Which best-selling author has written a new book about Palm Beach?

Updated Feb 07, 2018
Tim Dorsey

Serge fans, get your fresh tattoos and bone up on mid-20th century Palm Beach County history.

Serge Storms is coming home.

And where Serge goes, mayhem follows.

In “The Pope of Palm Beach,” author Tim Dorsey’s 21st darkly funny novel about his murderous anti-hero, possibly his altar ego, Serge returns home to Riviera Beach, where both he and Dorsey grew up in the 1960s, at the time of Trapper Nelson, “the hermit of the Loxahatchee” and the Amaryllis, the freighter that Hurricane Betsy beached on Singer Island, creating a legendary surf break until it was hauled away three years later.

Dorsey will discuss his new book twice on Monday as part of the Palm Beach County Library System’s Writers Live series and Tuesday night at Murder on the Beach mystery book store in Delray Beach.

“People are obsessed with him,” said Chris Jankow, who organizes the author series. “He has a very rabid following.”

Rabid bordering on cultish.

Dorsey’s website contains photos of fans who identify so closely with Serge they show up at book signings with homage tattoos, from a Baroque-style “S” for Serge, Serge’s motto, “I follow no one” or in some cases, complete replicas of book covers such as “Hammerhead Ranch” or “Cadillac Beach” rendered in ink on calves, necks or forearms.

Like his other books, the new yarn includes a road trip with his reprobate sidekick, Coleman, riding shotgun on a series of preposterous events and accidental crime-solving, with generous doses of Florida arcana included.

The book opens with the true Flori-duh tale of the Jupiter man who tossed a live alligator through the drive-through windows of a Royal Palm Beach Wendy’s in 2015.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the Port of Palm Beach, Singer Island, Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and President Barak Obama Highway (formerly Dixie) are all name-checked in Serge’s latest adventure.

He even stages a book signing at the Palm Beach Gardens branch of the Palm Beach County Library System, which is where Dorsey (or is it really Serge?) is scheduled to hold a book signing on Monday.

Dorsey, who writes one book a year, has spoken at every Writer’s Live series since the events began 10 years ago, said Jankow.

“He’s a big supporters of libraries,” said Jankow.

Writers Live runs each year from January through April, with authors speaking at various library branches around Palm Beach County. Jankow said 1,217 people attended 23 Writers Live events last year. Area bookshops provide books for sale.

Jankow says they extend about 200 invitations every year, concentrating on authors working in popular genres such as mysteries, thrillers and best-seller categories, although they book a few topical non-fiction writers, as well.

This year, 21 authors are scheduled to speak including crime novelist Laura Lippman, Craig Grossi, a Marine Corps vet who rescued a wounded dog on an Afghan battlefield; Andrea Lawlor who writes about gender bending identity; thriller writer Carol Goodman and Oprah Book Club author, Anita Shreve, author of “A Pilot’s Wife” who will be speaking about her newest book, “The Stars are Fire.”

On February 18, children’s horror writer, R.L. Stine, of the “Goosebumps” series, will moderate “Palm Beach Peril,” a symposium of new young adult horror writers, focusing on the craft and business of contemporary fiction.

Last month, National Book Critics Circle award-winner and National Book Award finalist Edwidge Danticat, a Miami-based Haitian-American writer, spoke at the Glades library branch in Belle Glade about “The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story,” a memoir about caring for her dying mother.