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Triggerfish Twist (Serge Storms Series #4)

Triggerfish Twist (Serge Storms Series #4)

4.5 33
by Tim Dorsey

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When Tim Dorsey sat down to write his first novel, the hilarious and hugely successful Florida Roadkill, he killed off way too many people. Now he needs them back. So in Triggerfish Twist, Dorsey invites us to take a warped trip back in time as he reunites the living with the soon to be very dead. And for the uninitiated, what a perfect place to start!


When Tim Dorsey sat down to write his first novel, the hilarious and hugely successful Florida Roadkill, he killed off way too many people. Now he needs them back. So in Triggerfish Twist, Dorsey invites us to take a warped trip back in time as he reunites the living with the soon to be very dead. And for the uninitiated, what a perfect place to start!

Set during the summer before Roadkill's pyrotechnic climax, Dorsey's fourth novel is a fond and perverse antirhapsody to the typical Florida neighborhood as seen through the eyes of Jim Davenport, a mild-mannered Midwestern family man whose company transfers him to the Sunshine State. When he purchases a lovely tropical villa on the equally idyllic Triggerfish Lane, his family appears to have found paradise.

But it is a long, hot summer, and soon the layers are peeled back one by one to reveal that all is not right in utopia. Yuppies with pit bulls, hot-rodding pizza deliverymen, Machiavellian used-car salesmen, Rastafarians who refuse to smoke dope, floating pawn shops on Crack Street, neighborhood crimewatch teams running for their lives, after-midnight clientele at twenty-four-hour supermarkets that put zombie movies to shame, unnatural sex, casual violence, gore, blasphemy, and people who write checks at convenience stores.

It all becomes too much for Jim, and before this peaceful Indiana farm boy knows what's happened to him, he's gone and killed someone. Of course, the odds are, it was someone who richly deserved it, and police officially rule the homicide extremely justified. Unfortunately for Jim, he has killed the youngest of the infamous McGraw Brothers, who got released from prison near a NASCARtrack in Alabama and are heading south, bent on revenge.

Not enough, you say? Okay, Serge Storms and his cohorts Coleman and Sharon are forced to move when the latter two burn down several blocks of Tampa's historic Latin Quarter during a wacky binge of freebasing high jinks. They naturally rent a house across the street from the Davenports, and Serge decides to take Jim under his wing, determined to teach him the local history and the secrets of satisfying a woman. The McGraw Brothers continue south.Sharon hallucinates on coke. Coleman refills his beer helmet. Serge becomes a Little League coach. And when the confluence of people and events is just about to boil over, everyone converges on Triggerfish Lane for the big Fourth of July block party, setting the stage for another knee-slapping bloodbath. It's just another day in Dorsey's paradise....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Conjuring up Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard on crack, the fourth off-the-wall novel from Dorsey (Orange Crush) finds antihero Serge Storms a quixotic, socially conscious crook-cum-executioner undertaking to salvage his upscale Tampa neighborhood from encroaching undesirables. Milquetoast Jim Davenport, an unlikely corporate hatchet man at the Indiana office of Apollo Consulting, a company specializing in downsizing the executive suites of top-heavy corporations, is promoted and moves with his wife, Martha, and their three kids to 888 Triggerfish Lane in Tampa. Always a step ahead of the law, Serge moves in across the street with his drug-fiend lackeys, Coleman and Sharon. Then, like popcorn in a microwave, all manner of zany subplots go spinning off as Jim accidentally kills the youngest of the notorious McGraw Brothers, newly released from prison. Florida special agent Mahoney, who has a vendetta against Serge, is dispatched to Tampa to stop a murderous crime spree that reeks of the McGraw clan. Meanwhile, the E-Team a quartet of elderly women whose first names begin with "E" stalks elderly Ambrose Tarrington III, who pretends to be wealthy by test-driving fancy cars and photographing himself in front of a luxurious mansion. John Milton, an ill-starred substitute teacher desperately trying to find a job, meets his nemesis, Rocco Silvertone, during a stint as a used-car salesman. As the surviving McGraws close in on Jim, a July 4 barbecue brings the cast together for a madcap denouement that will please the growing numbers of the Dorsey faithful. Agent, Nat Sobel. (May 7) FYI: A teaser chapter will be included in the Orange Crush paperback, out in April. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Part-time Florida history buff and full-time whack job Serge A. Storms (Orange Crush, 2001, etc.) has a brand-new bag. When his housemates Sharon and Coleman burn down their Ybor City townhouse trying to freebase carpet lint, Serge moves the whole ménage out to Triggerfish Lane, where slumlord Lance Boyle rents units to the sleaziest tenants he can find, hoping to gross the other homeowners into selling him their units too. Unexpectedly, Serge loves the suburbs, throwing himself with untrammeled enthusiasm into the lives of his new neighbors—H. Ambrose Tarrington III, busted millionaire with a lingering fondness for Jaguars; Raul Sanchez, who spends 18 hours a day at Gillian Anderson Web sites; even Slowhand, Siddhartha, and Waste-oid, stoners from the University of South Florida who, until Serge, had been Boyle's top-ranking nuisance tenants. But Serge's favorite is Jim Davenport, a gentle, patient family man who recently moved his wife and children from Wisconsin because he read in a magazine that Tampa was the third most livable city in America. Serge is so fiercely protective of Jim that those who harass him, like neighbor Jack Terrier, who refuses to leash his Doberman, and Scorpion, the sociopathic boyfriend of Jim's daughter, meet grisly, lovingly described ends at Serge's hands. But can Serge's vigilance save Jim from the wrath of the lethal McGraws, who have a grudge against him for air-bagging their youngest brother to death during a failed carjacking? Placing homicidal Serge on the side of the angels still leaves room for mayhem aplenty in Dorsey's riotous fourth outing.
Tampa Tribune
“TRIGGERFISH TWIST makes for twisted fun....a must-read book on this summer’s list.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Serge Storms Series , #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

