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Creator / Tim Dorsey

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Tim Dorsey (born January 25, 1961) is a Floridan author known for his series of 'comedic crime novels' mostly taking place in and around his home state. Dorsey loves Flordia and all its weirdness, and it's on full display in his books.

The novels follow the story of Sociopathic Hero (or Anti-Hero, depending on your view) Serge A. Storms, a proud Floridian, history lover and incredibly inventive Serial Killer, along with his many companions. There are many recurring characters, and there's enough continuity that books will sometimes reference the events of previous books, but each novel is a stand-alone story, and can be read in any order without too much trouble.


List of Serge A. Storms novels:

  • Florida Roadkill (1999)
  • Hammerhead Ranch Motel (2000)
  • Orange Crush (2001)
  • Triggerfish Twist (2002)
  • The Stingray Shuffle (2003)
  • Cadillac Beach (2004)
  • Torpedo Juice (2005)
  • The Big Bamboo (2006)
  • Hurricane Punch (2007)
  • Atomic Lobster (2008)
  • Nuclear Jellyfish (2009)
  • Gator A-Go-Go (2010)
  • Electric Barracuda (2011)
  • When Elves Attack (novella, 2011)
  • Pineapple Grenade (2012)
  • The Riptide Ultra-Glide (2013)
  • Tiger Shrimp Tango (2014)
  • Shark Skin Suite (2015)
  • Coconut Cowboy (2016)
  • Clownfish Blues (2017)
  • The Pope of Palm Beach (2018)
  • No Sunscreen for the Dead (2019)
  • Naked Came the Florida Man (2020)


This book series contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Serge has many hallmark traits of a sociopath, but clearly isn't a true example; he does have genuine compassion for the innocent and goodhearted, and most of what he does follows some weird line of logic and morality that actually kind of makes sense... sort of. He also lacks the self-centeredness inherent in sociopaths. Overall, his violent tendencies, loose grasp on reality, and extreme and excessive devotion to the things he cares about (especially where his beloved home state of Florida is concerned), and his history of medication, and we just get the sense that something is wrong with him... but it's probably useless to try and guess what.
  • Amoral Attorney: There are several throughout the series, but Shark Skin Suite has Serge's scheme to become a legal crusader taking on a firm stealing out mortgages from people.
    • Also in Shark Skin Suite, a former hookup of Serge's has become a lawyer herself... but is an honest crusading one fighting against the crooked banks ruining people over fake mortgage loans.
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  • Anti-Villain: Serge is a Serial Killer, and in some stories openly admits it. His good points are A) his victims tend to be jerkasses, B) his genuine love for his home state, and C) his determination to protect innocent lives.
  • Anyone Can Die: Warning: If you ever show up in one of Dorsey's novels, you will die. Painfully, and in a highly imaginative manner.
  • Apparently Powerless Puppet Master: The ending of Cadillac Beach reveals that the seemingly drunk and hapless salesmen who accidentally killed a mobster in a Deadly Prank and got dragged along with Serge's adventure are professional hitmen. They deliberately killed the mobster and manipulated Serge into taking them with him, hoping that he'd lead them to some valuable jewels his grandfather stole decades earlier.
  • Asshole Victim: Anyone suffering Serge's wrath - outside of the first novel - tends to be arrogant Jerkass pulling a serious Kick the Dog moment within Serge's radar. And this being Florida, there is no short supply of Asshole Victims for Serge to confront.
    • Orange Crush has the honor of presenting the biggest Jerkass Dorsey could think of: a corrupt land developer making billions off of shoddy suburban hellholes who intentionally pushes himself into becoming the biggest type of Jerkass in the world. A corrupt sports team owner.
  • Behind Every Great Man: In Orange Crush the governors political opponent is being driven by his hyper ambitious fiancée.
  • Berserk Button: Woe to any Jerkass who breaks or ruins a piece of Florida history while Serge is watching.
  • Black Comedy: Much of the humor comes from how absurd and over-the-top Serge's crimes are, as well as how absurd and over-the-top he is.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Oh, Serge... Murder? Fine, if it's for a good reason. And he just so happens to think that destroying a piece of Florida history is a really good reason.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Nicole Davenport, but she still has her moments.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Author's and Publication Notes at the end of each novel go into incredibly bizarre descriptions, and in one book Serge and Coleman try to sneak their way through the Author's Notes to avoid getting arrested in the novel proper.
