Mixing crime and humor is hard: a delicate balance must be maintained between the clever and the cute, between the cheap cackle and the meaningful guffaw. Dorsey is a master of this high-wire act, and reader Oliver Wyman makes a perfect partner. Dorsey's 10th caper about serial killer Serge A. Storms gives Wyman the chance to show off his amazing vocal range. He starts with a snidely funny old woman ("We call Viagra 'granny abuse,' " she says) recounting for a TV crew what happened when Serge and his mob of Florida misfits took over a cruise ship she was on. A flashback to the planning stage finds Serge (a smart, edgy and somewhat whiny voice) and his dumber colleague Coleman setting up the deal. There's a gorgeous stripper named Rachel, assorted villains and a passel of DEA agents and other cops. Wyman balances them all with ease, giving listeners who like their comedy bloody and bawdy lots of fun. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 3). (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Atomic Lobster (Serge Storms Series #10)by Tim Dorsey, Oliver Wyman
Why is everyone rushing to flee Tampa on a cruise ship to hell?
Serge is back with a bullet, torn between homicide and souvenirs. So is Coleman, torn between getting hammered and getting more hammered. Then there's good ol' Jim Davenport, the E-Team, the Diaz Brothers, and Johnny Vegas, the Accidental Virgin, cranking up the/blockquote>/p>… See more details below
Why is everyone rushing to flee Tampa on a cruise ship to hell?
Serge is back with a bullet, torn between homicide and souvenirs. So is Coleman, torn between getting hammered and getting more hammered. Then there's good ol' Jim Davenport, the E-Team, the Diaz Brothers, and Johnny Vegas, the Accidental Virgin, cranking up the fevered action as the pot boils over on a street called Lobster Lane.
It's reunion time in the Sunshine State, and we're not just talking the family jamboree of that blood-soaked criminal clan, the McGraws, whose nastiest, meanest member is finally released from prison and heads south bent on revenge. On top of it all, the government is covering up a growing list of mysterious victims across Florida who may or may not be connected to a nefarious plot being hatched against national security.
But wait! There's more on the horizon! Who is the oddly familiar femme fatale named Rachael? Is Serge wrong that guns, drugs, and strippers don't mix? What sets the Non-Confrontationalists off on a rampage? What finally brings Coleman and Lenny together? Will they succeed in building the biggest bong ever? And can Serge surf a rogue wave to victory?
So batten the hatches, don the life jackets, and take cover as all these questions and more are answered in the latest adventure from the acclaimed author of Hurricane Punch.
Read an Excerpt
The day before the incident at the Sunshine Skyway bridge
Ten a.m. Soon, the regular afternoon sun showers would roll in from the east to cool things down. But for now, another sticky, cloudless morning in Tampa. Palm trees. Broken taillight glass. No wind. Minimum-wage people perspired under a covered bus stop at the southern end of the transit line. A '73 Mercury Comet entered the parking lot of a decaying shopping center and headed up a row of tightly packed cars.
Coleman twisted a fat one in his lips. "I'm bored."
"Just keep an eye out for cops." The Mercury reached the end of the row, made a U-turn and started up another. Serge assessed each empty vehicle, but nothing felt right.
"What about your first plan?" asked Coleman, flicking a Bic. "You said it would definitely work."
"It did." Serge glanced down at the Macy's sack atop the drivetrain hump on the floor between their feet. "Line the inside of a shopping bag by gluing ten layers of aluminum foil, then more strips along the seams. Guaranteed to defeat most stores' security detectors."
"What did you steal?"
"More foil. I ran out making my bag."
"Being broke sucks."
"Just watch for cops."
The Comet turned up another row.
"See anything?" asked Coleman.
"Then why are you smiling?"
"Because I love this shopping center. Britton Plaza." Serge pointed his camera out the windshield. "Note the giant, fifties-era arch over the sign. Not many left." Click. "And that movie theater. Sidewalks got jack-hammered in front of all theother stores for new ones, but they preserved the original marbleized pavement in front of the cinema with its metal inlays of happy-sad thespian masks, which I can never get enough of and—Hold everything!"
