsey fans out there.
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Mistakenly believing Tampa to be the third best city in the United States for raising a family, Jim Davenport moves his family to a lovely old home on Triggerfish Lane. But beyond the lofty facade of the Davenport's new residence lies the seedy underbelly of crime and murder, car salesmen and consultants, rental properties and urban renewal. It all comes together in Tim Dorsey's delightful "Triggerfish Twist."

The story comes complete with a laundry list of main characters, a large and unwieldy cast that, in many writers' hands, would collapse under its own weight. But Dorsey juggles them neatly, like an expert clown, and the tangled plotlines come together like, well, a game of Twister on the 4th of July without pants. (Read the book, you'll understand.)

Davenport is your average guy, a conscientious business consultant and family man. His wife, Martha, is a bit high-strung, it's true, but they and their children settle down on Triggerfish with high hopes for the future. Little do they know that Lance Boyle, who owns many of the properties on their street, is vying to buy up the rest so he can raze the houses and make a tidy sum on townhouses. To further that goal, he fills his rentals with the worst lowlifes he can find -- hoping to force a sharp decline in neighborhood values and encourage the few remaining homeowners, like the Davenports, to sell and move away.

There's more, but it'd be easier if you just read the book. Dorsey, an author of some note, is my latest discovery and a wonderful addition to my must-read list. The spiritual cousin of fellow Florida writer Carl Hiaasen, Dorsey is hilarious and inventive. This is the perfect time to visit his little corner of Florida.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles.NET editor
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dorsey's novel is most easily compared to those of Carl Haissen and Elmore Leonard (and Dave Barry's two full-length novels), but, if possible, it is even zanier and more incredible. It's set in Florida, with all of its quirks and swampland and the rampant crime from half-witted criminals. Dorsey weaves a topsy turvy plot of dozens of threads which all come together in the end, with the bad guys getting their due and the good ones having it all work out.

I'm impressed Dorsey was able to present as many characters as are in this novel, keeping them all straight for the reader, and then bringing them all together for a slam dunk ending.

I haven't read other Dorsey novels, but I can see the style getting repetitive after a while, so I'll take him in small doses. If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out Dave Barry's Tricky Business, which is a hilarious Florida crime caper from a talented comedic writer.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up Triggerfish Twist at a tiny used book store for a quarter, along with various other books that caught my eye. I didn't expect much for the money, as I have been very disappointed by other books with equal amounts of bragging inside the cover, declaring just how hilarious the book you are about to buy is, and how no other book comes close (John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces" comes to mind). I was definitely in for a surprise!

Until I started reading Triggerfish Twist, I never would have thought that I could laugh out loud while reading a book... especially one so full of violence! While I wasn't sent into teary-eyed hysterics on every page, I often found myself chuckling at various characters and events in the book, and smiling through the whole thing. The characters are numerous, but easy to keep track of, and all of the separate stories twist and weave so well together that even if some of the events are predictable, you don't know exactly how they're going to go off, and, when they do, it's perfect. I could easily imagine this book being a "Bubble Boy" type movie, only with more blood.

Triggerfish Twist definitely isn't the Iliad, or any other great thought provoking tome, but it's worth a read if you want a good laugh.
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"Triggerfish Twist" is Dorsey's fourth novel, and he bring backs the irascible serial killer Serge, and his stoner friend Coleman, for this text. However, most of the other characters are new to avid Dorsey readers.
Some highlights of this novel include the wonderfully film noiresque conversations between the detective Mahoney, and a slightly perverted cop who shows up at many crimes scenes. The cop is known only as "Sarge". Every conversation between the two brought a chuckle. The doormat of a protagonist, Jim Davenport, is also a nice Dorsey creation as he is the epitome of a good guy getting screwed everywhere he turns because he is so decent. In Dorsey's world of justice Mr. Davenport gets the rewards he richly deserves by novel's end, and those who have used and abused him also get theirs.
Another highlight of the novel that merits mention is a college commencement speech that Serge delivers. It is found on pages 314-317 of the book, and it is nothing short of hilarious and brilliant. It is funny, but it also contains some very real truths about our world today.
Oddly enough, this text is a celebration of neighborhoods and traditional family values. Serial killer Serge idolizes nuclear families and Jim Davenport because he knows how valuable what they do and provide is to a stable society. It is odd to get that message from a novel that focuses on a serial killer and his drug addled friends, but it is there none the less.
Unlike many of the previous Dorsey novels featuring Serge A. Storms, this one is a completely stand alone text, and does not need (or even connect to) the three books that preceded it.
"Triggerfish Twist" is a fun summer novel, and gives you more of Dorsey's twisted humor. That is what it was meant to be, and that is what it delivers.
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