So what's up with Florida?

Talk about a swing in reputation. Forty years ago the Sunshine State was an unthreatening View-Master reel of orange groves, alligator wrestlers, tail-walking dolphins and shuffleboard.

Near the turn of the millennium, Florida had become either romantically lawless or dangerously stupid, and often both: Casablanca without common sense, Dodge City with more weapons, the state that gave you the Miami Relatives on the evening news every night for nine straight months and changed the presidential election with a handful of confetti. Consider that two of the most famous Floridians in recent years have been Janet Reno and the Anti-Reno, Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Is there no middle genetic ground?

And yet they keep coming to Florida. People who maintain such records report that every single day, a thousand new residents move into the state. The reasons are varied. Retirement, beaches, affordable housing, growing job base, tax relief, witness protection, fugitive warrants, forfeiture laws that shelter your house if you're a Heisman trophy winner who loses a civil suit in the stabbing death of your wife, and year-round golf.

On a typical spring morning in 1997, five of those thousand new people piled into a cobalt-blue Dodge Aerostar in Logansport, Indiana. The Davenports -- Jim, Martha and their three children -- watched the moving van pull out of their driveway and followed it south.

A merging driver on the interstate ramp gave Jim the bird. He would have given him two birds, but he was on thephone. Jim grinned and waved and let the man pass.Jim Davenport was like many of the other thousand people heading to Florida this day, except for one crucial difference. Of all of them, Jim was hands-down the most nonconfrontational.

Jim avoided all disagreement and didn't have the heart to say no. He loved his family and fellow man, never raised his voice or fists, and was rewarded with a lifelong, routine digestion of small doses of humiliation. The belligerent, boorish and bombastic latched onto him like strangler figs.

He was utterly content.

Then Jim moved his family to Florida, and before summer was over a most unnatural thing happened. Jim went and killed a few people.

None of this was anywhere near the horizon as the Davenports began the second day of their southern interstate migration.

The road tar at the bottom of Georgia began to soften and smell in the afternoon sun. It was a Saturday, the traffic on I-75 thick and anxious. Hondas, Mercurys, Subarus, Chevy Blazers. A blue Aerostar with Indiana tags passed the exit for the town of Tifton, sod capital of the usa, and a billboard: jesus is lord...at buddy's catfish emporium.”

A sign marking the Florida state line stood in the distance, then the sudden appearance of palm trees growing in a precise grid. The official state welcome center rose like a mirage through heat waves off the highway. Cars accelerated for the oasis with the runaway anticipation of traffic approaching a Kuwaiti checkpoint on the border with Iraq.

They pulled into the hospitality center's angled parking slots; doors opened and children jumped out and ran around the grass in the aimless, energetic circles for which they are known. Parents stretched and rounded up staggering amounts of trash and headed for garbage cans. A large Wisconsin family in tank tops sat at a picnic table eating boloney sandwiches and generic pork rinds so they could afford a thousand-dollar day at Disney. A crack team of state workers arrived at the curb in an unmarked van and began pressure-washing some kind of human fluid off the sidewalk. A stray ribbon of police tape blew across the pavement.The Aerostar parked near the vending machines, in front of the no nighttime security sign.

“Who needs to go to the bathroom?” asked Jim.

Eight-year-old Melvin put down his mutant action figures and raised a hand.

Sitting next to him with folded arms and dour outlook was Debbie Davenport, a month shy of sweet sixteen, totally disgusted to be in a minivan. She was also disgusted with the name Debbie. Prior to the trip she had informed her parents that from now on she was to be called “Drusilla.”

“Debbie, you need to use the rest room?”

No reply.

Martha got out a bottle for one-year-old Nicole, cooing in her safety seat, and Jim and little Melvin headed for the building.

Outside the rest rooms, a restless crowd gathered in front of an eight-foot laminated map of Florida, unable to accept that they were still hundreds of miles from the nearest theme park. They would become even more bitter when they pulled away from the welcome center, and the artificial grove of palms gave way to hours of scrubland and billboards for topless doughnut shops.

Jim bought newspapers and coffee. Martha took over the driving and got back on I-75. Jim unfolded one of the papers. “Says here authorities have discovered a tourist from Finland who lost his luggage, passport, all his money and ID and was stranded for eight weeks at Miami International Airport.”

