The Republicans' "golden boy" -- and a loyal, unquestioning tool of the powerful special interests -- handsome, unthreatening, Florida governor-by-default Marlon Conrad seems a virtual shoo-in for re-election. That is, until he undergoes a radical personality shift during a bloody military action in the Balkans. Now it's just three weeks before the election and Marlon is suddenly talking about "issues" and "reform" as he crosses the length and breadth of his home state with an amnesiac speechwriter and a chief of staff who turns catatonic in the presence of minorities. The governor's new-found conscience might well cost him the election, though. And it appears that pretty much everybody from Tallahassee to Miami Beach is trying to kill him...
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Maybe you can't be too outrageous when the subject is Florida politics, but Tim Dorsey (Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel) manages to go so far over the top in this satirical page burner that even diehard fans of Carl Hiaasen, Laurence Shames, and Dave Barry may find their patience wearing thin after the first couple of chapters. When Republican Governor Marlon Conrad is inexplicably called up by the reserve unit he joined for a reelection photo-op and sent to Bosnia, he suffers a midlife crisis that has his campaign staff totally flummoxed. Not that they're playing with a full deck either; Conrad's closest adviser is a crazed serial killer who happens to be an expert in Florida folklore, and the rest of the boys on the bus--the Orange Crush, Marlon's joyride across the Sunshine State--aren't much saner.
While Conrad's the main character, there are enough second-string oddballs to keep this road trip going until the denouement, a bizarre debate between the governor and his opponent, Gomer Tatum, whose idea of intelligent political discourse is a WWF death match. They include Helmut Von Zeppelin, a multimillionaire who owns most of the politicians in Florida; Jackie Monroeville, a trailer queen determined to get her man into the governor's mansion; and Gottfried Escrow, Marlon's chief of staff. There's plenty of mayhem but not much mystery in this comic novel that proves there can be too much of a good thing. While Dorsey keeps the belly laughs coming, he doesn't stop long enough for the reader to give much of a hoot about any of his characters, much less root for the good guys to win. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, and is the author of twenty-one novels: Pope of Palm Beach, Clownfish Blues, Coconut Cowboy, Shark Skin Suite, Tiger Shrimp Tango, The Riptide Ultra-Glide, When Elves Attack, Pineapple Grenade, Electric Barracuda, Gator A-Go-Go, Nuclear Jellyfish, Atomic Lobster, Hurricane Punch, The Big Bamboo, Torpedo Juice, Cadillac Beach, The Stingray Shuffle, Triggerfish Twist, Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, and Florida Roadkill. He lives in Tampa, FL.
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