To say a comic mystery by Tim Dorsey is unusual sounds a bit redundant. This time, it is not. The Pope of Palm Beach, the 21st Serge Storms adventure is not really about Serge Storms. The story here focuses on a legendary surfer named Darby and his protege Kenny. This Tim Dorsey mystery is also unusual because the body count is relatively low. Kindle: The Pope of Palm Beach: A Novel (Serge Storms)

Darby Pope is a surf legend in Palm Beach. He knows everybody and everybody knows him. He takes a young kids named Kenny under his wing. Years go by, something happens, and Kenny ends up taking care of Pope. Kenny has no purpose and neither does Pope. Until Kenny decides to become a writer and Pope mentors him towards his first novel.

This is where Serge Storms, psychokiller extraordinaire comes in with his friend Coleman. Storms is on a pilgrimage of spots where famous writers live. He arrives at Kenny’s house and discovers Kenny has become a recluse. Nothing stops Serge Storms so he discovers what happened.

Serge discoves a cache of novels Kenny has been afraid to send out, gets one published, and then impersonates Kenny on the book tour to draw out the bad guys who have been looking for Kenny all these years.

The Pope of Palm Beach, though unusual, has all the Tim Dorsey trademarks. There is lots of Florida lore, strange and mad characters, Johnny Vegas the eternal virgin, and Serge Storms usual rants and observations about Florida and the human condition.

Those who enjoy reading Tim Dorsey in part for the unusual and imaginative ways Storms dispatches those who are not copacetic with his views will be a bit disappointed. Aside from a couple of killing by turtle, there are not many spectacular send-offs.

You do get to find out that Serge Storms and Coleman’s path crossed when they were five year olds at the beach. So that is a plus.

I would not introduce a new reader to Tim Dorsey with The Pope of Palm Beach as it if off center from the series, but it is up to par with the series.

If you like Tim Dorsey, you will also enjoy Carl Hiaasen and Laurence Shames

The Pope of Palm Beach
Serge Storms 21
Tim Dorsey
William Morrow
352 pages

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