Kemper's Reviews > Florida Roadkill

Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey
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Mar 18, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, crime-mystery, bad-guys-rule
Read from March 18 to 24, 2012

After years of reading John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen, I was kind of burned out on Florida as a setting for crime novels. I’d never tried a Tim Dorsey book because of this, but I’m glad I finally got around to it because Serge Storms is one of the funnier characters I’ve read in a while.

This is definitely the Florida that Hiaasen and Dave Berry have warned us about with a cast of colorful and eccentric characters most of which are criminals and/or assholes engaging in random violent and reckless behavior that has turned the Sunshine State into an asylum that the inmates are definitely running. A drugged up black widow, bikers, a sleazy retirement community manager, an alcoholic orthodontist, and a trio of killers from a drug cartel with an inferiority complex are just some of the people who collide when random events and $5 million get everyone moving in the same direction. Our heroes are a couple of friends out on vacation who just want to do a little fishing and watch the Florida Marlins win the 1997 World Series.

Dorsey is a funny writer, and this was all entertaining enough, but it would have seemed like reheated Hiaasen if it wasn’t for Serge Storms. Serge is ….unique. Think of a hybrid of Hunter S. Thompson, MacGyver and Hannibal Lector. Occasionally brilliant but suffering from a myriad of mental disorders from ADD to OCD, Serge has a deep love of Florida history and culture. When he goes off his meds, Serge takes his buddy Coleman on a whirlwind trip of landmarks like a tourist from hell pinballing all over the state.

Since Serge’s moral compass is a bit off center, he comes up with inventive criminal money making schemes and has no problem with killing people whose behavior he deems unacceptable. His methods for dealing with people are often elaborate and weird, and he has a talent for serving up just deserts in a harsh way. Serge is dark and twisted and completely hilarious.

Dorsey does push the Florida-Is-So-Crazy!!! schtick a bit far at times. One character is a sleazy private detective, a state senator and a homophobic radio talk show host which is a bit hard to believe. Plus, there are so many characters that it’s easy to lose track or forget about entire subplots for a while. Still, Serge was entertaining enough that I’ll reading more of these.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Rayroy and Serge is so likable in a I shouldn't like this guy but damn me if I don't kind of way, plus the people he kills, well didn't they kind of have it coming


Kemper Yeah, I felt a little guilty for liking him so much because it's the same kind of excuse that Thomas Harris used for Hannibal Lector. "Oh, it's OK if your hero is a serial killer so long as the people he kills are rude jerks."


message 3: by TK421 (new)

TK421 I'll have to go back and start from the beginning, methinks. (I like the Hannibal connection...I knew I had "seen" this type of antihero before.)


Stephen The audio for this just came out and I am going to re-read/listen. The one thing I remember vividly from the first time around, beyond the general tone, was (view spoiler), that I thought was hilarious.


message 5: by Kemper (last edited Mar 24, 2012 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kemper Stephen wrote: "The audio for this just came out and I am going to re-read/listen. The one thing I remember vividly from the first time around, beyond the general tone, was [spoilers removed], that I thought was h..."

I did the audio version. It was pretty good. There's a couple of funny death by urban legend things in there.


message 6: by Kemper (last edited Mar 26, 2012 06:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kemper Gavin wrote: "I'll have to go back and start from the beginning, methinks. (I like the Hannibal connection...I knew I had "seen" this type of antihero before.)"

Yeah, the whole killing annoying people thing reminded me of Lector.


message 7: by Thing Two (new) - added it

Thing Two As a Florida native, I can say that the sleazy private detective/homophobic radio talk show host/state senator character doesn't seem that far-fetched.


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