Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms Series #1) by Tim Dorsey, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms Series #1)

Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms Series #1)

3.1 327
by Tim Dorsey
     
 

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Sunshine State trivia buff Serge A. Storms loves eliminating jerks and pests. His drug-addled partner Coleman loves cartoons. Hot stripper Sharon Rhodes loves cocaine, especially when purchased with rich dead men's money.

On the other hand, there's Sean and David, who love fishing and are kind to animals — and who are about to cross paths with a suitcase

Overview

Sunshine State trivia buff Serge A. Storms loves eliminating jerks and pests. His drug-addled partner Coleman loves cartoons. Hot stripper Sharon Rhodes loves cocaine, especially when purchased with rich dead men's money.

On the other hand, there's Sean and David, who love fishing and are kind to animals — and who are about to cross paths with a suitcase filled with $5 million in stolen insurance money. Serge wants the suitcase. Sharon wants the suitcase. Coleman wants more drugs . . . and the suitcase. In the meantime, there's murder by gun, Space Shuttle, Barbie doll, and Levi's 501s.

In other words, welcome to Tim Dorsey's Florida — where nobody gets out unscathed and untanned!

Editorial Reviews

Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press
“[A] rollicking satire.”
Miami Herald
Impossible as it sounds, Dorsey has muscled in on the big guns' territory and ripped the place upside down and inside out. Jittery, bizarre and utterly charming...Roadkill reads like Quentin Tarantino wrote it on a rum-and-speedball binge after baking too long in the ferocious August sun. Except Tarantino's characters are a bit tame in comparison to some of Dorsey's mangy minions.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A violent, funny, hyperkinetic novel...where the bizarre is downright commonplace.
New York Times Book Review
Vulgar, violent, and gaudier than sunsets on the Keys, Dorsey's roadshow is some fun.
Tampa Tribune
Fiercely energetic, outrageously funny...imagine Hunter S. Thompson sharing a byline with Groucho Marx.
James W. Hall
A red-line, juking, jiving, manic, tequila-laced, triple-espresso ride through the flipped-out, ultra-scuzzy, bullet-between-the-eyes state of Florida...Wow, what a ride.
Tom Tolworthy
If the pen is mightier than the sword, Carl Hiassen writes with an x-acto knife, and Tim Dorsey writes with a chainsaw. —President of B&N Superstores
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this debut, lots of people are after a suitcase full of money that got dropped in the wrong car: two bad guys, one obsessed with Florida history (the setting is Miami) and another with cocaine; one lady, whos also a killer; and the good-guy lawyer. Dorsey is night news coordinator of the Tampa Tribune, so expect good detail.
Publisher's Weekly
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 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 Hiaasen will note their influence here; as entertainment, this rollicking, over-the-top novel is a blast.
Kirkus Reviews
Hilarious set pieces distinguish this otherwise sluggishly plotted contribution to Sunbelt Baroque, the genre epitomized by Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061139222
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Series:
Serge Storms Series, #1
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
78,920
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

Read an Excerpt

Eleven months before the World Series, in November, the start of the tourist season, the beaches off St. Petersburg were jammed with pasty people.

As always, Sharon Rhodes knew every eye was on her as she walked coyly along the edge of the surf, twirling a bit of hair with a finger. A volleyball game stopped. Footballs and Frisbees fell in the water. Guys lost track of conversations with their wives and got socked.

She was the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in person. Six feet tall, gently curling blonde hair cascading over her shoulders and onto the top of her black bikini. She had a Carnation Milk face with high cheekbones and a light dusting of freckles. Her lips were full, pouty and cruel in the way that makes men drive into buildings.

She stopped as if to think, stuck an index finger in her lips and sucked. Men became woozy. She turned and splashed out into three feet of water and dunked herself. When she came up, she shook her head side to side, flinging wet blonde hair, and thrust out her nipples.

There was nothing in Sharon a man wanted to love, caress or defend. This was tie-me-up-and-hurt-me stuff, everything about her shouting at a man, "I will destroy all that is dear to YOU," and the man says, "Yes, please."

Wilbur Putzenfus was losing hair on top and working the comb-over. No tan. No tone. A warrior of the business cubicle, with women he was socially retarded. Spiro Agnew without the power. A hundred and fifty pounds of unrepentant geek-on-wheels.

Sharon threw her David Lee Roth beach towel down next to his, lay on her stomach and untied her top.

Wilbur studied Sharon with a series of stolen glimpses that wouldn'thave been so obvious if they hadn't been made through the viewfinder of a camcorder.

When Wilbur ran out of videotape Sharon raised up on her elbows, tits hanging, and said to him in a low, husky voice, "I like to do it in public.

Wilbur was apoplectic.

Sharon replaced her top and stood up. She reached down, took Wilbur by the hand and tried to get him to his feet, but his legs didn't work right, Bambi's first steps.

She walked him over to the snack bar and showers. Against a thicket of hibiscus was one of those plywood cutouts, the kind with a hole that tourists stick their faces through for snapshots.

This one had a large cartoon shark swallowing a tourist feet first. The tourist wore a straw hat, had a camera hanging from a strap around his neck, and was banging on the shark's snout.

The bushes shielded the backside of the plywood from public view, but the front faced heavy foot traffic on the boardwalk.

Sharon told Wilbur to put his face in the hole, and he complied. She told him not to take his head out of the hole or she would permanently stop what she was doing. She pulled his plaid bathing trunks to his ankles, kneeled down and applied her expertise.

Some of the guys from the volleyball game had been following Sharon like puppy dogs, and they peeked behind the plywood. Then they walked around the front of the cutout and stood on the sidewalk, pointing and laughing at Wilbur. Word spread.

The crowd was over a hundred by the time Wilbur's saliva started to meringue around his mouth. His eyes came unplugged and rolled around in their sockets, and he made sounds like Charlie Callas.

Finally, nearing crescendo, Wilbur stared bug-eyed at the crowd and yelled between shallow breaths, "WILL ... YOU... MAR-RY... ME?"

"Yeth," came the answer from behind the plywood, a female voice with a mouth full, and the crowd cheered.

Wilbur Putzenfus, a claims executive with a major Tampa Bay HMO, was not an ideal catch. But he could provide a comfortable life. Wilbur's job was to deny insurance claims filed with the Family First Health Maintenance Organization ("We're here because we care"). As Family First's top claims denial supervisor, Wilbur handled the really difficult patients, the ones who demanded the company fulfill its policies.

Wilbur was promoted to this position after a selfless display of ethical turpitude that had revolutionized the company. On his own he'd launched a secret study that showed wrongful-death suits were cheaper than paying for organ transplants covered by their policies.

"So we should stop covering transplants?" asked a director during the watershed board meeting.

"No," said Wilbur, "we'd lose business and profit. We should just stop paying the claims."

"We can do that?" asked the director.

"Gentlemen," said Wilbur, grabbing the edge of the conference table with both hands. "These people are terribly ill and in serious need of immediate medical treatment. They're in no shape to argue with us."

"Brilliant," went the murmur around the table.

As the senior claims denier, Wilbur handled only the most tenacious and meritorious claims that bubbled up through lower levels of impediment.

While a simple coward in person, Wilbur became a vicious coward behind the relative safety of a longdistance phone call- Wilbur answered each appeal with the predisposition that no claim would get by, regardless of legitimacy, company rules, reason and especially fairness. When cornered by an airtight argument, Wilbur responded with a tireless flurry of Byzantine logic. If all else failed and it looked like a claim had to be approved, there was the secret weapon. It became legend around the industry as the Putzenfus Gambit.

"It's an obvious typographical mistake on the bill. Why can't you fix it?" the policyholder would ask.

"I don't have that authority."

"Who does?"

"I can't tell you."

"Why not?!"

"I'm not allowed to give out that information."

"What's the phone number of your main office?"

"I'm not authorized to disclose that number."

"Fine! I'll get it myself. What city is your main office in?"

Silence.

"Are you still there?"

"I'm not allowed to talk to you anymore."

Click.

Sharon's engagement ring was from denied dialysis. The wedding floral arrangement from rejected prescriptions and the open bar from obstructed physical therapy. The buffet was subsidized by untaken CAT scans that would have found a tiny bone fragment that later paralyzed a fourth grader...

What People are saying about this

James A. Hall
A red—line, juking, jiving, manic, tequilla—laced, triple—espresso ride through the flipped—out, ultra—skuzzy, bullet—between—the—eyes state of Florida…Wow, what a ride.
Les Standiford
Florida Roadkill out-Hiaasens Hiaasen. It is deranged, depraved, and dead-on in its look at nefarious doings in the Sunshine State; clearly Tim Dorsey deserves to be our next President, or at least, Florida's official greeter.
— (Les Standiford, author of Presidential Deal)
M. John Harrison
I loved this. Thomas Pynchon hacks it out with Hunter S. Thompson: referee, Elmore Leonard. But much more, too. I was close to being sick with laughter at times, other times just close to being sick. Great fun, so jittery and underwritten. More books about Serge, please. For my money he can just go up and down the peninsula stealing really good cars and killing people (after first lecturing them on local history) forever.
— (M. John Harrison, author of Signs of Life and The Course of the Heart)
James Hall
Florida Roadkill is a redline, juking, jiving, manic, tequila-laced triple espresso ride from north to south through the flipped out, ultra-scuzzy, bullet-between-the-eyes state of Florida. And what a tour guide Tim Dorsey is. This guy is an insane comic angel with uranium for brains and fifty heartbeats a second. So strap yourself in tight, double-check the airbag, say your best prayer, sit back and let this baby rocket you from zero to past the sound barrier in minus three seconds. Wow, what a ride.
— (James Hall, author of Body Language and Bones of Coral)

Meet the Author

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, and is the author of eighteen other novels. He lives in Tampa, Florida.

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