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‘Gator A-Go-Go’ one of Dorsey’s best

  Before I moved to Las Vegas in 2008, I lived in Florida for 10 years, where I was the books editor at a newspaper for most of those years.
  Each winter, I would review author Tim Dorsey’s latest zany Florida novel and sometimes interview him. He was a former city
editor at the Tampa Tribune and left his job in 1999 to write full time, coming out with one book a year. He’s been popular in the
state and a few books ago, he became a New York Times best-selling author by cracking the Top 35 on the fiction list, launching him to
national prominence.
  I think he was sad to see me leave Florida two years ago, because he called me — out of the blue — on my last day of work at the Daytona Beach News-Journal and wished me good luck. He has continued to send me autographed copies of his latest releases, and I’ve continued to write about them for this blog.
  So when I picked up “Gator A-Go-Go” last month, I expected another rollicking adventure around the Sunshine State featuring lovable serial killer Serge A. Storms and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman. What I didn’t expect was a cameo appearance — by me.
  However, it was a partially disguised appearance. During Serge and Coleman’s visit to Daytona Beach for spring break, a reporter named Davis from the News-Journal witnesses Serge’s bizarre monologue at the historic Bandshell on the beach.
  When asked about the commotion by a student, Davis replies, “Incredible monologuist, like Eric Bogosian or Spalding Gray. He’s been going nonstop for over an hour. I don’t know how anyone can jump rapidly between so many topics and keep it all straight, let alone memorize an act this disjointed and long.”
  So there you have it, my first and probably last appearance in a Dorsey novel. My scene actually lasted a page, and the Davis reporter even talks to Coleman.
  Needless to say, I was delighted to see myself in a very minor role in one of the book’s funniest and most light-hearted moments.
  I’m even happier to say that “Gator A-Go-Go” is Dorsey’s best work since 2007’s “Hurricane Punch” and one of the best in his Serge and Co. series. Most of Dorsey’s 12 novels have featured Serge and a cast of oddball characters. Since its recent release, "Gator A-Go-Go" has been ranked as high as No. 16 on the Times list.
  Reading Dorsey is a guilty pleasure, like watching Itchy and Scratchy on "The Simpsons." Dorsey may not be as polished as well-known Florida authors Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen, but he loves the Sunshine State. The longtime Tampa resident writes about it with a great sense of history, wit and a dose of satire. However, there are some very violent scenes in his books, acts usually
involving Serge. There’s also rough sex and dark comic mayhem.
  But Dorsey paints these elements on a lighter backdrop so the story doesn’t devolve into a noirish horror fest. Serge is not
Dexter; he’s a cuddly, intelligent antihero. He and Coleman make for an unconventional but effective slapstick duo.
  In short, “Gator A-Go-Go” is about spring break. Serge and Coleman decide to make a film about spring break in Florida. They travel to the three traditional hot spots — Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and Panama City. They run into all sorts of mayhem (especially at the Alligator Arms motel in Panama City) and stumble upon an innocent Midwest college student who is wanted by the FBI and a ruthless Miami drug cartel. They try to protect him and themselves while staying barely ahead of the lawmen and criminals.
  Dorsey’s plotting is usually fast and furious, and he shifts back and forth between scenes and characters with intensity. He does that less in this novel, which is good. Dorsey sticks closely to the main story, which has more drama and less zaniness than some past adventures. And he doesn’t get carried away with the subplots of recurring characters such as Johnny Vegas "The Accidental Virgin" and the G-Unit, a group of wild, wealthy grannies.
  With the drug cartel and spring break themes, “Gator A-Go-Go” reads like an episode of “Miami Vice,” the hit 1980s TV show. It’s
entertaining, sexy and has its shoot ’em-up moments. But Crockett and Tubbs have nothing on the fun-loving Serge and Coleman.

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