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Tropic of Stupid

Review

Tropic of Stupid

Pandemic disruptions within the publishing industry (and every other industry) notwithstanding, Serge A. Storms (or should I say his creator, Tim Dorsey?) is like the Duke of Earl: Nothing can stop his annual appearance at the start of each year. TROPIC OF STUPID is 2021’s entry and the 24th installment. As the series approaches its silver volume, Dorsey and his literary offspring show absolutely no signs of slowing down.

TROPIC OF STUPID is a gonzo travelogue wrapped in an interesting crime story shot through from stem to stern with deranged humor. Serge and his well-toasted buddy, Coleman, traverse Florida while Serge conducts what is practically a non-stop verbal tour of whatever corner or crevice of the state they might happen to be traveling through. The purpose of their wanderings is actually two-fold.

"TROPIC OF STUPID is a gonzo travelogue wrapped in an interesting crime story shot through from stem to stern with deranged humor."

Prompted by a late-night television commercial, Serge submitted his DNA to one of those ancestry tracing sites. Armed with a plethora of information about his murky gene pool, he is hellbent on locating his distant relatives. Serge also has acquired a state park passport and is happily --- one might say obsessively --- having each page stamped by the appropriate personnel as the duo visits different Florida state parks. This results in some hilarious interactions with park visitors and rangers, including one employee who has a heck of a vocational backstory and who, with an assist from Serge, rights a wrong that occurred a couple of decades ago.

What the ranger and few other people realize is that, in addition to being a fount of information about all things Florida, Serge is a serial killer who (mostly) confines his circle of victims to those who are discourteous or who prey upon the disadvantaged. His targets in TROPIC OF STUPID include purse and wallet snatchers who victimize the elderly at convenience stores, as well as online con artists who bilk the ill and infirm by setting them up in fraudulent rental properties.

Serge never seems to run out of new and inventive ways to ensure that justice is done in such a manner that prospective repeat offenders...don’t. Even the most peaceful among us might be forgiven if we chortle a bit (or a lot) at the manner in which Serge administers an appropriate punishment to such bullies. No one should feel guilty by wishing or hoping that someone like Serge truly exists. It is but one of the many strengths in a series whose familiarity, book after book, is such a joy.

Given that Dorsey remains at the top of his game, I am anticipating major events to accompany the publication of Serge’s adventures in 2022. Be ready. There is TROPIC OF STUPID and a wonderful backlist to read in the meantime.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 29, 2021

Tropic of Stupid
by Tim Dorsey

  • Publication Date: January 26, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062967509
  • ISBN-13: 9780062967503