Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey - Book Review




Shark Skin Suite: A Novel (SergeStorms Series Book Number 18) by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow, 2015, 336 pages, $26.99/11.89) features Serge Storms in the eighteenth iteration of this by now tiresome character who seems to have run out of gas, but just keeps going. When I reviewed the fifteenth novel in this long-running series I wrote about it in terms of other chroniclers of the crime in Florida and, finally, found it wanting. Now, four years later, I think Serge Storms is hardly funny at all, as he pursues his seemingly aimless and meaningless campaign against the corporate forces, in this case bankers and lawyers (both well-deserving of plenty of scorn), sharklike schooling around the weak and innocent. I'd like to have liked this book, but found myself too mired in the mush inside Serge's head to be able to enjoy the procedings.

Serge Storms is insane like a fox and really crazy, too. Acompanied by his alcholic, drug consuming sidekick Coleman, he traverses Florida from one end to the other, observing and upsetting the applecart everywhere they go. What passes for a plot involves the lovely young lawyer Brook in a case in which a bank has voraciously, unscrupulously and illegally foreclosed on the mortgages of uncountable defenseless buyers in one of the most run-down, unsuccessful real estage ventures in Florida. The law firm hired by the bank is willing to engage in any practice, including murder, to win its case. Serge intervenes to help his friend prevail, posing as a fixer and a para-legal while leaving chaos in his wake. What passes for satire for a while, lapses into mindless repetition and silliness all too soon in this too long narrative. The spot on portraits of Burnt Store, Micanopy, and Payne's Praire are not sufficient to rescue this mess. I suspect that even for fans, Serge Storms has outworn his welcome.

Tim Dorsey


Tim Dorsey was born in Indiana, moved to Florida at the age of 1, and grew up in a small town about an hour north of Miami called Riviera Beach. He graduated from Auburn University in 1983. While at Auburn, he was editor of the student newspaper, The Plainsman. From 1983 to 1987, he was a police and courts reporter for The Alabama Journal, the now-defunct evening newspaper in Montgomery. He joined The Tampa Tribune in 1987 as a general assignment reporter. He also worked as a political reporter in the Tribune’s Tallahassee bureau and a copy desk editor. From 1994 to 1999, he was the Tribune’s night metro editor. He left the paper in August 1999 to write full time. He lives in Tampa with his family. (from Goodreads profile)

I found Shark Skin Suite: A Novel(Serge Storms Series Book Number 18) by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow, 2015, 336 pages, $26.99/11.89) to be a thoroughly unsatisfactory effort. I freely admit that my dislike of the book may be generational or just plain differences in taste. I don't like slapstick film or TV comedy either. There's precious little wit or wisdom in Dorsey's writing and far to much cheap and easy working out on obvious targets. Storms is so clearly unbelievable as to not warrant attention, and he won't be getting any more from me. I received the book from the publisher as an electronic galley through Edelweiss and read it on my Kindle app.