  • Butt-Monkey: Johnny Vegas, every time.
  • Characterization Marches On: The characters do age between the stories. Serge is well into his late-40s after Hurricane Punch, and recurring characters City and Country have gone from innocent college-age girls from their introduction to jaded 20something women in the more recent novels.
    • The Davenport kids from Triggerfish Twist are in college by Gator A-Go-Go.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in Shark-Skin Suite, Serge says he'd like to get a T-shirt gun because of the effect it has on the onlooking crowd. During the climax, he pulls one out and uses it to good effect.
  • Christmas Episode: When Elves Attack, covering Thanksgiving through Christmas.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: As a general rule, the more insane one of Serge's schemes is, the more likely it is to work in the long run, even if it's not quite in the way he expected. Especially when it comes to killing people.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Most of the victims are assholes, but some don't seem to deserve death. Serge's victims tend to be greedy or rude, or worst of all in Serge's view vandalize some part of Florida's history or ecosystem.
  • Due to the Dead: The first sign of the Lt. Governor's Heel–Face Turn in Orange Crush is that after returning from the Balkans (where he was the only survivor of his squad), he makes a point of visiting the families of every single one of his squadmates before returning to Tallahassee.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Florida Roadkill only has two or three deaths caused by Serge; Serge, Coleman, and his associate Sharon are outwardly more villainous and less sympathetic than in later books; The focus of the story are two unrelated protagonists who get caught in the crossfire between Serge and the Mierda Cartel; and Serge seems a lot more interested in getting his money, offing people, and protecting himself than with the more public-centered goals of later books.
  • Erudite Stoner: Coleman, combined with Genius Ditz, as while he clearly understands physics, mathematics, and chemisty seems to only understand how to use these things to get high.
  • Flock of Wolves:
    • Hammerhead Ranch Motel has a scene with a drug ring staffed entirely by undercover agents of three different law enforcement agencies that try to bust each other at the same time.
    • Another book featured a group of Cuban-Americans who try to come up with a plan to overthrow Castro. With the exception of a retired CIA agent, they all work for Cuban Intelligence, and everybody knows it.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: In Torpedo Juice Serge suddenly gets the urge to get married, stop his murderous rampage against Jerkass Floridians, and settle down. He quickly latches onto a mousy-looking but cute librarian named Molly, dates her once (and kills a guy in front of her), and promptly marries her. She quickly turns out to be a Black Widow (no not the comic book character) who kills her husbands not for money but for the sadistic kick. When they realize they each married a Serial Killer with opposing philosophies over why they kill, they separate. They're technically still married by the time of Shark Skin Suite (mainly because Molly won't sign the divorce paperwork)...
  • Geeky Turn-On: Serge and history. Especially Florida history. Whenever Serge is bedding a hot woman, he can't stop talking about whatever historic topic he's currently fixated on.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Jim Davenport's job is to induce this. First he gets hired by companies to perform mass layoffs to make their stock go up. Then, when they realize that they can't meet their business commitments because they're critically understaffed due to unnecessary mass layoffs, they hire him as a headhunter, at which point he rehires all the people he had fired a few weeks earlier.
  • The Good Chancellor: in Orange Crush an amnesiac Serge gets a job on the governors staff and provides him quality advice (and protection from assassins) while getting him to see more of Florida and understand the people better.
  • Handsome Lech: the Recurring Character of Johnny Vegas the Accidental Virgin, a total hunk who's never had sex and all of his attempts to do so keep failing spectacularly.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The young Republican Governor at the beginning of Orange Crush had been groomed since birth to become the next great (corrupt) conservative leader of the state. He's pretty much a spoiled rich brat even in his thirties. Events conspire to send him off to Central Europe during the Balkan civil wars where he bonds with poor-class troops and a badass sergeant, most of whom die in a heavy engagement before the governor gets rescued. His shell-shock wakes him up and he tries to become a better governor, but events (and the political status quo) keep screwing him over...
  • Hidden Depths: Coleman, considering his knowledge of fluid dynamics, advanced physics, college-level chemistry, and philosophy. Which he uses solely to get drunk and high.
