Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Review of "Pineapple Grenade" [20]

Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061876905
January 24, 2012, 352 pages

From the publisher's description...
"Miami has always set the weirdness bar, but Serge Storms is back in action and ready to pole vault over it.

First, there’s the media frenzy over the “Hollow Man,” a gutless corpse found on the beach. And yet people think it’s perfectly normal to find dead sharks in the middle of downtown boulevards—or to spot black mushroom clouds behind the airport. Then there are the roving bands of carjackers who suddenly find themselves inconvenienced. Not to mention people lurking outside sex-addiction meetings.

Could this be the work of Serge, that eccentric trivialista and one-man vigilante? And why is he extensively photographing foreign consulates right before the critically important Summit of the Americas comes to town? Does it have something to do with Serge’s declaration to tell his ever-stoned sidekick, Coleman, that he’s decided to become a spy? Of course he’s not working for anyone yet, so Serge is content to just spy for himself until he shows up on radar and his talents are appreciated. His ace in the hole? Serge’s newly revamped Secret Master Plan! His spider senses tell him something big is about to go down in Miami, and it just might involve the recently reactivated CIA cell operating in the same historic building that plotted the overthrow of Fidel Castro."

When I read that description, I will tell you I was psyched.
I love thrillers and mysteries set in Florida. I am not sure why, but somehow it just makes a great setting. The sun, the swamps, the heat, the storms, the beautiful just adds up to a very interesting place. Not for me, but for a book.
And I love a good killer. Yes, it is a little out of the box when the 'good guy' is also a bad guy, but it is totally doable. Speaking of Florida and a good guy killer, where it totally works, let me just say one word.  

Well then, why did I not like this book? And I did not.
I think a large part of it goes back to what I wrote in my Monday Musing post this week, except this is the example of a series where the author does not do what must be done.
Yes, here I am stepping into the middle of another big series. This is book 14. And that can be OK for the reader, as it has been in a couple of books I recently reviewed. In fact, in a series, a reader must be able to step in anywhere and still 'get' the book.  But it does not here. I never felt any connection to the main character, Serge. He is clever, he and his sidekick are funny at times. But I just did not care.

And this book is written in a very particular style. The book jumps all over the place, from one storyline to another, with a lot of information, much of which just seems for our education or amusement.  Again, you can look at a recent review here of a book that had a similar 'confusing' storyline, and let that time it totally worked. Here it did not. For me, it never came together.

Even the Florida angle did not really pay off this time, since we seem to spend way too much time just wandering around bad neighborhoods on the edge of Miami. Not quite the Florida feeling I was looking for.

Now, I will tell you that previous books in this series got some great reviews. I checked them out before I requested this one. But Pineapple Grenade, so far, is getting decided mixed ones, even from longtime fans of Serge and his friends. So if the premise sounds interesting, of a killer and his sidekick on a bunch of funny, madcap deadly adventure in the sultry Sunshine State, you might want to try a book early in the series, like Florida Roadkill, the first. And again, stop before you get here.

Honestly, unless you are a die hard fan of this series, I would not recommend this one. Even then, you might not be too thrilled.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to review.


  1. Thanks .. this is what I always fear will happen with long running series .. they 'jump the shark'

  2. i am sad to hear you didn't like it because i like fl settings too. fl is just inhabited with a bunch of odd people...and i can say that as i lived there for 4 years. like the lady who called 911 when she didnt get her mcnuggets.

    i think hiassen does a great job at using fl to his advantage in his books. skinny dip was my fave!

  3. That stinks. I agree with you that in a well written series, each book should stand alone.

  4. I agree … serial killer + Miami = Dexter. (the TV show though … not the books. I didn't like the books too much but I love the show.)

  5. The blurb did sound good. It's a shame the book didn't live up to it.


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