“Eight weeks?” said Martha. “How did he take baths?”

“Wet paper towels in the rest rooms.”

“Where did he sleep?”

“Chairs at different gates each night.”

“What did he eat?”

“Bagels from the American Airlines Admirals Club.”

“How did he get in the Admirals Club if he didn't have ID?”

“Doesn't say.”

“If he went to all that trouble, he probably could have gotten some kind of help from the airline. I can't believe nobody noticed him.”

“I think that's the point of the story.”

“What happened?”

“Kicked him out. He was last seen living at Fort Lauderdale International.”

The Aerostar passed a group of police officers on the side of the highway, slowly walking eight abreast looking for something in the weeds. Jim turned the...

Triggerfish Twist. 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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Triggerfish Twist (Serge Storms Series #4) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm currently in the 15th chapter and it has really been exciting and fun and defintly worth buying if you have seven dollars lying around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It has been said that Mr. Dorsey killed off two, too many people in his first novel. The relevant conundrum then was how to please his new audience and bring the two beloved characters back. Mr. Dorsey does this in brilliant style and setting. Reuniting Sharon and Coleman with Serge was a high and wide hurdle which Dorsey clears with his rapier wit, clear style and his ability to make the bizzare seem almost commonplace, if not acceptable. It is interesting, albeit bad luck for the people that live on Triggerfish Lane, that Mr. Dorsey has now brought the trio into the suburbs. It affords him an unlimited supply of suburban rituals and middle income situations for Serge and his merry band to transorm into complete mayhem. This book, as all his others, is a page turner of pure adrenaline and side-splitting laughter. One is also extremely pleased with Mr. Dorsey's writing, already rich with talent, which shows his mature and more polished style, concise in its action leaving more room for the adventure of the characters and the story. This book will be a great summer read.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the Tampa Bay area, after his roommates Sharon and Coleman burn down their townhouse along with a few historical homes while freebasing lint, Serge A. Storms relocates the entire crew to Triggerfish Lane. Meanwhile in the same Triggerfish Lane area, Lance Boyle rents to the shoddiest tenants on the planet. The slumlord wants the more respectable locals to sell cheaply to him.

Shockingly, Serge the historian loves life in the Burbs. He ¿helps¿ his neighbors, which requires some kind of conning. His best buddy is Midwest refugee Jim Davenport, a gentle-hearted father of three, who moved his family here because Tampa ranks third as a desirable place to live. However, the magazine Tampa and the Boyle Tampa are not the same. Serge places the Davenports off limits to the local nasties. However, Serge¿s bodyguard service requires 24-7 when Jim accidentally kills one of the McGraws leading to the rest of the family of thugs seeking vengeance.

The latest Serge tale TRIGGERFISH TWIST is a very humorous look at suburbia through the eyes of a kindhearted urban con man. The story line is wacky, as Serge looks so comfortable outside his element. Except for the Davenports the rest of the cast adds zany depth while the Midwest transfers appear as a typical American family caught in the midst of an asylum that leaves the quintet tugging at the hearts of the reader and Serge when the McGraws seek revenge. Tim Dorsey provides a humorous tale that continues the crazy tradition that along with the 2k election paints Florida with a lunatic terrific fringe.

Harriet Klausner

Avid-FLA-reader More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Living in Florida as I do, makes it even more hilarious since I recognize the sites, people-types, and quirkiness of the state. I'd recommend anything by Tim Dorsey.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story moves at 100 mph, giving the reader a hectic, twisting ride. Dorsey introduces a host of characters, each an individual and keeps them all discernable. Sharon is my favorite. What a bitch. This is the first title from Dorsey that I have read, and I'll read them all just to get more of her. The great thing about this story that its not only a zany, ridiculous adventure, it's a good mystery as well. Triggerfish Twist is an intensely funny, intricately woven, skillfully assembled, full speed ahead tropical, mind twister.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can not thank this book enough for getting me into the love of reading. The book never slows down and each scene always gets more out of control than the one before it. I cannot fathom a better book. It's a super-charged blast of pure fun. This is a book for anyone and everyone. Specifically, Tim D's characters, and situations are so unique that they'll open your mind as if you were seeing a never before seen color. You'll love how the different lives and effects weave through each other.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Another great story featuring Serge. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any funnier or more ridiculous Tim Dorsey does it. This book had me laughing out loud at several points and had me so enthralled that I finished it in just two day. Great writing, crazy characters and bad guys that get it in the end, this book as a bit of everything (except seriousness). If you’re looking for an escape with some fun hijinks under the Florida sun, grab this book, your drink of choice and settle in for a raucous good time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. Funny, ridiculous, with murder and surreal situational humor.
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Pitollie More than 1 year ago
This book was a  free download for me and boy did I get lucky! It moves along with a quick pace and has twists and turns that make me laugh aloud - on the employee shuttle bus! I have now downloaded another book by this author and can't wait. I cannot express how much I enjoyed the twists, turns and characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read with plenty of twists and turns as you follow Serge and Coleman trying to make sense out of life.
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