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Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7)

Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7)

4.1 30
by Tim Dorsey

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The drinks are on us!

Serge A. Storm returns -- and so does Tim Dorsey -- for another hilarious tour of the wacky underside of the Sunshine State. And this time our lovable but maniacal hero is on a mission: Stay off police radar and reinvent himself.

Naturally Serge makes a beeline to


The drinks are on us!

Serge A. Storm returns -- and so does Tim Dorsey -- for another hilarious tour of the wacky underside of the Sunshine State. And this time our lovable but maniacal hero is on a mission: Stay off police radar and reinvent himself.

Naturally Serge makes a beeline to the Reinvention Capital of the United States, the Florida Keys, where nobody is who they seem to be and the freaks are the least of your worries.

The perfect place for Serge to blend in!

Unfortunately, some other less likable lunatics have latched on to the same idea, and the sheriff's fax machine keeps jamming because of all the APBs coming in like a storm front about to break ... Lurking beneath paradise are many questions: Who is the mystery driver of the metallic green Trans Am? The brown Plymouth Duster with Ohio plates? What about the white Mercedes with tinted windows?

Who can keep it all straight?

Serge can!

At least when he's not conch blowing, Seven-Mile Bridge running, underwater romancing, operating an all-inclusive twelve-step program, or trying to convince his accidental posse that he's not the messiah.

But the questions only lead to more questions: Why is everyone afraid to set foot on No Name Key? Why are they more afraid of the smuggler left over from the old days, when all the phone booths are covered with drug dealers' numbers? What was Serge thinking when he got married? What was she thinking? Who rises from the dead to wreak havoc on the newlyweds' bliss? Will the Skunk Ape win the scavenger hunt? Who will survive the Key West beach bash from hell? And why is everyone hammered all the time?

Maybe it's something in the Torpedo Juice ...

Editorial Reviews

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.
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.”

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
A Novel

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 back reading 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 ...

Torpedo Juice
A Novel
. Copyright © by Tim Dorsey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, and is the author of nineteen other novels: Coconut Cowboy, Shark Skin Suite, Tiger Shrimp Tango, The Riptide Ultra-Glide, Pineapple Grenade, When Elves Attack, Electric Barracuda, Gator A-Go-Go, Nuclear Jellyfish, Atomic Lobster, Hurricane Punch, The Big Bamboo, Torpedo Juice, Cadillac Beach, The Stingray Shuffle, Triggerfish Twist, Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, and Florida Roadkill. He lives in Tampa, Florida.

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Torpedo Juice (Serge Storms Series #7) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Another fun Serge Storms tale. If you’ve read other books in the series then you know what to expect as this follows a similar theme (although I did find the narrator interlude funny and refreshing). If you haven’t and you’re looking for looking for a ridiculous romp through the Florida Keys step right up and get ready for some fun. As always Tim Dorsey produces a fun and well written tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.