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HAMMERHEAD RANCH MOTEL by Tim Dorsey

HAMMERHEAD RANCH MOTEL

By Tim Dorsey

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-16783-7
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

This grown-up take on "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" uses a shoal of small-time South Florida grifters to remind you that there's always someone just a little bit bigger, quicker, and crazier who's ready to take you down.

The Diaz Boys, three cocaine-stoked brothers and a cousin skunked in a drug deal by one Zargoza, né Harvey Fiddlebottom, send three goons to deprive him of his oxygen supply, only to find themselves propelled through the windshield of Zargoza's latest Jag. Mrs. Edna Ploomfield, resident of Beverly Shores' exclusive Calusa Point Tower Arms, eliminates one of the Boys' henchmen with her late husband's antique .45 Peacemaker, then gets blown out of her condo by a bomb rigged to her Clapper. Sid Spittle and his gonzo girlfriend Patti Bodine heist a briefcase containing five mil from three goons working out of Zargoza's Ybor City chop-shop only to find themselves drawn-and-quartered and beheaded (respectively) by freelance sociopath/Florida history buff Serge A. Stormes, who has been chasing this particular stash of drug money since Florida Roadkill (1999). In this sequel, folks get shot, stabbed, drawbridged, and taxidermied to death; two larcenous college kids, Sammy and Joe, on their way to a rendezvous with two luscious ex-cashiers from Piggly-Wiggly, LaToya Olsen and Ingrid Praline (a.k.a. "City" and "Country"), end up duct-taped to lawn chairs and helium-ballooned into the stratosphere. Not even Toto the Weather Dog, the top-rated attraction on the Florida Cable News, can escape his fate, meeting an untimely end high above the Caribbean in the eye of Hurricane Rolando-berto. And as Rolando-berto bears down on the Hammerhead Ranch Motel, the last surviving remnant of South Florida beach motel culture, it becomes clear that only the strongest—or the most witless—will survive.

With characters this disposable, though, it's hard to get engaged in a tale that's witty but essentially heartless.