The Stingray Shuffle
Tim Dorsey
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The Stingray Shuffle
Tim Dorsey
400 pages
December 2003
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This zany and spirited romp masquerades as a mystery - good guys, bad guys, missing money - but reaches much deeper in creating a storyline more akin to Hunter Thompson than Scott Turow. This is an adrenaline-fueled run that includes dozens of characters and several different plot lines, all criss-crossing and ultimately coming together in an ending of frenzy, fun, and high finance.

This is a bust-out-loud laugh riot as Russian mobsters battle New York Rastas and a serial killer/historian only lets the lead fly when a person really deserves it. A hit man with a heart.

The Stingray Shuffle is an intricately balanced novel, one that fleshes out the realities of a multitude of characters but never fails to keep the reader in the main swim of the piece. And at the same time, there are a hundred different ways for the manuscript to progress. You're constantly caught off guard, and Dorsey never slows down in mixing up his heady brew of romance, adventure, and the simple quirks that inhabit us all.

Paying attention to his prosaic passages is a must as he lays out clues about what might come next. Tom Robbins is the master of this genre and yet Tim manages to marry dialogue and narrative in a wonderful fashion as well.

Tim Dorsey is an outstanding novelist capable of taking the mystery form and transforming it into an elaborate and humorously delicate piece of prose. His grasp of the written word will take your breath away and he has singlehandedly taken the who-dun-it approach and turned it into a singularly stylistic stamp.

Mandatory: read this book to fully realize the punch and panache words strewn together might really possess. And you'll laugh yourself silly in the process.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2004

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