Tiger Shrimp Tango by Tim Dorsey (4 out of 5)

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I never once considered moving to Florida- even when my Uncle John had that gorgeous house in Ft. Lauderdale in the 1980’s. Then my ex spent some time in the Keys, stoned and drunk out of his gourd, for the better part of 2006. Three of my best friends from junior high live there and haven’t looked back. The one thing that’s been consistently reported from all of them is that Florida is a strange little state. Tim Dorsey’s vision of Florida- much more fun than that stick-in-the-mud Carl Hiaasen- proves that time and time again. Tim Dorsey’s books and the loons populating in them, make me want to give the Sunshine State a shot, somewhere down the road, when life is free, unencumbered of obstacles, and the booze is flowing in fountains in Clearwater. 

Serge A. Storms, our main protagonist, and his drunken, walking pharmaceutical cabinet crony Coleman, are back. Serge is a little bit heartbroken over the murder of his Latin siren Felicia in his murky past. Grief shows itself in odd ways, in that Serge doesn’t form a lasting attachment to any female, which he usually does in every book in the series. He has some knocking boot moments with a clingy, whiny, psychopath named Sasha, but she’s no Felicia. He spends half of the book reliving the murder and trying to figure out who did it, but as always, Florida is hopping with scammers, criminals, grandparents hitting the early bird buffets, and substance abuse out the wazoo. Serge and Coleman, along with their noir detective operating independently Mahoney, are out to figure out a number of shady things going down. There’s an outfit of scammers operating that claim the lives of several innocent people, as well as the kidnapping of a young woman, and Serge, Coleman, and Mahoney are trying to get to the bottom of it. Serge is also on the run from an assassin who’s been hunting him for some time. Somehow, the assassin and Felicia’s demise are related. Resolution and revenge are entwined in this hilarious tale. As usual, you learn a whole lot of Florida history, you see Serge eliminating potential threats in original and psychotic ways, and you’re endlessly entertained by the entire plot. Highlights of this book: learning how ostriches, lobsters, and Cuban cigars can kill, the art of Mentos as a dangerous weapon, and why Glee will save humanity. 

Overall, it wasn’t a top notch Dorsey book, but it was better than the last two I read. Serge was, as I said, more hilarious when the femme fatale isn’t distracting him knocking boots. Coleman shows a little bit more of a soul in this one. I still don’t really get Mahoney, but I think that’s because his 1920’s dialogue instead of normal language, pisses me off as a reader (although Serge, as well as Mahoney himself in parts, translate his 20’s speak into nowaday lingo). Again, it adds to the plot and the fact that they’re all one pineapple short of a Psych episode. I loved it, and I had a rough weekend, so it was the perfect book to read to take my mind off of it. Florida? Read Tim Dorsey. Lame-Florida? Read Carl Hiaasen.  

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~ by generationgbooks on February 4, 2014.

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