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BOOKWORM: Novel features a wild and deadly spring break

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Every year about this time, you catch yourself looking out the window, longingly.

Spring is coming. You know it is because your fingers itch for gardening. Your feet beg to be free in the grass. Your face craves the feeling of sun and breeze. Your brain cries for a grown-up version of Spring Break.

Be careful what you ask for. In the new novel “Gator A-Go-Go” by Tim Dorsey, Spring Break comes with sun, sand, sex, and a chase to the death.

It was a crime that put fear in the hearts of every Bostonian: a young woman had been snatched from a public parking lot and was missing. Security cameras only caught an arm reaching out from a vehicle to grab her, and police were stymied.

That is, until satellite expert Patrick McKenna discovered a way to view the abductor’s license plate. The girl was found and McKenna was suddenly a hero.

But heroism wasn’t what he wanted. Within hours, McKenna was spirited away from his home, a coat over his head and black-garbed agents surrounding him. His very good deed was becoming a very bad thing.

Meanwhile, a white ’73 Dodge Challenger sped back and forth across Florida, from Panama City Beach to Daytona to Ft. Lauderdale and back again.

Behind the wheel sat Serge A. Storms: smart, with a quick mind and a propensity for Rube Goldberg schemes that ended in uniquely righteous death. Serge was on the lookout for Spring Break history. Sitting shotgun was his sidekick, Coleman, who was looking for pools, bikinis, beer, and weed… not necessarily in that order.

In south Miami, Patrick McKenna’s face on CNN drew the interest of five people with long memories and short tempers. McKenna was someone they knew from long ago, and his presence in the limelight called for a cozy reunion. The best way to find McKenna, of course, was to find his son, Andy.

When Serge and Coleman fortuitously hook up with four boys from New Hampshire on Spring Break, it looked like a party on wheels. But as the ’73 Challenger criss-crossed Florida in a quest for fun, the double-crossing had just begun.

I have to admit that I almost put this book aside several times because the first few chapters made very little sense. Author Tim Dorsey tosses all his characters into one big pile, then moves back and forth in time and in several locations, sorting out plot lines as the book progresses. I was new to this series and I feared it wouldn’t get any better.

Guess what? It did.

“Gator A-Go-Go” turned out to be a fun, funny, romping mystery-cum-adventure with wise Cheech-and-Chong-ish characters that are always one step ahead of everything. In the end, I was delighted by the way Dorsey’s novel comes together, and I was glad I stuck with this addicting story.

If spring can’t come fast enough and you need a little escape, put on your shades, slather on sunscreen and grab this book. For you, “Gator A-Go-Go” is the perfect spring break.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with her two dogs and 9,500 books.

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