Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Atomic Lobster"

Tim Dorsey is a former editor at the Tampa Tribune and author of the novels Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Orange Crush, Triggerfish Twist, The Stingray Shuffle, Cadillac Beach, Torpedo Juice, The Big Bamboo, and Hurricane Punch.

Atomic Lobster
is his tenth novel; he applied the Page 69 Test to the new book and reported the following:
Page 69 of Atomic Lobster is a paradox. It is quite unrepresentative of the novel, and also perhaps most representative.

The random page of my books is likely to find demented wrongdoings, fevered chase scenes, and dialogue from the home of the criminally insane.

Yet A.L. page 69 is a sedate, patient scene setter – in this case setting up the Epiphany Day celebration of the Greek community at Tarpon Springs bayou. And in doing so, it betrays my true purpose behind the books: to roam around Florida and frame scenes at places and times that showcase the things I love most about my home state.

It just so happens that my loveable serial killer, Serge A. Storms, shares the same obsessive pride as I do (okay, I planned it that way – he’s my mouthpiece and alter ego), and Serge absolutely must contour his crime sprees to his favorite backroads, historic sites and native events.

Page 69 is the calm on the water -- literally -- between Serge dropping a drug dealer off an overpass and heading into the jaws of mayhem with a methed-out stripper he picked up behind his rat-infested (but literarily significant) hideout.

Did I mention it’s fun for the whole family?

From Page 69:

Chapter Ten

Down on the Bayou

The church could withstand any hurricane.

Built from huge quarried slabs, it stood proudly as it had for over a century at the corner of Tarpon and Pinellas avenues. The architecture was exotic even for Florida.

This particular morning, a throbbing crowd had gathered on the sidewalk. The front doors opened. Cheers went up. A bearded man appeared in an immaculate robe and tall bejeweled hat.

He waved with dignity during his short walk to a waiting car, which drove him another brief distance.

A second, larger crowd at Spring Bayou erupted when the vehicle’s doors opened. The adulation grew louder as they followed the bishop down to the gently curving seawall. A small fleet of wooden dinghies were already anchored in the water, each containing several boys in white swim trunks, sixteen to eighteen years of age.

On the opposite side of the bayou, Serge tapped page 132 of National Geographic. "The kids in the boats. Looks exactly the same sixty-one years later. These people are all about tradition. Like St. Nicholas’s Church we passed earlier. One of the state’s greatest landmarks that nobody even knows exists. The Mediterranean dome and spire were patterned after Aya Sophia in Istanbul ..."

"Can we go now?" asked Coleman.

"But we haven’t seen it yet."
Learn more about Atomic Lobster and visit Tim Dorsey's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue