Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey — review

From the publisher: “Bottom feeders beware: The Sunshine State’s favorite psychotic killer and lovable Floridaphile, Serge Storms, has found a new calling, legal eagle, and he’s going to make a killing as a crusading attorney – – and star as a dashing lawyer on the big screen – – in this madcap escapade . . . When it comes to swimming with the sharks, there is no bigger kahuna than Serge Storms. Bingeing on a marathon of legal movies set in Florida, Serge finds his vocation: the law. Never mind law school or that degree; Serge becomes a freelance fixer – – wildcat paralegal and pilgrim to the hallowed places where legal classics of the big screen such as Body Heat, Cool Hand Luke, and Absence of Malice were filmed practically in his own backyard.”

I found it nearly impossible to summarize the plot of this book; suffice it to say that I began and ended the book with a silly smile on my face, which was the default display for much of everything in between. As stated above, much of the novel is an homage to those classic films; to say that Serge is a movie buff is a huge understatement. In addition, the author captures the feel of the Florida streets in, e.g., downtown Miami: “The foot traffic was determined in the midday heat. Folded newspapers, briefcases, take-out bags with Cuban sandwiches. A teenager sprinted up the middle of the street with a fistful of wristwatches. A whiskered man on the corner of Flagler had been screaming and kicking his own bicycle for five minutes. A shopowner chasing the shoplifting teen was hit by an ambulance. One of the folded newspapers told of a mysterious eyeball the size of a cantaloupe that had washed upon the beach. Everything was normal. Pedestrians continued chatting on cell phones.”

The author’s writing style is certainly unique, and the resulting work is recommended. Just what I needed after a fairly steady recent diet of dark, death- and danger-filled books. (Although I should perhaps add that there are a couple of dead bodies before the book comes to a close.

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