"PINEAPPLE GRENADE." By Tim Dorsey. Morrow. $24.99.
At this point in Tim Dorsey's comic series about a serial killer who wreaks havoc on those who don't respect Florida or its history, the Tampa, Fla., author could easily give up any pretense of a plot.
The plots in his Serge A. Storms series are just window dressing for what readers really come to this series for -- to see how Dorsey will skewer Florida, its residents and tourists while, at the same time, showing enormous affection for all three. And he achieves this with the literary equivalent of a Three Stooges episode, using broad, slapstick humor that is never sophisticated or, heaven forbid, politically correct.
Dorsey's novels are the printed version of the old slip on a banana peel routine. Ironically, Dorsey has never used the word banana in a title but the series shows no signs of slowing down so there is still hope.
"Pineapple Grenade" marks Dorsey's 15th outing with Serge -- if you count last year's Christmas novella "When Elves Attack" (and we do) -- so the author deserves kudos for making his shtick work all these years.
"Pineapple Grenade's" plot -- and there is a thread-bare plot -- has Serge wanting to be a spy. No doubt he's seen "Burn Notice" one too many times, but he's serious, well, as serious he can be, and he figures that South Florida teems with spies. So where better to be one?
But a spy is supposed to be working undercover, not running around in superhero capes in Florida, targeting those who don't appreciate Florida and those criminals who carjack tourists who are lost after they leave the airport. Dorsey also weaves in gunrunners, politics, corrupt and good federal agents, oil spills, a grenade launcher and shopping into "Pineapple Grenade."
Tourists, Biscayne Bay's Stiltsville, shopping, the Charles Deering estate, run-down motels, Tampa, and the airport from which Amelia Earhart's final flight took off receive the Dorsey nod.
"Pineapple Grenade" is a topsy-turvy, slap-happy romp through Florida. It never fails to surprise that Dorsey's humor still holds up. "Pineapple Grenade" offers many laugh-out loud moments. But, and I have to say this, after having been in hysterics over "Lunatics" by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, "Pineapple Grenade" can be a bit like watching "Whitney" after back to back episodes of "Parks and Recreation."
-- Oline H. Cogdill