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

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,555 ratings  ·  185 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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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...more
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
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.
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.
The only reason this book got published is because the author is Jimmy Buffet. Please stick to song writing and skip the novels!
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
"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...more
David Erickson
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...more
Stephanie Holcomb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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...more
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)...more
Barry Bridges
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.
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.
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
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...more
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...more
Aug 21, 2007 Drew rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
Dianna Hayden
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
Cathy Hannigan
3rd time I have read it in 20 some odd 2. STILL a great read
Fun, easy read in style similar to Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry. Definitely a great array of oddball characters and wonderful descriptions of the Caribbean (from nature to food to lifestyle). He tried to work a love story in too, but that effort was only mediocre, IMHO. One aspect I liked were the ways in which he referenced Vietnam and had veterans as the main characters. It was both realistic and compassionate without being over the top with either PTSD or completely ignoring the issue. It made...more
I simply had fun while while reading this one!
Jeremy Hornik
Dull, disjointed. Unfocused. For fans only.
Bizarre story, like Carl Hiaasen squared.
Not great literature but amusing to read.
David Ward
Where is Joe Merchant? by Jimmy Buffett(Mariner Books 1992)(Fiction) Is there anything Jimmmy Buffett doesn't do well? It's not enough that he's a fantastic singer/songwriter with a devoted ban of fun-loving followers (The Parrotheads), it turns out he's a fine fiction writer as well. In Where is Joe Merchant?, Buffett creates a rock and roll star who has disappeared into the Caribbean. There are sharks, rum drinks, and space aliens; hilarity ensues. Well done, Jimmy B! My rating: 7/10, finishe...more
my favorite Buffett book!
Ron Fitzwater
Over expectations not met.
Read aproximately 185 pages of the book and had to quit attempting to wade through the mud. Reading this book right after reading a book written by Laura Hillenbrand exposed the author's lame attempts at humor/interest by the continued thin/cheap sexual innuendos and suggestions. The story line was held together with spider webs and the shallow stories were mostly a prank. Other than that, the cover had a lot of beautiful colors and the paper almost smelled like newsprint.
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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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