"What is it? Why are you slowing?"
"That old woman with the walker. Range, fifty yards." He reached under his seat for a crowbar.
"Serge! It's an old lady!"
"I'm not going to hit her." He rolled down his window and rested the steel shaft on the door frame. "Timing's absolutely crucial."
"Watch carefully. It'll all be over in a blink."
"I don't see anything. What am I supposed to be looking for? . . . Holy shit! That punk just nailed her in the face and snatched her purse!"
Serge didn't answer, his foot twitching on the gas pedal.
"He's running toward us!" yelled Coleman.
"Steady . . . steady . . . Now!" Serge hit the accelerator. Tires squealed. He swung the crowbar, clothes-lining the thief in the Adam's apple. Legs flew out. A body slammed to the pavement. The Comet stopped.
Serge opened the door and herded stray contents back into the purse. He returned to the car, driving a few seconds to a group of Good Samaritans who'd run to the woman's aid.
"Hey!" yelled Serge, hanging out the driver's window and twirling the handbag by its strap like a lasso. "Here's her purse. Catch . . ."
Serge slammed the gearshift in reverse. The Comet squiggled backward and screeched to a halt next to an unsteady man trying to get his footing.
Serge jumped out again. "Let me help you up." A knee to the crotch. "Coleman, the trunk."
"I'm on it."
A half minute later, the Comet skidded out of the parking lot and turned north on Dale Mabry Highway. "That really pissed me off."
"Me too," said Coleman. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
"It's the decline of the Florida shopping experience." Serge sped up to make a yellow light. "Old ladies getting mugged, no more S&H Green Stamps."
The Gulf of Mexico was typically serene, rippling with a leisurely wake behind the SS Serendipity on its return voyage from Cozumel. Three hundred miles to the mouth of Tampa Bay. A row of luxury suites on the port side faced the shimmering water. The second cabin from the end, number 6453, was registered to three Latin men in white linen suits. They were accompanied by a fourth occupant, decidedly against his will. Heels dragged across the carpet as the others muscled him into the bathroom.
"But I delivered the shipment just like you said! Didn't you get it?"
"We got it," said Tommy Diaz. He hung a trifold canvas case from the shower head and unsnapped it. The bag fell open to reveal a nineteen-piece kitchen cutlery set.
"W-w-what are those for?" asked the guest, now pinned to the bottom of the tub.
"Rafael, tape his mouth."
"Wait! Stop! Just hold on a second! . . . I don't understand. I did everything I was supposed to. You said you got the shipment."
Tommy pulled the largest carving knife from its sheath, touching the tip with his finger. "And don't think it's not appreciated."
"Then why are you doing this?"
"Because you know about the shipment."
Tape went over the mouth. The hostage's terrified eyes looked up at a trio of faces looking back down: the Diaz Brothers. Tommy, Rafael and Benito. Used to be the Diaz Boys, ten years ago when cousin Juan was involved. Juan was allowed in the gang because they swore to his mom that they'd treat him like a brother. Then Juan died in a tragic hurricane accident when they wouldn't let him into a cramped storm shelter because he was the cousin. That left them short with only two, so they let baby brother Benito into the gang like Andy Gibb.
"Rafael," said Tommy. "Turn up the stereo. This could get noisy."
". . . Send lawyers, guns and money . . ."
"Hey, Tommy. It's the Z-man."
"Will you get back in here? He's a wiggler."
"Listen to all that racket he's making," said Rafael, "even with the mouth tape."
"This will quiet him down," said Tommy. "Hold those shoulders still."
". . . get me out of this! . . ."
Tommy thrust with a firm crossing motion.
"Goddammit!" said Rafael. "Look at my new shirt!"
"Told you to hold him still," said Tommy. "It's like you've never worked with arterial spray before."
"I'll teach him to fuck up my threads!" Rafael reached for the cutlery set. "Bleed on me, motherfucker? . . . Take this! . . . And this! . . . And this! . . . And this! . . ."Atomic Lobster. Copyright © by Tim Dorsey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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