Hammerhead Ranch Motel (Serge Storms Series #2)

Hammerhead Ranch Motel (Serge Storms Series #2)

by Tim Dorsey

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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There's a different schemer or slimeball behind every door: cocaine duckpins who have survived only by the dumbest fortune, hard-luck gigolos desperate to score, undercover cops busting undercover cops who are running sting operations on undercover cops. And just down the row, local historian and spree killer Serge A. Storms -- who has stopped keeping up with his meds -- is still looking for a briefcase stuffed with five million dollars...and is now capable of wreaking more havoc than hurricane Rolando-berto, the big wind gathering force offshore, just waiting for the opportunity to blow everything straight to hell.

Pack up your bags and head south to sunny Florida. Leave your rational mind at home and come well armed. There's a room with your number on it at the Hammerhead Ranch Motel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380732340
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/29/2001
Series: Serge Storms Series , #2
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 95,339
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, and is the author of twenty-one novels: Pope of Palm Beach, Clownfish Blues, Coconut Cowboy, Shark Skin Suite, Tiger Shrimp Tango, The Riptide Ultra-Glide, When Elves Attack, Pineapple Grenade, Electric Barracuda, Gator A-Go-Go, Nuclear Jellyfish, Atomic Lobster, Hurricane Punch, The Big Bamboo, Torpedo Juice, Cadillac Beach, The Stingray Shuffle, Triggerfish Twist, Orange Crush, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, and Florida Roadkill. He lives in Tampa, FL.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Lone headlights appeared in the blackness five miles away.

They were high-beams, illuminating the sea mist through the slashed mangroves and crushed coral down the long, straight causeway toward Miami. The rumble of rubber on tar grew louder and the headlights became brighter until they blinded. The Buick blew by at ninety and kept going, red taillights fading down U.S. 1 toward Key West.

It was quiet and dark again. An island in the middle of the Florida Keys. No streetlights, no light at all. The low pink building on the south side of the street was unremarkable concrete except for the hastily stuccoed bullet holes and the eight-foot cement conch shell on the shoulder of the road, chipped and peeling, holding up a sign: "Rooms $29.95 and up."

No cars in front of the motel; the night manager nodding in the office. The beach was sandy, some broken plastic kiddie toys, an unsafe pier and a scuttled dinghy. The air was still by the road, but around back a steady breeze came off the ocean. Coconut palms rustled and waves rolled in quietly from the Gulf Stream. Parked behind the motel, by the only room with a light on, was a black Mercedes limousine.

Voices and an electrical hum came from the room, number seven. Inside, personal effects covered one of the beds — toiletries, carefully rolled socks, newspaper clippings, sunscreen, postcards,snacks, ammunition-meticulously arranged in rows and columns. The hum was from the Magic Fingers bed jiggler that had been hot-wired to run continuously. The voices came from the TV that had been unbolted from its wall mount and now sat on a chair facing into the bathroom, tuned toSportscenter.

In the flickering blue-gray TV light, a figure sat in the bathtub behind an open Miami Herald. Two sets of fingers held the sides of the paper — a front-page splash about a drug shoot-out in Key West and a missing five million in cash —and smoke rose from behind the paper. An old electric fan sat on the closed toilet lid, blowing into the tub. Something about the Miami Dolphins came on ESPN. The man in the tub folded the paper and put it on the toilet tank. He grabbed the remote control sitting in the soap dish on the shower wall. The slot in the top of the soap dish held a .38 revolver by the snub nose. "Nobody messes with Johnny Rocco," said the man in the tub, and he pressed the volume button.

The bather was tan, tall and lean with violating ice-blue eyes, and his hair was military-short with flecks of gray. He was in his late thirties and wore a new Tampa Bay Buccaneers baseball cap. In his mouth was a huge cigar, and he took it out with one hand and picked up an Egg McMuffin with the other. He checked his watch. Top of the hour. He clicked the remote control with the McMuffin hand and surfed over to CNN for two minutes, to make sure nothing had broken out in the world that would demand his response, and then over to A&E and the biography of Burt Reynolds for background noise while he read the Herald editorials. He put the McMuffin down on the rim of the tub and picked up the cup of orange juice. On TV, Burt made a long football run for Florida State in a vintage film of a forgotten Auburn game. The tub's edge also held jelly doughnuts, breakfast fajitas and a scrambled egg/sausage breakfast in a preformed plastic tray. On the toilet lid, next to the fan, was a hardcover book from 1939, the WPA guide to Florida. Inside the cover, the man had written his name. Serge A. Storms.

