Florida Roadkill

Tim Dorsey, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (273p) ISBN 978-0-688-16782-0
This dizzying road movie of a first novel follows a passel of comic con men (and one con woman) down and around the Florida coast. Their adventures involve deliciously caricatured characters along with delirious violence, not to mention pigeon-eating maniacs, cocaine, traffic jams, biker gangs, hot-tub accidents, mock-Satanic heavy metal bands, partially frozen crocodilians, the World Series and the space shuttle. Serge and Coleman are roommates, manic ne'er-do-wells trying to fashion a living from crime and adventure. Sexy Sharon Rhodes murders magnates for their life insurance. On the run after her last hit, she meets Serge and Coleman, and the trio start a crime spree. Former millionaire George Veale has just been released from prison when he absconds with a suitcase of drug money. The cash belongs to insurance CEO Charles Saffron, who hires sleazy private investigator Mo Grenadine to get it back. (Mo is also a corrupt right-wing state legislator and a gay-baiting talk radio host.) Serge and Coleman (themselves remotely connected to drug cartels) get wind of the suitcase and scheme for the cash. Sharon wants in on the caper, too, whether or not the two men planned it that way. Dorsey's cast of dangerous oddballs chase, rob, shoot and kill their way from Tampa to the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas, until their raucous evasion of law catches up with them. Dorsey is a newspaperman by trade (at the Tampa Tribune), and his sentence rhythm can be crisply journalistic: ""Wilbur Putzenfus was losing hair on top and working the comb-over. No tan. No tone.... Spiro Agnew without the power."" Floridian readers may laugh or wince as Dorsey skewers the state's foibles and stereotypes. But he can abandon his verbal dexterity and his social observation to get a quick laugh or a quick jolt of violence: as a result, his satire seems less serious than it might be. Admirers of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiassen will note their influences here; as entertainment, this rollicking, over-the-top novel is a blast. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1999
Release date: 08/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 273 pages - 978-0-06-113922-2
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-134408-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-380-73233-3
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-115357-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 288 pages - 978-0-06-115341-9
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-183302-1
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