December 12, 2010

Review: Electric Barracuda by Tim Dorsey

Electric Barracuda
Author: Tim Dorsey
Publisher: William Morrow
Series: Serge Storms, Book 13
ISBN: 9780061876899
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

*Generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

For more information, please visit Tim Dorsey's website.

Serge Storms, that loveable one-man thermonuclear vigilante and one-stop-all-things-Florida-trivia-shop, has been leaving corpses strewn across the Sunshine State for more than a decade. The authorities—especially one tenacious FBI agent—have begun to take notice of the mounting body count and a police task force is being organized. Could Serge’s luck have finally run out?

Not when he has brains, vision, a sidekick like Coleman (okay, maybe not Coleman), a penchant for ingenious violence, and an Internet travel-advice site conveniently directing disciples on the best way to explore the Sunshine State—as a fugitive of course! What could be any better than a getaway tour through Serge’s favorite Florida’s bayous, back roads, and beyond ?

While the cops chase the Storms’ troopers through his favorite locales in a manic gumball rally in the “tradition of the great American chase movie,” the man himself must attend to a pressing personal matter. His grandfather’s old Miami Beach gang is suddenly broke, their life savings vaporized. Though they have a good idea who’s behind it, they can’t do anything about it. But a certain man with a Secret Master Plan can. Especially when it involves a favorite Serge obsession: Al Capone’s little-known escapades in the Everglades!


Tim Dorsey’s newest installment to his Serge Storms series, Electric Barracuda, is a hilarious mix of Raising Arizona meets Dexter. This novel has a unique blend of action and humor that draws the reader into the chaotic life of Serge as he evades a quasi-imagined dragnet trying to capture him for his various misdeeds. Truly, this is one ‘villian’ not to be missed as he will have you reading, and laughing, late into the night!

Serge Storms is without a doubt one of the most unique characters that I have had the pleasure to read in a while. His complex nature is matched only by the facade of his laid back demeanor. With wit and intelligence that is often times surprising, Serge's entrepreneurial prowess leads him on a never ending adventure through the state of Florida. From the Everglades to the various islands throughout the area, he and his dim witted companion Coleman create havoc with three federal agents hot on their trail. While Serge is a murderer, he holds to a strict code of ironically killing those who he feels should be murdered. There is definitely no love lost for the victims of his sometimes brutal crimes, for instance a man cruising the playground is found with his stomach full of children's expanding sponges, you know the little capsules that expand in water to make fun shapes? Well, you won't look at those not so easily swallowed capsules the same way again! And yet, you can't help but cheer him and his vigilante ways. Not to mention the fun assortment of characters who aid him in his journeys. They all add a splash of human color to the back drop of the journey.

The atmosphere is akin of the old movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World, with chases that often have perfect comedic timing. With the police usually only moments behind the murderous pair, they zip to their next destination ahead of imaginary law enforcement officers never realizing that they are truly running from the actual cops. Really, the complicated nature of this aspect adds its own zeal leaving the reader wondering how long Serge's luck will actually hold out. But, not only are present day predicaments broached, but historical ones as well in the form of gangster Al Capone and his hideout in the Glades. How does this tie back to Serge and his present day chaos? Well, you'll just have to read to find that out!

Dorsey's wonderful writing style shifts seamlessly between character groups as well. The concise Noir-like writing style he invokes for the federal agents pursuing Serge adds a bit of old timey flair, yet the characters themselves manage to be quite human and not the stiff gum shoes of that particular era. The clipped stylistic changes contrast to the more fluid structure that surrounds Serge. In fact, around Serge there is a sense of word association that mirrors the ever shifting ideas that flood throw his mind perfectly. Most notably these periods of spewing ideas is common when Coleman is given voice to speak, his drug addled brain going from one topic to the next without rhyme or reason. And yet, this free flowing geyser of facts, history and whimsy is one of the things that I loved most about the novel. You never knew exactly what you were going to get from these two colorful characters and often times is was as surprising as their actions.

Despite being the 13th in the series, this is still an easy novel to drop into. Serge's history is wide spread, but when you need to know information Dorsey is great at providing it. What you can expect from this novel is an action packed adventure filled with carnage and laughs along they way. Fans of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series will more then likely enjoy this novel, but really, who doesn't enjoy a good fugitive themed adventure? This is another series that I highly recommend and enjoyed reading.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Very nice blog.