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Culture, Politics and Technology

Another manic ride with Serge

Gator A-Go-Go
Gator A-Go-Go
By Tim Dorsey

Random House: 2010

To learn more about this book, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Tim Dorsey has somehow made a successful career out of writing books about an affable serial killer and his stoner sidekick. Serge Storms is very definitely a protagonist, but the sort of protagonist you might get by crossing Dave Barry with Hunter Thompson and Truman Capote.

The latest romp with Serge takes place during Florida's spring break. Once again, Serge delivers lessons on Florida's lost cultural history (the first spring break, for instance). And once again, he administers fitting ends to some truly despicable characters – each delivered to the great hereafter in a unique and bloody method.

Fans of Dorsey's earlier Serge Storms novels (this is the twelfth in the series) will recognize some old characters who have returned, both bad guys and cops.

But Dorsey strays a bit from the roadmap that's served him (and his highly entertained readers) so well in previous novels. For instance, this go-round, Serge ends up killing someone for road rage. What's made the whole construct of Serge as palatable as it is hilarious is that he only kills those who unquestionably deserve it. Road rage? Bit of a speed bump there.

And Serge's moralistic diatribes against Christian evangelicals and in favor of gay marriage distract from the overall spirit of debauchery that marks a Serge Storms novel. I've no statistical evidence to back this up, but I do have a real strong hunch that few people pick up a Tim Dorsey book to get a political or social lecture. (And really: if you're trying to bring folks around to your point of view on the hot political topics of the day, is a merciless serial killer really the best vehicle to deliver your message?)

Still, for the most part, "Gator A-Go-Go" is another hilarious road trip with one of the most unique characters in popular fiction.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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