Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7)

Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7)

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by Tim Dorsey

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The drinks are on Sunshine State historian/spree killer Serge A. Storms, who's decided it's high time he got married. So he's motoring down to the Florida Keys — the ultimate end of the line — in search of Ms. Right . . .

and finding his doped-up basket case bud Coleman along the way. But for Serge, "getting hitched" doesn't necessarily mean "settling


The drinks are on Sunshine State historian/spree killer Serge A. Storms, who's decided it's high time he got married. So he's motoring down to the Florida Keys — the ultimate end of the line — in search of Ms. Right . . .

and finding his doped-up basket case bud Coleman along the way. But for Serge, "getting hitched" doesn't necessarily mean "settling down" — not when South Florida is crawling with slimeballs, swindlers, unrepentant jerks, and annoying bystanders whose ranks need some serious thinning.

Editorial Reviews

Charleston Post & Courier
“Wildly entertaining”
Miami Herald
“Explosively funny”
Tampa Tribune
“A raucous good time of a ride”
Pittsburgh Tribune
“Brutally funny”
Florida Today
“Dorsey has another winner on his hands with Torpedo Juice.”
Denver Rocky Mountain News
“Grade: A. Bust a gut laughing. . . It doesn’t get any better.”
Publishers Weekly
In his seventh screwball mystery, Dorsey (Cadillac Beach; Orange Crush) serves up his usual cocktail of tropical mayhem and humor, though the mix is a little slushy this time around. Serge Storms, the nutty serial killer from Dorsey's previous novels, has gotten it into his head to search for Mrs. Right. His quest takes him to the underbelly of the Florida Keys, where he finds unlikely true love the minute he spots mousy librarian Molly. But even marriage can't tame Dorsey's hyperactive antihero, whose extracurricular activities of murder and cult organizing eventually lead to a clash with an Enron-like CEO eager to rebuild the community, and with a mysterious drug lord who is intent on destroying it. Muddying the waters are Coleman, an annoying junkie with the mentality of a fourth grader; Gus DeLand, a deputy whose ex-girlfriend's revelations about his sex life have the whole town laughing; and Anna Sebring, a woman out to avenge her brother's death. A few ingenious plot points entertain, but never credibly intersect; the hectic action fails to add up to a smooth-flowing story. The colorful Keys get Dorsey's trademark treatment, but even irrepressible zaniness isn't enough to keep this leaky vessel afloat. 7-city author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Now that Martha Stewart is in the slammer, the country yearns for guidance in the finer points of social behavior. This makes Dorsey's seventh novel (after Cadillac Beach) all the more timely. Serge A. Storms is in the Florida Keys, acting as the No Name Pub's social director for a mismatched aggregation of barflies and psychopaths and trying his best to steer them back into the human herd. He's a font of wisdom about everything from mixing drinks ("Torpedo Juice" calls for pure grain alcohol and three parts Red Bull) to dispensing advice about the best place for cheap live entertainment (AA meetings). Oh, and he's on the prowl for a woman. Armed with binoculars and his own patented dating kit (a dozen roses in a four-dollar vase, plus a set of pipe wrenches, and an out-of-order sign), he's out to snare librarian Molly. Along the way, Serge deals with a ruthless land developer and a drug smuggler, but Dorsey firmly focuses on Serge's assault on etiquette. Sure to please Carl Hiassen fans, this is a safe bet for public libraries everywhere. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/04.]-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Serge Storms Series, #7
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Torpedo Juice

By Dorsey, Tim

William Morrow & Company

ISBN: 0060585609

Chapter One

It was another typically beautiful morning in the middle of the Florida Keys. People were drunk and people were screaming.

Patrons from the roadside bars heard the commotion and carried drinks outside to watch the routine mess on U.S. 1, the Nation's Highway, 2,209 miles from Fort Kent, Maine, on the Canadian border, to the tip of Key West.

The road was snarled to the horizon in both directions. Standard procedure: midmorning congestion, then the chain reaction of rear-enders from inattention. Now a parking lot.

Drivers honked, shouted obscenities, turned off their engines and popped beers. A Mercury overheated and the hood went up. Ninety-nine degrees.

Two sheriff's deputies stood at the window of their airconditioned substation on Cudjoe Key. Veterans Gus DeLand and Walter St. Cloud. Drinking coffee. It was the beginning of the shift, the part where they were supposed to review the latest bulletins on all the serial killers and mass murderers heading their way.

Gus looked out the window with his hands on his hips. "We've got to do something about that road."

"I've never seen a crucifixion before," said Walter, holding a ceramic cup covered with swimsuit models. "Check out this new mug. I got it in Vegas. When you pour a hot beverage in it, like coffee, the bathing suits disappear. I don't know how it works."

The fax activated. Gus headed toward it.

He came backreading the all-points bulletin. "... Brown Plymouth Duster, brown Plymouth Duster, brown Plymouth ..."

"What are you doing?" asked Walter, holding a coffee mug at eye level.

"Mnemonic device. Possible serial killer heading this way... . brown Plymouth Duster, brown ..."

The fax started again.

Gus came back with another piece of paper. "... Metallic green Trans Am, metallic green Trans Am, metallic green ..."

"I brought one back for you, too."

"... Trans Am ... What?"

"Coffee mug." Walter set it on Gus's desk. "Figured you might need it since you're divorced."

