Whether you like mystery or humor, this book has it for you

You didn’t recognize the number.

So you didn’t answer the phone. That’s how you operate these days: accept calls you know and keep your money in your wallet. You never know who’s going to try to take it and in the new book “No Sunscreen for the Dead” by Tim Dorsey, not everyone has a hero to get it back.

Serge Storms and his sidekick, Coleman, have retired.

Serge had always wanted to and there was no better time than when they were touring Florida ’s Gulf-side “ Retirement Coast.” The tour was also a great excuse to meet senior “heroes” — veterans and once-upon-a-time volunteers — and to right some wrongs that Serge knew had been done.

It seemed that door-to-door salesmen were selling Sarasota-area seniors a pile of unneeded items — restaurant-grade kitchens, monster-sized humidifiers, tchotchkes and dust-collectors — and emptying their wallets in the meantime. Serge had a soft spot in his heart for those elders because he knew their sacrifices and besides, they knew where to find the best pie and the cheapest early-early-bird specials.

And so, in his Serge-like way (violently, that is, but with science and style), he would get their money returned, and make sure that nobody scammed his new friends again.

Forty-six-year-old Benmont Pinch knew that he was a dinosaur.

Most of his colleagues at Life-Armor were Millennials who’d practically been born with computers in their cribs. Benmont, on the other hand, was a numbers guy and that was probably why his employers kept him around: given the information and an hour, there wasn’t a statistic he couldn’t get or an answer he couldn’t tease out. That was apparently more than his younger co-workers could do.

This talent never led to a raise, but it did give him opportunities to work with local law officials: they fed him what he needed, and he gave them a statistically-likely-criminal’s name. When dozens of senior couples along the East Coast were found murdered, though, Benmont couldn’t believe what the stats told him. Their Social Security information had to be all wrong — or was it?

Decisions, decisions: start a new mystery tonight, or dig into something funny? Why not have the best of both by layering on “No Sunscreen for the Dead?”

For whodunit fans, this novel contains a long, head-scratching, maze-like mystery linked to older Floridians — a side-story that would be too wild in any other novel. Its solution is offered quickly and the why remains to be solved, but don’t work yourself up too much. The real reason for coming to a Serge Storm book is for the zap-paced, profanity-laced, revenge-based humor that’s so outrageous, you gotta laugh.

If you’re a fan, you already know that author Tim Dorsey tends to make his novels something akin to putting a hurricane in a blender. “No Sunscreen for the Dead” is all that but, in what may be the least madcap of the bunch, it’s easier to grasp and might be perfect for series newbies. Mystery or humor book, whichever you want, this one’s got your number.


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