Wednesday, March 9, 2011


First lines: "Orlando. Tourism on steroids."

Serge Storms is constructing a "fugitive vacation" for tourists in Florida because Florida is where all the criminals go to hide out. It's only fitting, and Serge believes tourists want to experience the criminal side of life, not the same old boring tourist traps. So as Serge leads the police on a wild goose chase throughout the state, he blogs about how to enjoy Florida the way a fugitive would: fugitive geography, fugitive parenting, hiding in plain sight, etc. While Serge is evading law enforcement and blogging about it, he is also leaving behind a trail of creative murders. How many corpses will Serge leave behind before the fuzz finally catch up with him?

When I started ELECTRIC BARRACUDA I was a little concerned. It seemed as though it was going to be slapstick comedy with no real purpose. Me and "funny for the sake of funny" don't really mesh well. But Dorsey doesn't do "funny for the sake of funny." ELECTRIC BARRACUDA is rife with social commentary, adding depth and dimension to the plot. He takes a stab at the banking industry, poaching and the environment, tourism, even child rearing. At times Dorsey's satire is so painfully true, all you can do is laugh to keep from crying at the reality:

"Because [suicide hotline] is a job that requires a high level of education and compassion for your fellow man," said Serge. "It's like teachers. They know they're decent folk who are going to do it anyway. And when people are that virtuous, there's only one thing to do under our system: shit on 'em each paycheck."

ELECTRIC BARRACUDA is populated by a cast of unusually colorful characters. Serge's sidekick is an alcoholic drug addict who's probably on his last few brain cells. Serge's eccentricity meshes well with Coleman's dimness. Somehow they keep each other on track. The team of law enforcement agents pursuing Serge are equally idiosyncratic, enhancing the bizarreness of the dance these two teams do across the state.

The plot is quirky and at times - o.k., most of the time - over the top, but it's also adroitly crafted to illustrate the ludicrousness that we have come to accept as normal and copacetic. Maybe those we consider normal need to see the view through the eyes of those we consider aberrant to truly understand the level of our waywardness.

ELECTRIC BARRACUDA is available in hardcover from WILLIAM MORROW (ISBN: 978-0-06-187689-9) and in audiobook from Harper Audio (ISBN:  978-0-06-206372-4). This blog post is part of the ELECTRIC BARRACUDA blog tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to check the site for a video from Tim Dorsey as well as additional reviews.


heathertlc March 9, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

"to illustrate the ludicrousness that we have come to accept as normal" Oh yes, our society certainly DOES accept some pretty crazy stuff as the norm these days.

This sounds like a wild and crazy read for sure!

Amy March 9, 2011 at 1:27 PM  

Electric Barracudawas my first Tim Dorsey and I was so impressed! At first I thought it was just going to be slapstick and comedy. But it's so much more than that!

Tim Dorsey is a very smart guy and very aware of the issues and ills in society. I'm looking forward to reading more of his books.

I enjoyed your review!

Jen Forbus March 10, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

Definitely a wild and crazy read. And yes Amy...Dorsey is a smart cookie!

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