  • Hot Librarian: Molly, in Serge's love-lorn opinion. Which proves correct once they get married and Molly turns out to be as sexually powerful and adventurous in bed as Serge. too bad Molly turns out to be a Serial Killer with a different agenda than Serge's...
  • Immune to Drugs: Just about everyone except Serge, who uses no drugs whatsoever.
    • Including his medications...
    • Except in Gator-A-Go-Go where Serge accidentally ate a tray-full of Coleman's "herb-enhanced" brownies.
    Serge: Coleman! How... Do... I... Turn... This... Shit... OFF!...
  • Inspector Javert: Detective Mahoney, a homicide cop assigned to the string of deaths that Serge leaves all across Florida. A parody of noir gumshoes, Mahoney can never get enough solid evidence to nail Serge for his murder spree or in other circumstances because Serge helps stop an even worse criminal.
  • Karma Houdini: Serge. The police (and Mahoney) can barely keep up with him.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Most of Serge's victims are killed in elaborate death traps that reflect the jerkass actions they committed to earn Serge's wrath.
    • For example, a rude Hummer owner blasting out rap music from his car gets tied up within an empty skyscraper that Serge converts into the world's largest speaker... and then Serge plugs in his guitar...
  • Kavorka Man: Serge is described as reasonably attractive, but my god does he get the ladies.
    • Supposedly his mental issues give him incredible charisma.
    • And stamina.
    • In later novels Dorsey introduced another satellite character, a plain-looking middle-aged guy tired of women constantly falling for him... whose personal confidence and attitude makes him a target for women constantly falling him. And yes, he's ruined more than one date for Johnny the Accidental Virgin.
  • Killer Outfit: In Florida Roadkill, a man is murdered by fashion. His girlfriend drugs him, slips a pair of tight jeans onto him, and then carefully soaks and dries out the pants until the fabric shrinks to the point where it cuts off all blood circulation below his waist.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Serge suffers it at the beginning of Orange Crush. Even though he spends most of the novel thinking he's someone "sane", he still goes off on his occasional rampages whenever someone threatening his beloved state (and the reformed governor he's trying to get re-elected) shows up on his radar.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Serge is not a good person, but the people he goes after are usually worse than he is — or at least, less likable, so the audience can root for him anyway. If the choice is between an eccentric, amusing Serial Killer and a Corrupt Corporate Executive who's a complete jerkass to boot, the serial killer wins, every time.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Mahoney and Serge are half brothers, something which was a surprise to both of them. Mahoney actually gives up the chase when he learns about this.
  • Meta Guy: Serge's mental issues apparently make him able to perceive the fourth wall, and even break through it on occasion, such as the latter half of Pineapple Grenade.
  • Mistaken for Profound: At the end of Big Bamboo , director Wenrer Potemkin's "overindulgent unfocused pile of steaming sh*t" is praised by Europeans critics as "a delicious self-parody of an obsessed director on the brink of madness"
  • Nice Guy: The guest protagonist(s) of any of the novels will usually be some innocent, hard-working, personally affable person or couple... getting dumped on by outside forces (usually greedy bosses or corrupt politicians). They'll be unflinchingly nice no matter what.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Some of Serge's victims are loosely based on national and state-level celebrities, who tend to receive the appropriate Karmic Death related to their terrible on-air personas.
    • The political parody Orange Crush has cameos by Real Life political figures Lawton Chiles and Jimmy Carter, and Expy appearances of the Bush family, Katherine Harris, and other figures involved with the 2000 Election debacle.
  • Only in Florida: Dorsey, like certain other Floridian humorists, loves this trope.
  • The Other Darrin: Coleman gets replaced by Lenny pretty early in the series when Dorsey kills off Coleman by drug dealers after Serge's stolen insurance money. But Dorsey quickly regretted the move and has Coleman return by explaining his death in the most contrived way possible. Lenny removes himself by getting arrested and placed under house arrest, only showing up for later cameos.
  • Punny Name: Serge's name is a play on "storm surge."
  • Recurring Character:
    • City and Country, two college girls fleeing from a crime they didn't commit. Their massive drug consumption (the two women are worse than Coleman) is why - despite the great sex - Serge keeps dumping the pair on the side of the road first chance he gets.
    • Also Johnny Vegas.
    • And the E-Team.
    • And the Davenports.
