Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey (4 out of 5)
This is Tim Dorsey’s 18th Serge A. Storms book. 18! Dorsey was a few books into the series when my former coworker and friend recommended him to me at Crown Books. I’ve been in books 15 years. Wow. Anyway, Serge seems to get more and more entertaining the older he- and we- get. I hope Dorsey keeps the ride going. I can always count on him to make me laugh my ass off every January when the new book comes out. This was no different. In fact, I honestly thought this was 5 stars..until that ending. That ending? Well, I could be really mad at it, but it’s so brilliant I can’t be mad at Dorsey. And in the end, it’s all about human nature. Serge’s is…well, something different. And that’s why we need to keep coming back to see what the hell he’s going to do this time around.
The Florida Keys are omnipresent in this one. And Miami, toward the end. Serge has been hanging out with Brook, a bright, beautiful young lady who’s training to be a lawyer when she starts hanging out with Serge and Coleman. You really don’t see much of Coleman until mid-way through the first part of the book, but you’re wondering at the dynamic between Serge and Brook. Brook is clearly crazy about Serge, and he about her, but he has serious doubts based on the fact that he’s a criminal on the run, and he levels with Brook. She’s not caring, until Serge is again on the run and she sees her case- and career- likely up in smoke. Serge tells her the only way to get out is to pretend that he beat her up and she was an unwilling participant in his crimes. Brook instead pays someone to beat her up because Serge won’t do it and she ends up much worse than intended. The last you see of Brook is that she’s in a hospital all messed up and handcuffed to the bed answering questions about Serge. A year goes by, and Serge and Coleman are still doing their thing, and Brook is now working for a snooty law firm with a HUGE case against illegal foreclosures. The opposing attorneys are ruthless in their attempts to take her down after she begins kicking their ass. Serge is now doing work as a freelance fixer and training to be a -get this- lawyer! There are still your history treks through Florida history, so of course you learn some. The crazy old bats are back. Mahoney is back with his 1950’s jive talking. Molly, Serge’s insane wife, returns with guns blazing and looking for Serge. There are your new characters- Reevis, a cute, upstanding young man who tries to be honest and uphold the law of old school print journalism, only to lose his job. Of course, he joins forces with Serge and Coleman. And then there’s Ziggy Blade. Ziggy is by far my most favorite supporting character that Dorsey has introduced in years. Ziggy is a lawyer that happens upon crucial evidence that will change the case that Brook is working on, but no one takes him seriously. No doubt because he’s drunk, high as a kite, and zonked out most of the time. Ziggy, in the grand reveal of this book, is Coleman’s brother! And Coleman is damn nuts, so you can imagine that Ziggy is just as bad, if not worse. All of these people gather to help Brook win the case and to try to help Brook and Serge reunite. Do they help her win the case? Do Brook and Serge become a bonafide couple? What happens to Reevis, Mahoney, and Ziggy? What happens to the opposing lawyers? How the hell does this figure in with the mysterious Gourd-Borg (Serge’s name for the other case. I like it better than the actual name, so I’m using THAT name in this review) file? You’re not going to get any answers..unless you read it.