In Stingray Shuffle, Dorsey's fifth book, but only fourth chronologically, the author finally wraps-up the storyline begun in Florida Roadkill and continued in Hammerhead Ranch Motel.
Serge A. Storms, psycho-killer and history-buff, and his spaced-out partner Lenny are back, still searching for the elusive silver suitcase containing the proceeds of his insurance fraud.
After two novels, the suitcase has changed hands eight times and now resides in the hands of Paul, the passive-aggressive private eye, and a Hemingway-impersonator named Jethro, but it does not reside there long, as a whole new cast joins the adventure, including:
-Booze, Books, and Broads, a book club made-up of single-moms who all shared a dorm at the University of Florida.
-Ivan, a former KGB hitman, and his two teams of Russians who are hot on Serge's trail, but with more aptitude for self-destruction than murder.
-Eugene Tibbs, a former blues-musician-turned-restroom-attendant, who patterns his life on an out-of-print mystery novel.
-Ralph Krunkelton, a former author, now a crab fisherman. His books are resurrected from the remainder pile by a drug-pushing scheme involving a bookshop as a front.
-The Great Mez-Mo, Spider, Bruno Litsky, Frankie Chan, Xolack the Mentalist, Steppenwolf, and DeeDee Lowenstein as Carmen Miranda, two-bit nightclub performers who made in medium touring the flea-bag circuit.
All of these characters, plus the suitcase, are thrown together in this manic novel that races from the southern-most Key to the streets of New York and back to Miami on a wild ride aboard the Silver Stingray, an antique Amtrak locomotive hosting a two-day "mystery theatre" that mysteriously mimics the events being played-out under the noses of those aboard, finally leading to a jarring and unforgettable conclusion.
This report prepared by James Craver
Morrow, Feb 2003, 24.95, 303 pp.
Mr. Grande of the Mierde Cartel hires the Russian Mafioso to recover the five million drug dollars that Serge A. Storms and his almost as wacky partner Lenny Lippowics stole and stashed in the Hammerhead Ranch Motel that no longer stands due to a hurricane. Though killing is like apple pie for Serge, the former KGB agents do a good job of eliminating themselves in the nearby swamps without his assistance.
Though he does not have time to fool around if he wants to enjoy his new hobby trains, Serge makes time to insure one of the Russians dies from a hole in one. He also rids himself of some pesky frat idiots for defacing his beloved train, the Rambler. Still the Russians are coming again and chase Serge to Times Square for the ball to drop. On whose head is now the question as now the Cosa Nostra and Jamaicans join the fray that frantically ends up on a murder mystery ride aboard the Silver Stingray heading to Florida.
As frenetically crazy as ever, THE STINGRAY SHUFFLE is a wild ride up and down the East Coast with the usual high homicide count, several in amusing ways. The story line moves at a rapid pace with lunatics at every stop seeking the suitcase of loot. Serge is as wacko as ever so that readers receive his usual feral trip and his support cast seems more like escapees from an asylum. Tim Dorsey has written another delightfully hectic spin that fans will enjoy, but insist he go decaf in the future so one can catch a breath or two.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner