Snotchocheez's Reviews > Gator A-Go-Go

Gator A-Go-Go by Tim Dorsey
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Apr 05, 12

Read from March 21 to April 05, 2012

It's a wee bit embarrassing, but when I'm feeling a little sad and blue, I turn to my stalwart comfort-food purveyor, Tim Dorsey, the literary equivalent of meatloaf and mashed 'taters (or, more geographically-specific, conch fritters, grouper sammiches and yuca fries). Mr. Dorsey, criminally under-appreciated, clearly has taken the "Consummate Florida Crime Novelist" title away from better known scribe Carl Hiaasen, and has consistently "delivered the goods", novel after hilarious novel.

You'd think he'd start running out of funny things to write about: Dorsey's been recycling his serial killer/Florida historian Serge Storms character for well over two decades now, and "Gator-a-go-go" at first certainly seemed like was going to be a rehash of all his other novels, with the only difference being the violence meter amped up. This one commences in a Pulp Fiction-esque bloodbath in a seedy motel in Panama Beach, FL, where it just so happens our wackadoodle friend is there filming a documentary on the history of spring break, along with his trusty super-stoner companion, Coleman. Hilarious hijinks ensue, as per usual, when the bad guys inevitably tangle with Serge and Coleman, as the action proceeds from Panama City to Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale (the very nexus and birth of the spring break phenomenon). Throw in a gaggle of Girls Gone Haywire!, the token Spring Break Midget, and a laundry list a of recurring characters from Dorsey's previous efforts, like the quartet of nonagenarian biker grannies; the pair of gun-totin' hotties City and Country; Johnny Vegas, the perpetually-virgin Adonis, ever-thwarted to get him some ak-shunn...etc. The ever-drug-eschewing Serge's pot brownie experience is alone worth the price of admission. And even if the action kinda seems to slow down a bit, the publishers have thoughtfully included a chompy gator flip-book at the bottom of the pages should you get bored. But you probably won't.

(A caveat, though, if you've never read any of Dorsey's Serge novels, this probably isn't the one to start with. While it stands alone nicely, the novel is curiously short on Serge and Coleman's backstories, and some of the in-jokes might be lost to the Dorsey neophyte.)
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by rachel (new)

rachel I've always been intrigued by the gaudiness of these covers (I'm easily convinced by bright! colors!) but I didn't know the main character was a serial killer? And these books are humorous? That's the kind of humor I can get behind??

message 2: by Traci (new)

Traci rachel wrote: "I've always been intrigued by the gaudiness of these covers (I'm easily convinced by bright! colors!) but I didn't know the main character was a serial killer? And these books are humorous? That'..."

YES! I really need to read them myself, so we'll go w/hubby dearest who LURVES these books. Says they're always funny, and yes, Serge is a serial killer in the vein of Dexter - only kill those that need killing.

Snotchocheez's my dilemma...I certainly would be the first to admit that Dorsey's humor is rather lowbrow...but I still can't help myself from busting out in coca-cola-nostril-spew laughter every time I read his stuff. This novel was really tough to reconcile the really violent set-up juxtaposed with Serge and Coleman's goofy shenanigans, but Dorsey's tongue is firmly in cheek, and yeah...Serge is a serial killer, of sorts. Dexter is a good (and geographically logical) comparison, though with a splash of MacGyver (the series or the SNL spoof of same) and a dash of Robin Hood (Men In Tights?) thrown in for good measure. Serge's targets are generally people who've pissed him, off: usually folks who've run roughshod on his beloved Florida. The really really bad guys are usually really really dumb, and really really deserving of Serge's vengeance, often served up with Rube Goldberg-ian efficiency and whimsy. I dunno. Dorsey's got a pretty rabid fan-base, but if the Goodreads User's rating is an adequate indicator (for instance, this 2 year old novel has a 4.1 cume rating with a mere 500+ voters deigning to weigh in) it may be an exclusive club. (pretty cover or no) Might be worth a gander, R, though my gut tells me..."mebbe not for her.

message 4: by rachel (new)

rachel Because of the humor/wackiness? Well. I recently enjoyed me some Janet Evanovich (very much to my surprise), and "Rube Goldberg-ian" to describe his methods is making me laugh, soooo maybe yes though!

Plus, the literary rendering of Florida intrigues me, from the Orchid Thief to Swamplandia! to Carl Hiassen. I mean, I have been to Florida before a couple times and don't remember it being as vividly otherworldly, but...gators on golf courses, I guess!

Snotchocheez Ok...guess my gut was wrong...don't know anything about Janet Evanovich ('cept her latest novel's TV ads were annoying) but if you're okay with Carl Hiaasen, then certainly Tim Dorsey is at least as good, if not better than, Hiaasen. I think they age better, too. Hiaasen tends to focus more on topical issues (one of my favorites of his, "Skin Tight", I recently re-read and was all like "meh" with his topic of South Florida's being the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World theme and harping on easy target Geraldo Rivera being "so early-90s") whereas Dorsey's Serge is obsessed with bizarre, arcane Florida history, which never really gets too old. (And yeah, when I was reading Swamplandia! I was often reminded of Serge, who I'm sure in many of his novels has made reference to kitschy roadside amusement parks of Swamplandia!'s ilk. As for Susan Orlean's Orchid Orgy...ugh...let's just say I'm grateful that Charlie Kaufman found something worth adapting from it..."Adaptation's" Chris Cooper is truly an amazing Floridian caricature, one that was all but buried in Orlean's pistil-paean/pastiche...zzzzzzz) (sorry if yer an orchid aficionado) : )

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