Review

Triggerfish Twist

by Tim Dorsey



I just love it when a competent, enjoyable author labors in
relative obscurity for a while and then, without warning, breaks
out of the pack and writes the book that his peers wish they could
write. I could give you several examples of such authors, and you
no doubt could give me several as well. I'm not going to mention
anyone else, however. This moment belongs to Tim Dorsey and
TRIGGERFISH TWIST.

TRIGGERFISH TWIST is a work of fiction, which means that the events
depicted in it are not true. However, collectively they are dead on
accurate. Dorsey takes aim at the state of Florida in general and
the city of Tampa in particular and nails the bulls eye with such
regularity that he would win every kewpie doll at the fair. The
result is a work that is good for at least a chuckle per paragraph,
a good laugh every page or so, and a comment or aside that you'll
remember in the middle of the night every chapter or so. The
nominal focal point of TRIGGERFISH TWIST is Jim Davenport, who
takes a voluntary transfer to Tampa, Florida, and with family in
tow moves to 888 Triggerfish Lane. Thus they enter the world of
psychotic neighbors, reverse-blockbusting landlords, shady used car
salesmen, and modern-day highwaymen who would kill you as soon as
look at you. None of these people exist, but you know them all. And
the Davenports become, by intent or accident, involved with all of
them.

Davenport is an individual who will do anything possible to avoid
confrontation; confrontations, however, have a way of finding him.
His fate becomes inexorably intertwined with that of the McGraw
family, described by a law enforcement official as "...a bunch of
dangerous freaks. They've got cousins all over North Florida. Most
are ex-cons or junkies or deranged from inbreeding. Five have died
violently, three are back in prison, two have gone insane from
untreated venereal disease, and one writes book reviews." And it is
this passage --- not even the funniest in the book --- that
exemplifies Dorsey's talent, if not genius. Dorsey constantly slips
literary asides into his narrative so that even if you're reading
carefully you have to move slowly to pick up all of his nuances.
Along the way Dorsey, with brain firmly in gear and tongue cemented
in cheek, offers a severely funny social commentary on the state of
Florida, what it has become, and how it got that way. Dorsey takes
no prisoners and there is no target --- from land developers to
Busch Gardens to crackheads to consultants --- that escapes his
laserlike vision.

With TRIGGERFISH TWIST, Dorsey has transformed himself from an
author to be enjoyed to an artist whose next book will be
anticipated with as much fervor as this one will be enjoyed. Don't
borrow this one; you'll want a copy to keep and to reread, either
in whole or for favorite passages, again and again.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Triggerfish Twist
by Tim Dorsey

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • ISBN-10: 0061031550
  • ISBN-13: 9780061031557