A Serge A. Storms Mystery by Tim Dorsey
Review: Tim Dorsey's 10th novel to feature the audacious, ever so reasoned if not always reasonable, adventures of Serge Storms, Atomic Lobster, has the Florida psychopath protecting his old pal Jim Davenport from the McGraw brothers, one of which Jim helped send to prison.
To fans of the series, an overview of the plot is probably not necessary since it's likely they read the books to see in which outrageous mission Serge is currently participating or in what ingenious way Serge kills his next victim. And Serge does not disappoint. For new readers, the plot is definitely secondary to the action and vaguely involves Serge acting as a mentor/protector to Jim Davenport when he's targeted by a newly released prisoner, and old ladies on a cruise ship that may be the transport vehicle for drugs (or something more sinister) from Mexico to the US. It's not quite a mystery in the whodunit sense, but there are several other elements present that would firmly place this book in that category.
The brilliance of Atomic Lobster (and yes, it is frequently brilliant) is how Dorsey carefully choreographs the activities of the large number of characters in his story and how their lives intersect in myriad ways that seem natural … almost expected. Serge may be a cold-blooded killer, but he's a compassionate one. Those that are condemned to die deserve it (in his universal role as prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, and jury), but he usually gives them an opportunity to live albeit at some, often considerable, cost. It's all quite fascinating to read and oddly compelling.
Of the two parallel storylines, one involving Serge and Jim Davenport and the other involving the cruise ship that is largely independent of Serge, the former is more interesting, arguably more entertaining, and appears to be better thought through. The latter seems almost contrived as if it exists only so that the unexpected twist at the end (which isn't all that unexpected) can occur. The G-unit, however, make it somewhat worthwhile.
The final quarter of the book isn't nearly as strong as what comes before possibly because the various plots and subplots need to rapidly converge. The narrative is more perfunctory and loses much of its earlier edginess. And the epilogue seems particularly silly. Still, there are many funny scenes and clever passages in Atomic Lobster and, though it is definitely not a book for everyone, it is a terrific book for those who can appreciate its often satirical humor.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of Atomic Lobster for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Tiger Shrimp Tango
William Morrow (Hardcover), January 2014
ISBN-13: 9780062092816; ISBN-10: 0062092812
Location(s) referenced in Atomic Lobster: Tampa, Florida
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Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey — A Serge A. Storms Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 2008
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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