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Cadillac Beach: A Novel by Tim Dorsey
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Cadillac Beach: A Novel (edition 2004)

by Tim Dorsey

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375628,807 (3.69)11
Member:DrLed
Title:Cadillac Beach: A Novel
Authors:Tim Dorsey
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Mystery-Crime

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Cadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Normally, I would never give a book like this 5 stars, but there is a fake letter in the middle that I think is brilliant and prescient. (You can skip the review and go right to the italics below.) This book is a classic example of how a really good narrator can make a good book truly a wonderful experience. George Wilson reads this and his inflections and characterizations are terrific.

A very funny book that reminds me of Carl Hiaasen. Lots of gags about Miami Beach, e.g., they sell bullet hole decals for cars and use them to cover up real bullet holes. Serge, the miscreant psychotic - he escaped from an institution - keeps post-it notes handy to stick on the steering wheel as he is driving so he can remember the things he has to do: "Develop and market my new line of South Beach energy drinks, complete rehabilitation and release of Loxahtachee marsh mouse, solve mystery of grandfather's death, recover fortune in missing diamonds from America's largest gem heist, cripple the mob in South Florida, embarrass Castro on the global stage, help Chamber of Commerce with image crisis, and restore respect for the brave men and women of the US intelligence community, to name but a few.

Serge seems to be able to talk his way out of anything and his antics are pure gold. I loved the scene where he chased down a sniper (on foot) and when asked how in the world he caught the man, Serge replied, "well, most people think you'll give up after twenty blocks, I got him at 123rd street." {or something like that.) Then he hangs the guy in the bathroom and starts up a John Deere power tool to torture some truth out of him. The others gasp and ask why he got a leaf blower. "There were out of chain saws." Soon the hostages hair is beginning to wave and Serge remarks they are making progress with the leaf blower, "a rash is already beginning to form on his chest." Priceless.

Much of the comedy is serious commentary. Serge's letter to the Wall Street Journal is laugh out loud funny; at the same time a very accurate take on classes and Wall Street shenaniganms. I challenge you to read this and tell me Dorsey isn't prescient:

The Wall Street Journal Wall Street U.S.A.

From: Serge A. Storms

Re: The Coming Revolution

I saw where you ran the Unabomber's Manifesto some time ago, and I had to wonder: Is this how far your paper has fallen? Are you that hard up for good expository writing these days?

I read the whole essay. What a nutbar! I know where he was trying to go, but in the end it just turned into word salad. Didn't anybody edit that thing?

Okay, I'm not one to criticize unless I have solutions, so you can start by publishing my

"Wake-Up Call to the Fat Cats":
How everything has changed. And how quickly. It seemed like only yesterday the sky was the limit for my stock portfolio with heavy positions in midcap techs and George Foreman Grills.

Now, just a few years later, federal cheese lines are back, and the American family is busy piecing together tiny scraps of soap found around the bathroom to make new bars. We are living in riotous times. Remember a little while ago when you corporate types told us, "Oh, you don't need a pension anymore. We'll set you up with a nice 401 (k). You'll be much wealthier. Trust us." And that wealth will be based on?

"Our profits. " Which will be determined by?

"Our accountants. . . Have a nice retirement."

And now we're sitting around kitchen tables looking at monthly statements like people staring over deck rails at an iceberg and being told they're a bit shy on lifeboats.

But remember the joy? Remember how fun it was to set up your portfolio on the Internet with a cute little program, check it each day, maybe open an Ameritrade account and become like the so-pleased people in those ads? Yes, we have arrived.

Then storm clouds. Everyone out of the pool!

The revelations hit like a series of body blows. Cooked books, bogus oversight, Enron shuffling energy contracts like a three-handed blackjack dealer and the curtain being pulled back on World Com to show two Dixie cups and a string. . . .Let's cut through the fog. This is what happened: Wall Street held an open house for the middle class. "Come on in! You're now one of us. You, too, can play. Everyone is empowered! Doesn't it feel good?"

Then you took all our fucking money!

I turned on the TV. Every channel was talking about all the billions of dollars in investments that have been wiped out. . . . Hold on a sec. "Wiped out"? What the hell are they talking about? No money was "wiped out." It just went in your pockets.

So I have a few thoughts I'd like to share.

First, Wall Street: I'd start carrying guns if I were you.

Your annual reports are worse fiction than the screenplay for Dude, Where's My Car?, which you further inflate by downsizing and laying off the very people whose life savings you're pillaging. How long do you think you can do that to people?

There are consequences. Maybe not today. Or tomorrow. But inevitably. Just ask the Romanovs. They had a nice little setup, too, until that knock at the door.

Second, Congress: We're on to your act.

In the middle of the meltdown, CSPAN showed you pacing the Capitol floor yapping about "under God" staying in the Pledge of Allegiance and attacking the producers of Sesame Street for introducing an HIV-positive Muppet. Then you passed some mealy-mouthed reforms and
crowded to get inside In the middle of the meltdown, CSPAN showed you pacing the Capitol floor yapping about "under God" staying in the Pledge of Allegiance and attacking the producers of Sesame Street
for introducing an HI V-positive Muppet. Then you passed some mealy-mouthed reforms and crowded to get inside the crop marks at the photo op like a frat-house phone-booth stunt.

