The Bookworm: Dorsey does the 'Tiger Shrimp Tango': Will be at Sunshine Booksellers this weekend

Author Tim Dorsey will be at Sunshine Booksellers South at 3:30 p.m., Sun., Feb. 16, 677 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, Florida. The event is free and open to the public. Janine Dorsey/Special to the Eagle

Author Tim Dorsey will be at Sunshine Booksellers South at 3:30 p.m., Sun., Feb. 16, 677 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, Florida. The event is free and open to the public. Janine Dorsey/Special to the Eagle

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“Tiger Shrimp Tango”

By Tim Dorsey

c. 2014, Wm. Morrow

$25.99/$31.99 Canada

306 pages

It sounded too good to be true. Earn money at home, no investment required. Free for a limited time. No purchase necessary. And what’s your bank account number?

You’re a trusting soul, but you’re also getting good at spotting scams. Read the new novel “Tiger Shrimp Tango” by Tim Dorsey, though, and you’d still better keep your eyes open.

For recent college grad Courtney Styles, Miami was a great place to be.

Yes, she was jobless. But she was living in a fabulous beach house on loan from a rich uncle, and Miami was the perfect place to man-hunt. In fact, while she was pretending to window-shop for a yacht she’d never afford, a French-accented, obviously mega-wealthy hottie struck up a conversation and invited her to lunch at one of those ridiculously trendy spot-of-the-moment restaurants.

Courtney thought her luck had improved, until the man split without paying the check which was considerably bigger than the meal she’d eaten. Worse, by the time she got back to the beach house, everything in it was gone. Stolen.

Serge Storms was convinced that there was a way to unite America. He had a plan but first, he’d made the decision to return to private investigating. Partnering with his old friend, Mahoney, who’d made somewhat of a name for himself by recovering stolen money on behalf of scam victims, was a good way to start. Ever since a ring of criminals began swindling wealthy South Floridians and getting away with big bucks, Mahoney’s phone had been jangling nonstop.

Hoping that he could help Mahoney by (not-so)-gently pressuring the thieves to give up their life of crime, Serge headed for Miami in a 1978 Trans Am. Riding shotgun was his sidekick, Coleman. And somewhere along State Road 60, on their way south, Serge sketched out his not-quite-detailed plan.

It involved Republicans, scientific principles, political theory, Democrats, and helping their fellow man. Plus, whatever else came along. Bottom line, it meant the scam ring would be stopped.

Unless someone stopped Serge first

If you’re a fan of author Tim Dorsey’s Serge Storm books, you can stop reading right here and go find this novel. Go ahead. Go.

But if you’re new to this series, there are a few things you’ll want to know, beginning with the fact that “Tiger Shrimp Tango” makes zero sense for a good long time. It’s chaotic, frenetic, and feels as if someone poured five manuscripts into a bucket, stirred, and printed. Welcome to Serge’s world.

What you need to do is to trust that Dorsey won’t leave you hanging because he doesn’t. After awhile, the story comes into focus like a cheap microscope and you’ll realize how much fun it is to spend time with a brilliant madman, his bong-loving sidekick, and a PI who speaks in hilariously nonsensical code.

I can’t stress enough, though, that this novel takes some getting used to. It’s wild; lovingly violent; and very, very clever. If that’s something you can handle, then “Tiger Shrimp Tango” might sound good to you.

Viking

Viking

“The Longest Date: Life as a Wife”

By Cindy Chupack

c. 2014, Viking

$26.95/$31.00 Canada

212 pages

Your calendar looks like Swiss cheese.

Every week, nearly every entry, there are holes where there should be events. Blanks where fun should be penned in. Emptiness where there should be excitement.

Your six-year-old neighbor has a better social life than yours: she has play dates all the time. You haven’t dated in eons. But read “The Longest Date” by Cindy Chupack, and you’ll see that these things just take time.

Ever the romantic, Cindy Chupack says that, while single, she “slept only with men I believed I could marry.” She won’t can’t say how many men that was, but “[a]lcohol was often involved.”

Oh, sure, she’d been married before but it didn’t work out mostly because, two years postnuptial, her then-husband realized “he might be gay.” Chupack was nonetheless hopeful for Happily Someday After, which is why it was nice to meet Ian.

Ian was cute and impulsive in a fun way; the kind of guy who stayed in touch with old girlfriends and was “definitely more of a bad boy than I had ever dated.” Chupack told herself not to fall for him. She knew his type. Ian wasn’t “that guy.”

But he was, and she made room for him in her “Fabulous Beach House,” though it irked her that Ian “would come with things” for which she also needed to make room. He came with far-fetched dreams, outrageous holiday rituals, and friends she’d have to spend time with, too.

Still, she married him and came home from the honeymoon, pregnant.

Realizing that she wanted children badly, Chupack was happy until she miscarried her honeymoon baby, and then she lost another. Fearing that she was “too old” to get pregnant again, she and Ian tried nearly everything modern medicine had to offer (and some things it didn’t). They also fought, made up, got a dog, renewed their vows annually, and learned to be marriage partners long before they’d ever need to learn to be parents.

“Maybe fictional characters live happily ever after,” says Chupack, “but for the nonfictional rest of us, the story continues with a lot more complexity ”

What’s it like to be a wife?

Author Cindy Chupack says in her introduction that she “wanted to tell the honest, horrible, hysterical truth about the early years of marriage.”

But I think “The Longest Date” missed the mark.

Now, I have to admit that there are a few chuckles here and there in this book. Not belly-laugh stuff but yeah, it’s comedic. What I saw more of, however, was an abundance of heels-dug-in fussing and angst-y, cynical wisecracks. That can be amusing but it can also be annoying, and the latter is what won this race in my eyes.

The reason to read this book lies in the parts not intended for humor. That’s where Chupack does absolute magic in her story but is it enough? That would depend on what you want in a book: some readers might find “The Longest Date” to be perfect, while others might think it too cheesy.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

IF YOU GO

Tim Dorsey Sunshine at Booksellers

Tim Dorsey, author of “Tiger Shrimp Tango,” will be at Sunshine Booksellers at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. This author of the 17 book Serge Storm series, all of which are set in South Florida, will be entertaining his readers with stories of his writing, answering questions and autographing books. This event is free and open to the public and will be held at Sunshine Booksellers, 677 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

Information: 239-393-0353.

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