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Gator A Go Go – Book Review

The key to any great farce is the balancing of characters that are quite off the wall but retain a sense of highly tuned intelligence that see the world in an utterly different way. “Gator A Go Go” [Tim Dorsey/William Morrow/352 pgs] understands its identity in very specific order through its perception of Florida as an ideal. Like Carl Haissen, who also hails from the state, the aspect becomes one of the surrealist but ultimately humorous perception of life positioning itself between the beach and the swamp. This book, which comes off as perfectly suited for film, comes off as a Macgyver-like romp of two men: Serge and Coleman who are like the space cadets of everything extreme. It is their perception of life which undeniably powers the book’s energy. The beginning starts off with a bit of posturing as to who these men really are and, ultimately, the organized crime background that serves as the motivation for the plot is fairly standard. However, it is the out-thinking and actions of Serge against various combatants and interactions with his compatriots that is completely above average. He is like a commando of leisure who is able to outwit federal agents not because they are inept but because they have agendas of their own. Serge is fun and along with two MILF type party girls along for the ride in the visage of Country and City, the abilities and thwarting of sniper hits and the blowing up of small hotels becomes almost commonplace. The violence is comical and lacking of a certain weight which at times beguiles the circumstances but when one adds the actions such as a carnival setting of hair on fire as a torture mechanism or the heroes of the story being thrown out of a hotel for doing a cannonball into a pool off a 4th story balcony, the irony is just paradoxical eneugh to work. What sells the idea too is that these two older men, still running 100 miles an hour, can show up in Panama City at Spring Break and (especially with Coleman) become the King Of The Party in an age of ADD. That is a feat and comes across as believable because ultimately this guy is crazier than all the kids are. The novel mixes aspects of “Burn Notice” perceptions and humor with angles of “The Blues Brothers” and “The Cannonball Run”. And, while there are glimmers of the kind of world that made “Striptease” a fun read, “Gator”, through the characters of Coleman and Spence, has an energy all its own. Out of 5, I give it a 3.

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