CBR #14 – A Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey

You know what you’re getting with Serge A. Storms.  Dorsey has been writing pretty much the same song for seventeen books now.  It’s your usual.  If you pick up the book, you know the story.  And while the character might shuffle and the events might be slightly varying, it’s pretty much the exact same thing. Serge rides around Florida, with Coleman — his drug chugging booze infested Sancho Panza — and they admire Florida landmarks while Serge kills some wrongdoers.  The day is saved, Serge bangs a beautiful bikini clad broad, and they escape capture while rolling up and down America’s Dong.

So it has been, so shall it be.

If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.  None are spectacular.  None are life changing.  It is the same thing.  It’s the Applebee’s of Florida Man Batshit.  And it works every time. Hiaasen kind of started the artform, and Dorsey cashed in.  He’s not trying to do anything different, or moreso, or even altering the game.  It’s always the same book, and there’s a certain comfort in that.  You know what you’re getting.

Serge is a great character, and the Florida trivia is always kind of Snapple bottle top chuckleworthy.  Serge gets elaborate to levels of the middle Saw movies with his Rube Goldbergian murder contraptions.  He always leaves an out, and he always operates like some murderous Mr. Wizard.  So the cops find these mangle corpses and then we discover what horrors Serge inflicted on some banking scumbag or scheming criminal.

Dorsey reads like Jimmy Buffett playing protest songs.  It’s got this whole Son of a Son of a Son of a Bitch motif where he riffs on current events like the mortgage crisis or elder scamming or the like.  It always works, and Serge always saves the day.  Every January, I know there will be a new garishly covered tome waiting for me, and I always chuckle my way through.

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