Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hurricane Punch - Tim Dorsey

2007; 362 pages. Book #8 in Dorsey's Serge Storms series. Genres : Humor, Crime Fiction, Beach Novel. Overall Rating : "B+".
Serge Storms, a lovable serial killer (he'd prefer the tag "impromptu dispenser of justice") and Coleman, a complete stoner (he'd prefer the tag "complete stoner") crisscross the state of Florida, eliminating obnoxious characters, enjoying the balmy weather in the eyes of hurricanes, avoiding the relentless pursuit of Agent Mahoney, and trying to figure out why a copycat killer is trying to steal the limelight from Serge.
What's To Like...
The book is laugh out loud funny, as humorous as a Bill Bryson book. There is a nice twist at the end, but as with Stephanie Plum novels, the dialogue and interplay between the characters is more important than the story. Coleman is a hoot (think "Chong" of Cheech and Chong); and Serge is charmingly charismatic.
There is sex and cussing, but it fits here. Then there are the ingenious ways which Serge devises to dispense his vigilante justice. For instance, the wanna-be-a-black-guy white guy who plays his truck stereo at 2000 decibels is dispatched by converting a hotel room into the inside of a giant speaker, tying the offender to a chair in the middle, and zapping his insides with enough reverb to register on the Richter scale. Hannibal Lecter would be jealous.
This was my first Serge Storms book. Dorsey doesn't start with a backstory, so I was a bit confused initially about Serge and Coleman's roles. Also, Serge is a veritable walking encyclopedia of Florida history, culture, and geographical trivia. That's great if you're a Floridian; alas I'm not. But I quibble.
Kewl New Words...
Factotum : an employee who serves in a variety of capacities. (Jeez. I go 50 years without ever meeting this word, and then it crops up in two books in a row). Truculent : disposed to fighting; defiantly aggressive.
She covered the phone and gave Serge an inconvenienced look. "Who are you?"
"The new guys."
"I haven't seen you before."
"We're new." Serge looked back at Coleman. "Take note. That's why she's behind the counter."
"What'd you say?"
"I was telling him I can see how you got to be back there."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It's a neutral statement, personally subjective, like a psychiatrist's butterfly inkblot. If you feel bursting with success, take it as a compliment. If not, consider it a cultural intervention."
She squinted with cranial discomfort. "What are you talking about?"
"Exactly. And that's the question you have to answer for yourself." (pg. 209)
It's only funny until someone gets hurt - then it's hilarious.
Dorsey is often (and aptly) compared to Carl Hiaasen. I've read one book by each author, and so far I find Dorsey much more entertaining and funny. Admittedly, he walks a fine line by making a serial killer and a dopehead his two main heroes. But it works.
There's nothing deep here - so take Hurricane Punch to the beach with you when you plan to work on your tan. Yet it was delightfully entertaining, and I'm sure I'll end up reading more in the series.


Julie said...

Delightfully entertaining can be good at times, right?

Lula O said...

ah,,,lovable serial killer??

Hamilcar Barca said...

Julie - it's been a long time since a book made me giggle out loud. it's that funny.

Lula - i was impressed that Dorsey successfully created a lovable psychopath. that can't be easy to do.

if either of yooze read a Dorsey book, i'd be interested in what you think of him. Dorsey fans say this isn't one of his better efforts.