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Nuclear Jellyfish    by Tim Dorsey Amazon.com order for
Nuclear Jellyfish
by Tim Dorsey
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Tim Dorsey's Nuclear Jellyfish brings Serge and Coleman back to the highways and byways of Florida, wreaking their own brand of justice on unsuspecting individuals who do not comfortably fit into their own lifestyle. For all the mayhem that follows these two demented souls, the mirth outweighs the gore.

Serge has set up a blog to tout Florida as the ideal vacation spot. He has decided to become a travel writer and has notified various travel publications of his aspirations. As yet (unbelievably to him) he has not been accepted on any of the magazines' or journals' staffs. Not to be defeated, he is racing with Coleman from one tourist spot to another the whole length of the Sunshine State, to record the glories of various important to him spots of this state's again, according to him - glorious history. Unfortunately, his version of Floridiana proves to be arcane, wacky, and best forgotten.

In the fever of his quest, Serge manages to punish wrongdoing in the most unpleasant but inventive ways. While recoiling from the horror of his imaginative mind, the reader has to gasp and think: Wow! That's something I never would have thought of. Serge and Coleman also run into a woman, Story Long, who is putting herself through college by stripping though she prefers to call it exotic dancing. A little hooking on the side goes a long way to paying her college tuition.

Serge has to be the most outrageous figure on the printed page. Coleman doesn't get too involved. He is either too busy downing another beer or looking for his next fix. Serge has a detective Mahoney on his tail. Mahoney has been tracking his quarry so long that he doesn't want anyone else to stop Serge on his mad dash through the state. He alerts Serge to trouble and helps him out while still warning him that he will arrest him in the end.

A more off-the-wall, madcap human being cannot be imagined. Dorsey has captured in Serge all the desires that we might have but would never carry out - retribution against an individual who has cut him off on the road; or someone who has outfoxed an older person who hasn't the energy or wits to fight back; or the man who sells out-of-date items; the list goes on. Serge is also involved in helping a hapless soul, who was ripped off by a ruthless gang stealing from traveling salesmen up and down the state. They knew not what they were doing when they challenged our Serge. May we read more of Serge in many books to come. He's an old friend by now.

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