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Book Review: Hurricane Punch

Hurricane Punch

Tim Dorsey

362 pages

What’s it about?

Serial killing Florida history obsessive Serge A. Storms and his perpetually hammered sidekick Coleman are chasing hurricanes through the biggest storm season Florida has ever seen. But their wild road trip is interrupted when a second serial killer starts getting his threatening letters published in the newspapers. This new serial killer seems to have a grudge against Jeff McSwirley, the most empathetic journalist in the history of news. To protect McSwirley from this madman, Serge takes him into his care. Of course, McSwirley and the rest of the state view this more as an abduction, especially since Detective Mahoney, Serge’s old rival, believes that the second killer is a split of Serge’s personality. Now that Serge and Coleman have Jeff, it’s back into the eye of the storm, riding hurricanes and rock ‘n’ roll into collision course of two advancing hurricanes.


Any good?

I read Stingray Shuffle, which is another in the Serge series, so I will try not to be redundant with that review.

Any time I get on an airplane, I want to have one of these books with me because they are one of the few that I won’t lose interest in after an hour of plane-distraction. Once again, Dorsey impresses me. Stylistically and structurally, this book is well crafted. And who can’t adore Serge and all his antics, especially when he dresses his best friend as the Party Parrot to save another reporter’s job? You want to know anything about Florida’s history, go to Dorsey’s books. Serge’s rants sometimes last for pages. Dorsey proves to be a bit of an expert on everything, able to satirize the newsroom politics and the strange behavior of Floridians who live in the path of hurricanes.

It’s entertaining to watch all the characters who are chasing each other come so close to each other but rarely meeting. Mahoney, Swirley, and Serge, for example, all go to the same psychiatry office at the same time, Serge dealing with his anger and killing people, Mahoney dealing with his delusions, and McSwirley dealing with the fact that he doesn’t seem to have anger.

Despite clues, I didn’t realize who the other killer was until about two chapters before they told us. It makes so much sense! But I kept thinking it was Mahoney because he’s the one who was in the crazy hospital and he’s the one accusing Serge of having a split personality. I never for a second believed it was Serge. For a serial killer chatterbox, he’s quite level-headed.

The comedy was top notch. There wasn’t as much metafiction as in The Stingray Shuffle, but there was still a bit. Some of it’s slapstick, some of it’s wit, some of it’s just downright clever story structure.

Thumbs way up.

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June 2012


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