Book Review: No Sunscreen for the Dead by Tim Dorsey
No Sunscreen for the Dead is Tim Dorsey’s twenty-second book about Florida life. Once again, wild and wacky Serge Storms rides with his consistently stoned sidekick, Coleman, this time diving into an infamous sex scandal between a retiree and her younger beau in one of the largest retirement villages in the world.
If you have never met Serge and Coleman, grab your favorite snack, pull up a comfy chair and dive in. Anything can, and has, set Serge off on an adventure. This time his “brilliant idea” came in a flash when he read a newspaper article bragging to the world that lusty activity was rampant among Florida’s senior citizen population. That was all Serge needed to decide it was time for him and Coleman to scope out retirement communities, you know for their future. He elects to name the southwest Florida coast as the Retirement Coast and heads off in that direction to find the perfect place for their golden years. Here’s how he explains it to Coleman as they drive across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
This is going to be excellent! The first stop on the Retirement Coast! Our quest begins for the perfect place to spend our golden years, and Florida has everything! Which demands evaluating all options, or we could pick the wrong place, and then we’re stuck in a reverse-mortgage gulag with a life sentence of silently playing bridge together and reading the obituaries with magnifying glasses.
And in no time at all Serge and Coleman wind up visiting the Boca Shores retirement park. Serge is thrilled he has found his people while Coleman is thoroughly perplexed, but since that is his normal state, Serge isn’t worried about him in the least. Finally one night at dinner with a couple of Boca Shores residents Coleman starts to catch on.
Wilma led the prayer, it took some time: a lengthy appreciation list of all the little things that most take for granted. “…Thank you for returning Scott to our home, and last but not least, thank you for bringing new friends into our lives. Amen.”
Coleman looked around, then whispered, “Who’s she talking about?”
“Us,” said Serge, passing a serving bowl of salad.
“Wow,” said Coleman. “Nobody’s ever thanked God for us before.”
“I told you these people were special.”
While all Serge expects at Boca Shores is to get a glimpse of what his future might hold, he is surprised when he discovers the sneaky ways unscrupulous scammers take advantage of the sweet old people. He decides it’s just not right and it becomes his mission to correct the wrongs besieging his new friends. This might sound lighthearted but the issues Serge addresses are significant. I guarantee you will find Serge’s methods to be highly unorthodox, but he does have a way of getting the job done.
Ah, but there is more, a lot more. Along the way, we meet Benmont Pinch, a computer whiz who is an expert in monitoring “around the clock for potential fraud.” And, for a brief moment, we are in 1970 with an anti-war hippy and a high schooler whose mom doesn’t want him to serve in Viet Nam. And there may be a Fed or two involved in some of these activities, or, at least, short-haired men in suits cross the pages periodically. But Serge has everything under control until there is a double murder in peaceful Boca Shores. And under Serge’s leadership, the residents of Boca Shores rise up. Further crises are averted and, need I say, the murderers are caught. For all that Serge’s mind is a jumble of irrationality, his leadership skills cannot be out-matched.
I enjoyed this book immensely. In fact, my next undertaking is to go back through the Serge Storm books to catch up on any I may have missed. And I advise you to hunt down the nearest copy of No Sunscreen for the Dead. I promise you’ll have a roaring good time with Serge, Coleman and the over-sixty crowd.