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Where is Joe Merchant?
Jimmy Buffett
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Where is Joe Merchant?

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,973 Ratings  ·  210 Reviews
Will Frank Bama ever be able to talk with a woman? Will Trevor Kane succeed in calming a deadly storm by taking off her clothes? Why did the Jet Ski Killer cross the road? Who is that weirdo with eyes tattooed on his eyelids so he can see while he sleeps? And where is rock star Joe Merchant? Find out in Buffett's modern-day pirate story.
Published 1993 by Penguin (first published 1992)
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Mar 05, 2010 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say that this book appealed to both the avid reader AND the avid Parrothead in me! This was interesting and entertaining, with a typically Jimmy Buffett exotic setting and some fascinating and bizarre characters. Characters such as Frank Bama, Trevor Kane, Blanton Meyercord (my personal favorite!), Rudy Breno, Charlie Fabian, Colonel Cairo and of course the amazing Desdemona all made this a hard-to-put-down story.

A special note for Parrotheads: Although this is a book for anyone w
Sep 17, 2015 Jerry-Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Jan 30, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I must confess, I'm not usually one for fiction, but I have loved this book since I read the cover. I still can't place my finger on what I love so much about it, but I think it's just the general nature of the book. It just has character. It had a lot of character investment and a multiple layered plot - those two things together make any book enjoyable to me. I couldn't put it down, and I still can't when I read it, which is quite frequently. It is definitely a favorite.
John Patterson
Jun 27, 2012 John Patterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have any sence of island adventure any where in you this story will take you into Jimmy's world and leave you wanting more. This is one story that should have never ended. I read this years ago and am still left wanting more. You don't have to be a dire hard parrot head to get taken into this magical world where pages come alive and take you beyond where you are into a far far better place. I still miss being there.
Dec 06, 2014 Lynette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK - this book was just fun fun fun. I loved it. It's ridiculous and hilarious and I loved it. The. End.
Feb 10, 2008 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jimmy Buffett is a good story-teller. Count on beaches, adventure, friends ... a fun, easy read. Some of his ideas are out there, but hey -- why not? Tall tales are part of story telling.
Aug 05, 2013 Lori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason this book got published is because the author is Jimmy Buffet. Please stick to song writing and skip the novels!
Apr 03, 2014 Jain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved "Tales from Margaritaville," and this book delivered more of exactly what I was hoping for: factual fictions and fictional facts, delivered on a whirlwind tour of the northern Caribbean. The shifts from third to first person perspective were confusing at first, but I pretty soon came to enjoy them. I think they worked pretty well to establish Frank Bama as an unreliable narrator - don't take anything as fact if he wasn't there for it, it was probably told to him by someone else. As for w ...more
Toby Brennen
Sep 27, 2011 Toby Brennen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Where is Joe Merchant?" reads like a Jimmy Buffett song - whimsical, fun, sometimes hard hitting and often thought provoking. A true 'what if' story that can make you think about our interconnectedness with each other, the universe, and ourselves.

On the surface the story is quite simple, a carefree bloke (and our hero?), Frank Bama, desires a simple life and expects little from it. A former love of his life returns, making his life complicated, both physically and mentally - asking him to help
David Erickson
Nov 19, 2013 David Erickson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frank Bama, a seaplane pilot working out of the Florida Keys, gets embroiled with an extreme journalist, Rudy Breno, in the hunt for a rock star who purportedly killed himself five years before. It takes him to the seamier parts of the Caribbean where he runs into his old flame, the rock star’s sister, Trevor Crane and everything comes apart.

Crazy bad guys keep trying to kill Frank while they’re busy killing other bad guys, while a panoply of whacky and unusual characters drift in and out of the
Stephanie Holcomb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wild and entertaining romp through the Caribbean, complete with pirates, musicians, criminals, crazies, and treasure-hunters. As an aviation buff I loved the way seaplanes play into the book. While the fantastical sneaks in a bit more than I usually prefer in this kind of book, its consistent with the light tone. Good characters and solidly enjoyable reading make it a nice light read.
May 04, 2015 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, with snippets of Jimmy Buffet song ideas from the 90's sprinkled throughout! Rocketships to the stars, Desdemona and her "half baked fruitcakes along with pirates born two centuries to late. Book is over 20 years old so some of the historical references have are fading into the back pages of history and dated, but that is minor. Highly recommended! I can't believe I never read this before. The book has been on my shelf for a long time. I know I read his other novel, "A Salty Piece o ...more
Joseph Bucher
I read it years ago and stumbles upon it recently. I am not a parrothead by any means. However, this book is highly entertaining. It is full of wild characters, the type who tend to fly under the radar. There is action, mystery and some laughs. A great light read.
This is a light hearted, but surprisingly good, novel from the famous Florida Keys singer-songwriter.

