Gator-a-Go-Go (Serge Storms #12)

Serge A. Storms and Dexter Morgan have a lot in common. Both are Florida-based serial killers who only target those who deserve their fate, and each has a wicked sense of humor. But Dexter – in print, if not onscreen – has been hampered by his increasingly barren creator, Jeff Lindsay, while Serge’s inventor, Tim Dorsey, continues his character’s breakneck momentum into his 12th novel, juggling a complicated and intense story with antics that can only be attributed to the Sunshine State’s greatest maniac. Gator a-Go-Go reunites all the Dorsey characters that have survived so far: Coleman, City and Country, the G-Unit, the Davenports (in the form of their son Melvin), Johnny Vegas and, of course, Agent Mahoney. (Lenny and the lone surviving Diaz brother appear as drive-by references, as does the not-so-dearly-departed Sharon). The story revolves around Patrick McKenna and his son Andy, who have just been unmasked after fifteen years in the Witness Protection Program. The question running through the novel is: who will get to them first, the Miami-based drug dealers or the FBI? And just who, in that equation, are the bad guys? The action takes place during spring break, progressing from Panama City Beach to Fort Lauderdale, as Serge films a documentary on the annual event and Coleman becomes the guru of a band of faithful collegians that includes Andy McKenna. He’s not only fleeing his frigid New Hampshire campus, but a quartet of killers intent on erasing him, and any companions, as revenge for his father’s testimony a decade and a half earlier. As the assassins unerringly track Serge and his merry band throughout their journey, they realize a good guy has turned informant, and Serge, naturally, becomes Andy’s protector … but he isn’t sure he trusts Florida’s pre-eminent psycho trickster, especially as the mayhem reaches record levels (along with spot-on references to Flat Stanley and inspired use of Bacardi 151). While the usual band of spring break participants are trotted out – drunk and crazy kids, Girls Gone Haywire, bikers, hookers, preachers, pawn brokers and reality TV — Dorsey keeps the story fresh by injecting the regular crew, along with a troop of newcomers, in consistently interesting sidelines that eventually, and seamlessly, meld with the main story. He never drops a character or incident, and he maintains a level of suspense Lindsay’s Dexter tales have never managed – all in the service of Serge A. Storms. May his freak flag bravely, and forever, wave.

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