Gus stuck the mug in a bottom drawer.

"Aren't you going to use it?"

"I'm not sure it's appropriate in the office. But thanks for thinking of me." Gus held up the second APB. "Spree killings in Fort Pierce. Six dead and counting. They got a partial license." Gus began repeating a number.

Walter set his mug down on the first APB, making a round stain. "So, busy day already. Crucifixion, traffic jam and now two serial killers on the way."

"No, the second is a spree killer." Gus handed the fax to Walter.

"What's the difference?"

"One's in more of a hurry."

"They always come down here."

"And blend right in."

"How's that?"

"Just look at 'em all out there," said Gus. "Hell-bent to lose their minds in Key West. A psychopath would be the quiet one."

"But it doesn't make sense," said Walter. "They're on the run, and this is the ultimate dead end. What are they thinking?"

"Who says they're thinking?"

The log jam started at Mile Marker 27 on Ramrod Key, feeding on itself for an hour. New arrivals flying down the Keys in convertibles and motorcycles and pickups pulling boats, getting closer to Key West, anticipation busting out of the cage, coming upon stalled traffic way too fast.

It quickly backed up over the Seven-Mile Bridge. People with to-go cups of warm draft stood in front of the Overseas Lounge and watched a Chevy Avalanche sail into a Cutlass, knocking the next six cars together like billiards, a half dozen airbags banging open like a string of firecrackers. Three minutes later, the audience outside the Brass Monkey saw a Silverado plow into a Mazda, the twenty-two-foot Boston Whaler on the pickup's trailer catapulting over the cab.

Sirens reached the Sandbar, a rustic stilt-top lounge poking out of the mangroves on Little Torch Key. Customers ran to the cross-breeze windows overlooking South Pine Channel and the bottled-up ambulances unable to cross the bridge. The gang at Boondocks heard a whap-whap-whap-whap and looked up at the runners of a sheriff's helicopter called in by the stranded emergency vehicles.

The Mercury with the raised hood had since caught fire, and the tiki bar crowd at the Looe Key Reef Resort appreciated the uncomplicated entertainment value when it reached the gas tank. A fishing guide with sun-cracked skin set his Miller on the bar. "This is worse than general. I have to make Boca Chica this afternoon."

"Why don't you call Foley?" asked the bartender. "See if it's reached."

A cell phone rang inside the bar at Sugarloaf Lodge.

"Foley here. Hold a sec, let me stick my head out... . No, road's clear here. Traffic's fine—" Crash. "Check that. A dope boat just rolled ... because I can see the bricks in the street ... Yeah, people are grabbing them and running away... ."

More whap-whap-whap. Another chopper cleared the roof of the No Name Pub, a 1935 roadhouse hidden in the banana trees on Bogie Channel.

The customers wandered out the screen door and up the road, where a helicopter hovered over the bridge. Loudspeakers cleared the fishermen below, and the aircraft set down, scattering bait pails.

The rotors stopped. One of the pilots in a green jumpsuit got out and took off her helmet.

A bar patron approached. "What's going on?"

"Car fire caught the brush on Summerland and jumped the road. Need a place to rest the engines."

Three more patrons leaned against the bridge's railing. The oldest was a well-read biker from north Florida named Sop Choppy who had relocated to the Keys under hazy circumstances. Bob was the middle in age. He operated a very seasonal accounting firm on the island and closed in the summer to run a customerless tour service with his personal pleasure craft for tax reasons. The youngest was also named Bob ... Continues...

Excerpted from Torpedo Juice by Dorsey, Tim Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
The twists surpriswe me every time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the characters Dorsey has created. Every one of the books in this series is funny, interesting, and fast passed. If you enjoy reading about bad people getting what they deserve and are not bothered by the vigilante being an insane killer, buy this book - buy the entire series.
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If you only read one in this series - this is the one! Really funny and a good introduction to Dorsey's world. Laugh out loud funny with only a few murder victims to put you off your midnight snack attack.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest romp with Serge Storms, Florida historian and serial killer with a cause. While not reaching the heights of 'Orange Crush' and 'Hammerhead Ranch Motel', this was a fast and entertaining read. A small criticism is that the resurrection of a central character stretches the imagination-there are no shortages of similar characters in Florida. As a longtime camper who also honeymooned in the Middle Keys I enjoyed the social and geographical references. Serge's observations on marriage are hilarious and spot on. The closing plot twist is handled well and is both surprising and satisfying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Serge Storms, Florida history buff and eccentric sower of mayhem and violence, takes on the Florida Keys with a decidedly different search for a wife. His tactics generate pepper spray more often that first dates, but he perseveres until he gets an 'I do.' But Serge finds a lot of things about marriage mystifying, especially guest towels. Between organizing a cult, rushing his junkie friend Coleman to the emergency room, foiling the plans of a slimy CEO, and dodging the attentions of a serial killer, Serge doesn¿t have much time to work out the details of marital bliss. This book was a slow-starter for me ¿ it took a while to build up interest in the multitude of plot lines. However, once Serge starts driving the action, the pace picks up to Dorsey's usual zany blur. Serge's thoughts on marriage are funny enough to smooth over some of the rough patches. The disparate plots come together in the end, but not quite as convincingly as they have in past books. But Dorsey's beloved Florida shines through, and he is still adept at finding humor in the most amazingly dark spaces of the human psyche.