The Bookworm Sez: Enjoy the mayhem in 'Shark Skin Suite'

The Bookworm Sez: Enjoy the mayhem in ‘Shark Skin Suite’

Always be kind to others.

Consider the feelings of your fellow humans. Treat them as you would be treated. That’s the Golden Rule, something you learned early-on.

Being kind makes life smoother, quid pro quo, tit for tat — and besides, as in the new novel “Shark Skin Suite” by Tim Dorsey (c.2015, William Morrow, $26.99, 323 pages), you never know who you might meet up with, and whether or not they’ll have a gun.

When the mortgage crisis hit America, homeowners in Florida were among the most affected. Foreclosures, therefore, were altogether too common and lots of people lost their homes.

For Serge Storms, abandoned houses were four walls of opportunity. He and his sidekick, Coleman, could move into an empty house, sleep in a dry room, steal electricity from the neighbors, and not worry about paying. Empty homes were great places to think, and to plan for Serge’s new job as a legal “fixer.”

Being a fixer was only half his future, though. Once he also figured out how to practice law without actually going to law school, Serge could easily, more efficiently deal with criminals — although using them for experiments was way more interesting.

In the meantime, Serge was wanted for several murders around Florida .

Following a bold move and a big win in a pro-bono case, attorney Brook Campanella was surprised to receive a job offer from Florida’s most prestigious law firm. Working for Shapiro, Heathcote-Mendacious and Blatt would be a privilege with a hotter paycheck, but legal-aid work was far from corporate law and the latter wasn’t good for Brook’s nerves: on her first day, she was assigned as a lead prosecutor in one of Florida’s biggest corporate cases, a suit against a major bank. An equally inexperienced colleague would be co-counsel.

It was obvious from the beginning that the case was doomed.

The only pleasant thing was that proceedings were moved to Key West, and Brook knew that area well. Back when she was a paralegal, she fell in love with a guy who showed her around, took her to bars, had a few laughs.

Man, she hadn’t thought of Serge Storms in ages …

Sometimes, I’d like to see inside author Tim Dorsey’s head.

What kind of mind creates such wild mayhem, such Rube-Goldberg-like chaos, and wraps it in a Fortean ending that works? Who else writes serious, almost angry rants and sticks them inside uproarious pandemonium?

Yep, that’s what you get when you read “Shark Skin Suite.” You get to spend time with Dorsey’s Serge Storms, a moral Robin-Hood-like genius with a creatively murderous streak. You get to see Coleman, as usual, fall under the hilarious influence of multiple substances. And this time, you get to meet four new (and equally disorderly) miscreants and one big bombshell.

If you’re new to Dorsey’s novels, beware that the first two-thirds of this book are pure free-for-all. If you’re new, breathe deep and just try to enjoy the ride — but if you’re a fan, head to the bookstore. You already know that “Shark Skin Suite” is your kinda book.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at

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