Dorsey, Tim 1961–
Dorsey, Tim 1961–
Born 1961, in IN; married; children: two daughters. Education: Auburn University, B.S., 1983.
Home—Tampa, FL. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, novelist, and journalist. Alabama Journal, Montgomery, police and courts reporter, 1983-87; Tampa Tribune, Tampa, FL, general assignment reporter, copy-desk editor, political reporter, 1987-94, night metro editor, night news coordinator, 1994-99.
"SERGE STORMS" SERIES; FICTION
Florida Roadkill, Morrow (New York, NY), 1999.
Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Morrow (New York, NY), 2000.
Orange Crush, Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Triggerfish Twist, Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
The Stingray Shuffle, Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Cadillac Beach, Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Torpedo Juice, Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
The Big Bamboo, Morrow (New York, NY), 2006.
Hurricane Punch, Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.
Writer and novelist Tim Dorsey worked as a reporter, editor, and news coordinator before becoming a full-time author. His novels are set in Florida, where he lives.
Dorsey's debut novel, Florida Roadkill tells the story of two con men: Serge Storms, a serial killer, and his perpetually drunk, stoned, or chemically addled sidekick, Coleman. The two are not averse to committing murder and mayhem, but in Dorsey's hands, they are curiously likable characters all the same—Serge, after all, only kills those who deserve it. In the book, Sharon, a con woman and addict, secretly videotapes dentist Dr. Veale in the back room of a strip club. In order to keep Serge and Coleman quiet about the secret tape, Veale agrees to having his hands, which are insured for five million dollars, injured. Coleman and Serge want the insurance money, which Veale hides in the car of two men who leave the club not knowing about the money. What results is a chase through the state of Florida by the two cons and others looking to get rich quick. "Dorsey's wicked sense of humor and astounding knowledge of Florida's history and legends add levity and local color to this dark tale," noted Library Journal contributor Thomas L. Kilpatrick.
Serge is back in Dorsey's second novel, Hammerhead Ranch Motel. Serge is still searching for the five million dollars he was after in Florida Roadkill. Serge and his new partner Lenny Lippowicz track the money and believe it is with the owner of the Hammerhead Ranch Motel. Serge and Lenny rent a room and wait for the perfect opportunity to nab the cash. While they wait, they meet the strange guests that are staying at the motel. In assessing the novel, Mystery Net Web site contributor Anya R. Weber stated: "Dorsey soars to glorious heights on the wings of his own absurdity."
Dorsey's third novel, Orange Crush, deals with Florida politics. Florida's governorship is between Marlon Conrad and Gomer Tatum. Something snaps in Conrad, and he takes off on a crazy election tour in a bright orange, second-hand Winnebago. Along the way Conrad meets some interesting people, including Serge. Opponent Tatum soon follows Conrad and eventually challenges him to a wrestling match that will decide who the next governor will be. "If 200-proof satire is your drink of choice, Dorsey is the guy you want behind the bar," concluded Booklist contributor Bill Ott.
In Triggerfish Twist Serge, Coleman, and Sharon are living on Triggerfish Lane in Tampa, Florida. Jim Davenport and his family move to Triggerfish Lane when Jim accepts a transfer from Wisconsin. Jim is a quiet man who does not like to argue or fight with anyone. He moved to the wrong street, however, if he was searching for peace and quiet. His neighbors include drug users, psychotics, and other sleazy people. Serge tries to protect Jim and his family from the other neighbors. Book Reporter contributor Joe Hartlaub praised: "With Triggerfish Twist, Dorsey has transformed himself from an author to be enjoyed to an artist whose next book will be anticipated with as much fervor as this one will be enjoyed."
Dorsey's fifth "Serge Storms" novel, The Stingray Shuffle, still finds Serge on the trail of the elusive five million dollars from Florida Roadkill. By this time, numerous others, including Russian gangsters masquerading as Latinos, have joined the hunt. Booklist reviewer David Pitt called the novel "a brilliantly constructed romp."
In Torpedo Juice, Storms comes to the aid of a vacationing retired couple who have been accosted by a thief who has broken into their hotel room to rob them, noted Bookreporter.com reviewer Bob Rhubart. After dispatching the robber with a unique application of an MRI machine, Storms returns to his job as social director for the No Name Pub, dispensing advice, etiquette tips, and strong liquor to a motley assortment of boozers and crazies. As the novel progresses, Serge decides that what he needs most is a woman, and he embarks on a misguided mission to woo Molly, a librarian. Encounters with a vicious land developer and drug smugglers enliven the proceedings. "Dorsey is an undeniably funny writer, with a remarkable knack for wringing laughter out of situations that might otherwise make readers squirm," Rhubart observed.
