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Cadillac Beach    by Tim Dorsey Amazon.com order for
Cadillac Beach
by Tim Dorsey
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Serge Storms is one of the wackiest heroes I've encountered in a long time. Serge is trying to get to the bottom of his grandfather's death forty years before in 1964 Miami. The result is a trip back in time. South Florida was host to the Beatles, Cassius Clay, Jackie Gleason, Flipper oh, the list goes on and on. Anything you ever wanted to know about a movie or a TV program made there is probably accounted for in Cadillac Beach. The performing history of the area is extraordinary.

Serge describes a nightclub with 'Ultradark lighting, smoke, Mike Hammer vibes, neon martini glass over the door, red vinyl booths the kind of place Joe Pesci might walk in any second, located on an up-for-grabs stretch of South Dixie Highway cutting across the underside of the state below Miami desperately tapering toward the Keys like a doomed escape route. The death of hope.' The whole book surges forward like this quick patter, a mind and body that never stops moving forward onto the next scam. Serge is caught in today's world by his quest, while living in the entertainment field of yesterday. He blunders through outrageous schemes, any of which should easily have got him killed ... and comes up smelling like roses.

The CIA, FBI, wiretaps, clandestine meeting places, limousine tours that end in the scrap heap, rides through some of the seamier sides of Miami, bullets puncturing the air, dead bodies littering the streets. Serge keeps the undertakers in business. Cadillac Beach is a fast-paced, action packed read that is hard to put down. Its sheer blatant nonsense is fun, fun, fun. The character of Serge is not to be missed, and pothead Lenny is somehow endearing through the mist of marijuana smoke that constantly surrounds him. The backdrop of Miami should make the visitor look at that old city with respect and awe. The happenings that have gone down there are worthy of it. Enjoy Cadillac Beach and then pass it on to a friend. This is too good to keep to one's self.

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