Publication Date: January 22, 2013
The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey is the eighteenth book in the Serge Storms series. Serge and Coleman are back and filming a reality show down the coast. Patrick and Barbara McDougall are laid off from their jobs in Wisconsin and they decide to vacation in Florida, a state that holds fond memories for Patrick as he lived there as a young child. Florida isn’t exactly as Patrick remembers. In the meantime, the pain pill market is alive and well in southern Florida and causing a bit of a bloody war. Can the ever-helpful Serge help the McDougalls stay alive long enough to get back to Wisconsin?
Tim Dorsey’s novels are brutally violent. In The Riptide Ultra-Glide, one guy lashes another to a post to die in the elements and another crushed with expanding bags of sand and yet another is buried alive. Immediately after these events, we meet Serge, who is high-strung and highly entertaining, and his stoner sidekick, Coleman,; the violence doesn’t seem so intense. Balancing Serge is Coleman, who whenever the word camera shifts to him, is popping a can, or taking a hit of coke, or popping a Vicodin. Each would be a little much, but together they’re entertainment.
The Serge Storms series is one that, for the reader to enjoy, suspension of disbelief must be firmly embraced. Serge is firmly an anti-hero. He’s a serial killer, who believes that he is exacting balance and fairness on society. He’s also not a careful killer. In The Riptide Ultra-Glide Serge is pushed around by a man at an ATM, who he then carries around in his trunk, into a home he’s robbing (which he feels he’s performing a helpful service as the owner has died and he’s helping clean out the place for the kids who will put it up for sale), and then dumps him to die in the elements. Any good law enforcement agency these days would have the killer pegged in a second with modern techniques. Jail doesn’t serve Serge’s purpose of making the world a better place, so Dorsey doesn’t inflict it on him.
It does take a long time for all of the storylines to come together in The Riptide Ultra-Glide. In the meantime, we have the set-up for the pill scam, Coleman the celebrity, Serge the Florida historian, and reality star who is making conflict for the camera, Pat and Bar in their jobs in Wisconsin. Dorsey is an author for whom the story is about the journey and not the end. Serge tells us of a crook who climbs through the vents of a business only to get stuck:
“If your arrest involves a lot of butter, or, even more embarrassing, I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter, then you actually need to go to jail, if for nothing else just some hang time to inner-reflect.” (Kindle location 154)
Later in the week, my co-worker brought her lunch in an “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” tub and I laughed, and then I was in Wal-Mart in the margarine section and laughed. The Serge Storm books are just THAT kind of novel for me.
There are also some jabs at Michigan that I loved. Like a rock star doing a shout-out at a concert, when Dorsey mentioned the Detroit area the inner Tammy yelled, “YEAH!” I absolutely loved The Riptide Ultra-Glide. If you like wacky the Serge Storms series is for you. To close this review in Dorsey style, I will have to quote Serge congratulating Coleman:
“Use sunscreen; don’t do heroin … if you could give the entire human race only one sentence of advice, I think you’ve just nailed it”. (Kindle Edition location 3449).
For more book reviews, read Clownfish Blues (Serge Stormes Book 21) by Tim Dorsey.
Read an excerpt and buy Rip Tide Ultra Glide by Tim Dorsey on