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

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.

Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press
“[A] rollicking satire.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061833021
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Serge Storms Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
41,035
File size:
772 KB

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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Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms Series #1) 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 327 reviews.
vito More than 1 year ago
Mr. Dorsey has crafted a book filled with stereotypic scumbags doing depraved things that I suppose are meant to be humorous. The occasional well-turned phrase is inadequate compensation for the general absence of plot development and the pervading sense of being slimed this book left me with. Skip it.
clawman More than 1 year ago
I read average of 3 books a month and this book was absolutely GROSS. It went from one over the top, disgustingly cruel scene to next. I would liken it like a severed head rolling down the road. I will never read another of this author's works...I bought 2 on B & N sale and will not start the 2nd....Big waste of read time, money, and paper on which it was printed...a BIG YUCK. Would have given less than one star if was available....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having come across this book in Atlantic Books on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD, I thought to myself, 'Why not...I'm moving there, I might as well read more on the Sunshine State.' I'm glad I bought it, I definitely can say. If you need a laugh, this book certainly provides more than one. Right down to Mo Grenadine being hit by the Conch Train in Key West, I had tears of laughter coming out of my eyes. Tim Dorsey is right next to the 'master of the Florida seriocomic novel,' Carl Hiaasen, in my eyes. Being second to Carl Hiaasen (my favorite author)...that's a great honor!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the funniest, no wait, THEE funniest book I've read in years...and possibly my life. Way to go Dorsey
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh man, this book is nuts!! Dorsey is a lunatic plain and simple!! I thought Carl Hiaasen was insane, but this guy is beyond crazy!!!
Tim_C More than 1 year ago
Started very slow and it was tough to follow. But kept going and ended up really enjoying it. Funny read and worth the effort. Will start the next book in the series shortly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it hard to believe that the average rating for this book is so high. There is no plot just a bunch of hideous situations and scenarios populated by uninteresting characters. Lots of people are killed or maimed in just the first eight chapters; I gave up at that point. The majority of the writing is disjointed clauses with a few complete sentences tossed in. I can't understand how this became a series of stories if this is an example of Dorsey's writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth the 99¿ l paid for it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pathetic story hated it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any humor in this is hard to find and I enjoy dark comedies. None of the chararcters are worth reading about and there is virtually no plot - just rambling situations spliced together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disturbing. The creative killing, the unstable characters, the sadness of the whole book did not make for a good read. MADE myself finish it. Did not pass it on like I usually do with books. Actually tossed it in the garbage. Glad I only paid the bargain price for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second book by Tim Dorsey that I have had the extreme pleasure to read and I pray for more!! I was turned on to Mr. Dorsey by the NY Times Book Review Crime Page and being a part time Florida resident/transient I couldn't resist a look. Mr Dorsey develops outrageous characters and tells a story surrounding the much more outrageout activities of these characters. I found myself breaking out into loud laughter in an otherwise quiet restaurant, more than once. It is my ever humble opinion that Author Tim Dorsey is either insane or a genius. I think the latter with maybe just a touch of madness. Writing that can well be appreciated in the law enforcement world. For some unknown reason I keep thinking of the novel 'Catch Twenty-Two' as I read Dorsey's work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tim Dorsey has added a new twist to the growing popularity of the southern Florida mystery writers such as James Hall, Carl Hiaasan, and my person favorite - Randy White. This story has got it all. From the drugged-out psychotic threesome, to the rejected drug cartel, all the way to the lawyer with morals. I found myself continuously laughing out loud and not wanting to put the book down. But like one of the previous reviewers, I was a bit curious about the abrupt ending... Until I read a local article in the newspaper that Mr. Dorsey claims to be doing a sequel that will pick up where 'FL Roadkill' left off. I can't wait!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Florida Roadkill, and the many successors, certainly do not have a general appeal. The people who have given this a one likely did not read the inside of the cover, or the first chapter which is available in part on this page, before purchasing it. The problems they have with the book are displayed prominently in these places. In some publications of the book, a large heroin needle is prominent on the cover art, to tell you that heroin will appear in the book. If you don't like serial killers, drugs, hookers, and rants about Florida history, you're not gonna like this book.
inkbladder More than 1 year ago
I read a lot (all genres), as probably do you or you wouldn't be reading this. I live in Florida. Like most, I am a transplant, but I love my adopted home of almost 20 years, especially its rich history. Mr. Dorsey's humorous account of serial killer with a heart Serge Storms' adventures are some of the most imaginative stories I have ever read. I understand the reviews that can't stomach this series, it ain't for everyone, but neither is apple pie. I love the way Dorsey often ties obscure Florida history into the tales, and the unique cast of characters that drop out and reappear in their own time seemingly by their own volition. I have caught myself researching the events the stories are based around and discussing my new found knowledge with family and friends. The best description I can come up with is to throw Dave Barry and Elmore Leonard and Kurt Vonnegut in a car, roll it end over end while on fire, let it get put out in the Everglades murky waters, and out will crawl Mr. Dorsey's Serge Storms. I've read every book in the series, and find myself unable to put them down once I start. I can't get enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had such high hopes for this book as it was compared to Hiaasen's work. Despite the fact that it had minimal continuity, zero plot development. Unknowable characters randomly blasting in and out of the picture, I actually finished it. Now if only i could figure out what it was about. That'll teach me not to ignore the Readers ratings. What a catastrophy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only can this author not spin a story, what he does spin sounds like he has watched one too many Ace Ventura movies, and lacks the basic skills to copy the decent parts. The descriptions of the characters can only be from the mind of a syphillitic monkey, or that of a teenager who watches too many bad hollywood crime depictions and has read one too many fantasies from a porn mag. What a piece of garbage. Not worth reading. If you get this as a gift its because that person hates you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an odd "murder mystery" with lots of twists. If you're a Floridian, you'll recognize many of the places and several of the characters. The humor, in my opinion, rarely evokes more than a smile or light chuckle. The storyline is disjointed. (In at least two places the timeline looped back upon itself in a way that left me wondering if there were errors in the creation of the eBook.) Only one character (Serge) is more than one-dimensional. As one reviewer wrote, much of the sex and violence seems gratuitous. Alll in all: not highly recommended, but I did "enjoy" it enough to want to finish reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the whole book, but it wasn't one that I just couldn't put down. It really jumped around in the beginning and the characters didn't make me care enough to rush out and get the next book in the series. The author did tie it all together in the end, but I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it a lot. It was fast paced and funny, and different from anything I have read before. Read the first few pages and you will want to continue.
irunwithscissors More than 1 year ago
Good luck on keeping up with all the characters. I just gave up and didn't finish the book.
elsa1 More than 1 year ago
I deleted it from my library. Did not read it. Isn't there a lesser rating?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dorsey uses imaginative and original methods of murder and twists the lines of several people's lives into one another. I couldn't wait to always read the next chapter, and I can't wait to read the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a fun read. As I am sitting in Florida, I am imagining the scenes of the characters bumbling around the area. It is not great literature, but with a name like "Florida Roadkill" who would expect it to be?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and found it to be an easy read. I also enjoed the fact that a lot of the places in the bok I have been to... really allows you to visualize ttje settings.