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10.26.2007

Reviews--Hurricane Punch, After Things Fell Apart

I'm working on Walter Mosley's Blonde Faith. Another (and potentially the last) Easy Rawlins mystery. Review next week.

I finished Tim Dorsey's ninth Serge Storms romp Hurricane Punch this week. I recommend it to fans of the series--Serge and Coleman are in top murderous form--but I'm starting to hunger for something else from the talented Dorsey. I have to compliment him on his style. He's a phenomenal humor writer and Hurricane Punch is packed with comedic treatments of common Florida chicanery (hurricane looters, punks in low-riders with throbbing bass music, price gougers). The pacing is crisp (forty + chapters) and the narrative is very cinematic.

But I'd love to see Dorsey write a stand-alone thriller or a straight crime story. I think there's a lot of territory he can cover, but the Serge series is taking up most of his energy. This isn't the best in the series (Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Florida Roadkill and Triggerfish Twist are my favorites), and I hate to admit it but I'm growing a bit weary of Serge and Coleman. Dorsey's got the writing chops, but I've had (until Atomic Lobster, I suppose) it with the hysterics.

Ron Goulart's Things Fell Apart is a nice little diversion. Published in the late '70s, it's a short, satirical look at a dystopic future in which the U.S. government has been dissolved and California is governed by territorial warlords. It's not unlike The Warriors in that respect. It's the story of a private detective (Jim Haley) trailing a group of feminist assassins. His investigation takes him to the Nixon Institute, a kind of retirment facility for aging rock stars, San Rafael, a sin-filled city run by the Amateur Mafia (no Italians allowed), and Vienna West, a sprawling psychiatirc facility. Goulart's cynical sense of humor and sharp dialogue make this a fun read. Recommended for fans of science fiction.

Mike Bellotti will be the featured guest today on Rome is Burning on ESPN and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead appears in theaters today. With a great cast (love Albert Finney!) and an interesting story I'm intrigued, but there's not much out there in terms of publicity.

Enjoy the weekend.

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