Joe Merchant, a rock singer, is missing. His sister Trevor Kane, asks her ex-lover Frank Bama to find him. The book is about seaplanes, noise polluting Jet Skis, dolphins, crystals and lots more. There is a precious scene with Bama landing his seaplane in Cuba, leaving it unguarded while Castro takes it out for a sneak flight. I have to assume that if you are true Parrothead you have read this a
Sep 11, 2012 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Whether through prose or song, Buffett is a consummate storyteller. His music has always had a connection to literature, and so it was no great leap for him to turn novelist. While he may not be Hemingway, he's a fun read and even manages to pull of a twist at the end of the story (I won't spoil it).

One weakness is that Buffett often relies on mentioning popular songs to set the tone of a scene, and in some ways this story may work better as a film (there was talk but nothing came to fruition)
Barry Bridges
Jun 02, 2014 Barry Bridges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buffet does a respectable job on structure and story. I do enjoy the way he captures the feel of the tropics and island life, although it sounds much better that living with the grit and smells.
Apr 20, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading my first book by Buffet, I figured that he was just getting started and didn't realized he probably had 3 or 4 novels packed into one. But that's his style, and it makes for a fun read.
Apr 06, 2014 Candace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this book. It is a rollicking ride through the Caribbean with plenty of beaches, flying, love and a great fish tale! The tale is a Jimmy Buffet song with hilarious characters and plots.
Charmin Sterbenz
Apr 24, 2012 Charmin Sterbenz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My hat's off to you Mr. Buffett. I was admittedly hesitant to dive into this one because I was under the impression that it was some Margaritaville biography. Then I discovered it was actual fiction and felt slightly better about diving in. But still approached it with low expectations.

Jimmy Dude. You exceeded all my expectations and actually delivered a highly-readable, fun story. Nice twists and turns. You truly felt like you were down in the Caribbean watching the action unfold. Plus, I now h
Elita Rexhepi
Dec 02, 2015 Elita Rexhepi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book thinking it would be great, considering all the wonderful reviews, but It wasn't enjoyable. The characters were boring, especially Rudy. He didn't bring anything good to the book. Trevor is annoying. The plot was ok, but I didn't enjoy it at all.
This is my favorite Jimmy Buffet book! I read it a few years ago. Joe Merchant is such a well developed character. You have to love him. I can see him in a Buffet song!
Jul 10, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun. Lots of interesting characters. Unbelievable/nutty plot that reminded me of some other fun books by popular Florida based authors.
May 26, 2015 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd give it 2.5 stars. It was entertaining, but nothing really pulled me into it, and I had no strong feelings one way or another when it ended.
Feb 06, 2016 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amusing tale of post-hippie airplane pilot and adventure with missing rock star, hit man. Great to read in the Caribbean.
Anshupriya Goswamy
This book starts well. But somewhere in the middle, it tapers off. From a logical, intriguing book it turns into one full of impossible escapades, too many coincidences, UFO drivel, psycho-banter and just too much bad writing.
The characters lose their edge too. Frank Bama, the central character is going after Trevor Kane, his ex-gf, who he starts out by hating, and somehow suddenly starts re-loving, even when all she is doing would make anyone hate her more. The ending is rushed, as if the autho
Aug 21, 2007 Drew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pirares, Buffettheads
Shelves: trashyreads
Jimmy Buffett seems to have written this book while stoned and never bothered to have a non-stoned editor read it to see if his more idiotic musings should have been changed. It's a pretty formulaic story: a washed-up-but-still-really-good-looking pilot in the Florida Keys is employed by his ex-flame-he's-still-got-feelings-for to find her presumed-dead ex-rock star brother, the titular Joe Merchant. Along the way the two lovers cross paths with a variety of scoundrels and "colorful" characters, ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love this book as much as others I've read by Jimmy Buffett. The beginning and end were great, but the middle seemed to drag. I really enjoyed the way he incorporated lines from his songs into the chapter titles and text.

I really enjoyed the way all the plots started out as individual threads and were woven together in the end. There were a lot of characters, most of them critical to the story. I had trouble keeping all of them straight so some of the events were lost on me.

It was overa
Dianna Hayden
Sep 24, 2013 Dianna Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a love-hate relationship with this book. I love JB's use of pop-culture references, his interspersed song lyrics, his cast of crazy characters, and the outlandish circumstances in which they find themselves. Despite all of that, I found myself wishing it would end and looking back to make sure that I remembered which character did what. It was about 100 pages too long. Still, it was an amazing journey, filled with twists and turns, roller-skating bad guys, and tarot card-reading astronaut ...more
Kathie Lambert
Feb 15, 2016 Kathie Lambert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where does he come up with this stuff? Totally enjoyed this.
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James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is a singer, songwriter, author, businessman, and recently a movie producer best known for his "island escapism" lifestyle and music including hits such as "Margaritaville" (No. 234 on RIAA's list of "Songs of the Century"), and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads". His band is called the Coral Reefer Band.

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