While a mystery’s twists and turns will keep readers turning the pages until the wee hours of the night, the characters are what make readers return, novel after novel.
A well-devised plot is a thing of beauty; but a thoughtfully constructed character who changes and grows in each book, and especially during a long-running series, is a work of art.
Tim Dorsey’s novels will never be mistaken for works of art. Instead, he has taken what is essentially a gimmick — a serial killer so enamored with Florida that he attacks those who don’t share his passion and also anybody who’s just plain rude — and lathered it with broad, slapstick humor. And the trick works. Series hero Serge A. Storms never changes, never grows, but he has amassed a solid following that will no doubt continue with the 16th book in the Tampa author’s series.
The Riptide Ultra-Glide is, like Dorsey’s previous Serge novels, simply fun. No social issues, no in-depth characters, no scintillating dialogue, yet Dorsey hooks the reader with his unabashed enthusiasm and devotion to all things Florida. Here, Serge wants to have a reality show, but on his way to fame has to deal with bullies, those who extort the elderly, pain clinics and Wisconsin residents Patrick and Barbara McDougall, who pick the wrong hotel. There’s also a war erupting between the Kentucky mafia and Mexican drug lords.
And amid all the laughs, readers also will learn something about the Sunshine State, though it’s doubtful that Dorsey ever would equate reading his Serge novels with an education, unless it was a lesson in humor.
Oline H. Cogdill reviewed this book for The Sun Sentinel.