News flash: We out here in the Heartland care infinitely more about God-and-Country issues because we have internal moral-guidance systems that make you guys look like a squadron of gooney birds landing facedown on an icecap and tumbling ass over kettle. But unlike you, we
have to earn a living and can't just chuck our job responsibilities to march around the office ranting all day that the less-righteous offend us. Jeez, you're like autistic schoolchildren who keep getting up from your desks and wandering to the window to see if there's a new demagoguery jungle gym out on the playground. So sit back down, face forward and pay attention!

In summary, what's the answer?

The reforms laws were so toothless they were like me saying that I passed some laws, and the president and vice president have forgotten more about insider trading than Martha Stewart will ever know.

Yet the powers that be say they're doing everything they can. But they're conveniently forgetting a little constitutional sitcom from the nineties that showed us what the government can really do when it wants to go Starr Chamber. That's with two rs.

Does it make any sense to pursue Wall Street miscreants any less vigorously than Ken Starr sniffed down Clinton's sex life? And remember, a sitting president actually got impeached over that-something incredibly icky but in the end free of charge to taxpayers, except for the $40 million the independent posse
spent dragging citizens into motel rooms and staring at jism through magnifying glasses. But where's that kind of government excess now? Where's a coffee-cranked little prosecutor when you really need him?

I say, bring back the independent counsel. And when we finally nail you stock-market cheats, it's off to a real prison, not the rich guys' jail. Then, in a few years, when the first of you start walking back out the gates with that new look in your eyes, the rest of the herd
will get the message pretty fast.

Have a happy. . .

serge
( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
When a bunch of drunk salesmen from a condiment convention pull a practical joke on the wrong man, a hail of gunfire erupts. Meanwhile, Serge discovers a clue that may help him identify his grandfather's murderer. But before he can get in over his head investigating, he'll have to break out of the mental hospital - again! After a brilliant escape, involving the re-enactment of an episode of Hogan's Heroes, Serge is back on the streets and ready for action. ( )
  jepeters333 | Feb 16, 2010 |
Mildly entertaining. Quick read -- very hyper main character. Had it figured out mostly before it was 2/3 over. ( )
  andsoitgoes | Sep 2, 2009 |
Tone of language: deadpan, realistic, fast-moving
Characters: Fearless and impulsive, the main characters remain incorruptible and innocent despite the questionable behaviors they find they have to resort to in this insane world.
Plot twists: The main character, who is psychopathic, forces the plot to develop in ways that reflect his no-holds-barred, unpredictable personality.
Pace: Fast: without a moment's hesitation, Dorsey's anti-hero concocts and executes his schemes.
Values: People who hurt others are a detriment and insignificant, and their lives can be ended.
Sexuality: Sex is a casual matter especially because it doesn't occur enough to make a big deal out of it.
Background research: Miami history, popular culture, rock music.
Ending: Fairness rules, but it comes about in coincidental ways you would never anticipate.
Objectionable to any any group: spies, the Mafia, Cubans
Flaws: Did Lou have to transform her self-serving promiscuity to fall in love with Sergio and remain faithful for so many years? ( )
  unrequitedlibrarian | Jul 14, 2009 |
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In 1964 three champion surfers committed the biggest jewel heist in U.S. History, knocking over New York City’s Museum of Natural History in a daring midnight burglary.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060556943, Mass Market Paperback)

And busting out of Chattahoochee State Hospital ... without his meds! The thrill-killing Floridaphile needs to get to the bottom of his bookie grandad's bizarre 1964 death -- not to mention launch "Serge & Lenny's Florida Experience," the new Miami specialty tour venture he's cooked up with his best brain-dead druggie-buddy. It's all good. For Serge A. Storms, anyway. Not so much for anyone else.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Serge A. Storms is back! The one-man crime spree hits no speed bumps as he swings through Tampa, Disney World, and parts south before settling down in Miami Beach to team up with a former sidekick and launch his long-overdue offbeat travel service." "It's a labor of love as Serge forces customers to confront the underbelly of the Sunshine State's past and present. Some clients get it; others run for their lives. No matter. Bullets fly, cars crash, bodies pile up, fireballs reach into the sky, local lore is recited. The tour continues." "Our overachieving antihero has a full to-do list, and he multitasks during the tourist juggernaut to battle the Palermo crime family, mystery assassins, local police, the FBI, the CIA, Fidel Castro, and telemarketers." "Serge is also out to solve a forty-year-old mystery involving the infamous "Murph the Surf" gem heist. Could this be what got his grandfather killed? So we jump into the time machine to meet his eccentric granddad, Sergio, who is running a small-time bookie operation in 1964 Miami Beach, a golden time and place populated by the Beatles, Cassius Clay, James Bond, Jackie Gleason, and Flipper. Back to live action! Serge and his customers have become the hunted, hopscotching through a series of famous hotel rooms. But Serge tells them not to worry. He has a master plan, which is about to unfold in all of its insane glory...on Cadillac Beach!"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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