The Big Bamboo finds Serge in a pique against Hollywood, which has abandoned Florida as a site for moviemaking and has appropriated the "weirdness" that was once the Sunshine State's greatest characteristic. To remedy the situation, Serge and Coleman head west to visit Hollywood and set them straight on Florida's benefits and to make sure the state is accurately depicted, weirdness and all, in motion pictures. Along the way, Serge exercises his personal brand of serial-killer justice, encountering numerous irritating and often despicable people who desperately need to be dispatched. Soon, though, Serge and Coleman get a lesson in the dangers and twisted personalities that populate Hollywood, encountering drug-addicted studio executives, self-absorbed directors, and high-strung starlets. To advance his agenda, Serge kidnaps a young actress and records a video ransom note, imploring Hollywood to cease some of its more egregious violations of good taste. "By putting Serge in California in his eighth novel, Dorsey's energy and affection for his characters shine," commented Oline H. Cogdill in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Fans won't be disappointed with The Big Bamboo," remarked Wanda J. Demarzo in the Miami Herald. "Dorsey lives up to expectations, providing plenty of murder, glib one-liners and a plot so cheerfully convoluted that when you reach the last page you won't be saying ‘I knew it!’" Library Journal reviewer Ken St. Andre called the book "howlingly funny."
Hurricane Punch puts Serge behind the wheel of a stolen Hummer as he and Coleman ramble across the hurricane-blasted landscape of Florida. In this extended, rain-soaked road trip. Serge ruminates on Florida history, Bush administration politics, and the shortcomings of the media while dispensing his fatal justice to unsavory sorts such as price-gougers who exploit hurricane victims. "Scathing humor strips the pretense off its targets like a hurricane" in the ninth Serge Storms novel, noted a Publishers Weekly contributor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1999, George Needham, review of Florida Roadkill, p. 1471; May 15, 2000, George Needham, review of Hammerhead Ranch Motel, p. 1733; May 1, 2001, Bill Ott and Brad Hooper, review of Florida Roadkill, p. 1603, and Bill Ott, review of Orange Crush, p. 1630; February 15, 2003, David Pitt, review of The Stingray Shuffle, p. 1053.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1999, review of Florida Roadkill, p. 817; May 15, 2001, review of Orange Crush, p. 680; March 1, 2002, review of Triggerfish Twist, p. 290; December 1, 2002, review of The Stingray Shuffle, p. 1735.
Library Journal, June 15, 1999, Thomas L. Kilpatrick, review of Florida Roadkill, p. 105; June 15, 2000, Thomas L. Kilpatrick, review of Hammerhead Ranch Motel, p. 112; June 15, 2001, Thomas L. Kilpatrick, review of Orange Crush, p. 102; January 1, 2005, Bob Lunn, review of Torpedo Juice, p. 95; February 1, 2006, Ken St. Andre, review of The Big Bamboo, p. 70; October 1, 2006, Ann Kim, "Prepub Mystery," review of Hurricane Punch, p. 55.
Miami Herald, April 26, 2006, Wanda J. Demarzo, "Serial Killer on a Serious Mission in The Big Bamboo," review of The Big Bamboo.
Publishers Weekly, July 5, 1999, review of Florida Roadkill, p. 58; August 30, 1999, Judy Quinn, "Roadkill the Rage in Florida," p. 23; July 31, 2000, review of Hammerhead Ranch Motel, p. 70; July 9, 2001, p. 49; March 1, 2002, review of Triggerfish Twist, p. 37; January 6, 2003, review of The Stingray Shuffle, p. 42; December 11, 2006, review of Hurricane Punch, p. 46.
Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 14, 2005, Sharyn Lonsdale, "Author with Ties to Englewood Visits McBooks," profile of Tim Dorsey, p. BCE4.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 12, 2006, Oline H. Cogdill, "The Big Bamboo: If You Have Humor, Who Needs Plot?," review of The Big Bamboo.
Alabama Bound,http://www.alabamabound.org/ (February 6, 2007), biography of Tim Dorsey.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (February 6, 2007), review of Florida Roadkill.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (February 6, 2007), review of Orange Crush; review of Triggerfish Twist; Bob Rhubart, review of Torpedo Juice; Joe Hartlaub, review of Cadillac Beach; biography of Tim Dorsey.
Books 'n' Bytes,http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (February 6, 2007), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Florida Roadkill and Hammerhead Ranch Motel.
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (February 6, 2007), interview with Dorsey.
Murder on the Beach,http://www.murderonthebeach.com/ (February 6, 2007), reviews of Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, and Florida Roadkill.
MysteryNet.com,http://www.mysterynet.com/ (February 6, 2007), Anya R. Weber, review of Hammerhead Ranch Motel.
Tim Dorsey Home Page,http://www.timdorsey.com (February 6, 2007).