    • Characters from an early book will cameo in the following story to provide some continuity.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Sergio is still alive and healthy.
  • The Reveal:
    • Hurricane Punch: The killer is actually McSwirley's split personality.
    • Cadillac Beach: The extremely unlucky foursome of condiment salesmen on conference are actually hired actors by the very mob that is trying to kill Serge.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Most of Serge's murder devices.
  • Serial Escalation: Which eventually leads to particle accelerator bongs and skyscrapers used as murder weapons.
  • Shout-Out: Any movie or book based in Florida will get referenced by Serge.
  • Shown Their Work: Dorsey knows his Florida history, and a lot of what Serge talks about actually happened in the state. His novels can double as travelogues to some of the more unique and interesting places to visit.
    • Some plots involve specific events that take place in Florida. In the first novel Serge and Coleman attend Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Orange Crush and Hurricane Punch followed real-life events like Election 2000 and the 2004 hurricane season that saw four major storms smash into Florida.
  • A Simple Plan:
    • Serge will have some harebrained scheme to either generate money, steal money, kill bad people, or promote the great state of Florida. Sometimes all four at once. They're really not planned out well. And yet, they work.
    • Guest-starring villains of a particular novel have some scheme going on, only for Serge or the overall craziness of Florida itself ruining the scheme halfway through the novel.
    • The innocent people who get wrapped up in Serge's plots or the bad guys' plans have a simple plan themselves: try to survive to the last page of the book.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: If there's a single woman major character, odds are she'll be frustrated by the jerks in her life... and meet up with either Serge who'll unleash her inner Bad Girl, or with the Nice Guy character trying to survive Serge's latest scheme who will politely ask her out on a romantic date.
  • Spanner in the Works: Serge and Coleman usually have no idea the size and scope of the schemes around them, but every book wind they wind up dismantling them as people try to figure out who they are.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Various criminal gangs and corrupt corporate heads have some scheme to make money off of a hare-brained plan, only for the cover story of the operation creating too much success for them to hide their criminal activity.
    • In Stingray Shuffle the worst cartel in the world has the bright idea of dealing drugs out of a bookstore that sold only copies of works by Ralph Krunkleton - a Giftedly Bad writer of pulp almost-classics - by cutting out the pages and hiding the dime bags inside each book. Thing was, their book orders for Krunkleton's titles attract the attention of the publisher making the company think there's a revival of his writing going on, and they insist on the bookstore hosting an author's signing in the middle of the store's drug sales...
  • The Stoner: Coleman or Lenny, depending on the book.
    • They meet in Gator a Go-Go, and soon build the world's largest bong out of an aquarium. Then between books some Australians top that with a bong made out of a phone booth, so they reclaim their record by breaking into a university physics lab and making a bong out of a particle accelerator. This gets Coleman and Lenny the title of 'The Bong Brothers', and Coleman is regarded the ultimate dope guru, who other stoners go to for advice on all their drug-related problems (That is, problems with drugs, not problems caused by using drugs).
    • A lot of other characters are heavy users, as well. If they hang around Coleman long enough, by the end of the novel they will be.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: How most of the visiting bad guys in a story overreact when their plans go awry. Subverted with Serge, who only kills those he feels deserve it. While his deathtraps are elaborate, they only target the intended victim. And even then, he gives the victim a way out, usually.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Serge and Coleman in the first book, where surprisingly they aren't really protagonists.
    • Fulbright and Boudreaux, the only other survivors of the governors military unit in Orange Crush.
  • Time Skip: The series isn't written in chronological order. For example, the amnesia Serge suffered in Orange Crush wasn't explained until Stingray Shuffle which was published two novels later.
    • And some novels will rely heavily on flashbacks.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Serge and Coleman actually died at the end of the first book. Next book, they were back, and it was never really explained how they survived.
  • Villain Protagonist: Our hero, the serial killer.
  • Writer on Board:
    • Dorsey attended Auburn University. One of his villains is a former football player from the University of Alabama, Auburn's rival. Cue one very unsympathetic (and idiotic) villain.
    • As a journalist-turned-author, Dorsey is sympathetic to the newspaper publishing industry. Especially in Hurricane Punch and Shark Skin Suite. He worked for the Tampa Tribune, and a lot of novels are based or have scenes in that metro.

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