Like now, Serge was usually naked when he was in a motel, but it wasn't sexual. Serge thought clothes were inefficient and uncomfortable; they restricted his movements, and his skin wanted to breathe. Nudity also cut down on changing time, since he was constantly in and out of the shower, subjecting himself to rapid temperature changes, alternating hot and cold water rushes that reminded him he was alive and cleaned out the pores to keep that skin breathing, feeling new.

Serge hesitated a second in the tub, mid-bite in the McMuffin. He couldn't think of what to do next, not even something as simple as chewing. Too many ideas raged at once in his head, and his brain gridlocked. He was paralyzed. Then the congestion slowly unclogged and he resumed chewing. When he realized he could move his arms again, he reached on top of the toilet tank for a prescription bottle. He shook it, but it made no sound, and he tossed the empty in the waste can beside the sink, a bank shot off the ceramic seashell tiles. Hell with it, he thought, I'll go natural. If it gets too strange, I'll run to a drug hole and score some Elavil that crackheads use to come down after four days on the ledge. Serge had started feeling the effects of not keeping up with his psychiatric medication.

And he liked it.

He got out of the tub and opened the back door of the motel room and walked out under a coconut palm. The breeze dried the sweat cold on his skin. He looked up into the nexus of palm fronds and coconuts set against the Big Dipper and a sky of brilliant stars over the water, away from the light pollution of the mainland. Serge said: "There's a big blow a-comin'."

Serge went back inside and slept all day in the motel tub, and his skin shriveled. Two hours before sunset, there was a loud beeping sound in room seven. Serge awoke in alarm and splashed around as if he'd discovered a cottonmouth in the water.He jumped from the tub and into his pants without toweling off.The beeping sound came from a metal box on the dresser, an antitheft car-tracking device.Serge threw on a shirt and packed a travel bag in seconds.He didn't close the door as he ran out with shirt open and shoes in his hands.He threw the bag and shoes in the front of the limo and sped away from the motel...

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Hammerhead Ranch Motel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
ArtfulCodger More than 1 year ago
This installment was a fast-paced, quirky, and sometimes just wierd jaunt through Florida. Colorful characters and situations. Laugh out loud funny at times, but always enjoyable.
meljk More than 1 year ago
this was my first read of a Tim Dorsey book. haha...lots of crazy characters...doing all sorts of crazy stuff!! quite a change from the usual books i read...mysteries, thrillers, paranormal. i really enjoyed this one. of course, living in florida is an advantage i think! (kind of reminds me of Carl Hiaasen novels, if you've ever read him) worth a read...be prepared for one wild ride!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed my way through most of this book, and have purchased every book Dorsey has released since. He has a brilliant way of tying characters and incidents together in a completely hilarious way. It's like a Seinfeld episode on caffine overload.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Every other page starts a different scenario with different people. Very little makes sense and nothing ties the stories together.
beaner 11 months ago
I bought a few of these books because I had seen them touted as similar to Carl Hiaasen, whose work I truly treasure. The only similarity is the Florida setting. Not in the same universe, otherwise. The physical book is as cheap as it can get - bound too close to the type so you have to break the spine to read it. The plot is a stream of consciousness kind of thing that looks to be written as quickly as the action in the story. Unpleasantly hard to follow. I gave it three chances - no more for me.
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More sex, drugs and rock-and-roll marked Tim Dorsey¿s second installment of the Serge A. Storm series. In Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Dorsey picked up where his first book, Florida Roadkill left off. Serge was still hunting down the suitcase with the $5 million, and a band of merry misfits intentionally (or unintentionally) got in his way. Not even a powerful hurricane could sway Serge from his quest for more riches.Like the previous book, Hammerhead Ranch Motel was not for the faint of heart. There¿s enough marijuana, cocaine and illicit sex to sink a boat. Where this book sparkled was the depiction of local landmarks and quirky news stories that showed the underbelly of the Sunshine State.Hammerhead Ranch Motel was a wild ride ¿ a fast, poolside read ¿ that had me laughing at parts and groaning in others. Again, I could only recommend these books to Floridians who can appreciate the humor and wackiness that is Florida. I would also recommend putting some time between reading Dorsey books. They are a bit formulaic, and readers may enjoy them individually if read a month or two apart.
janeajones on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Hammerhead Ranch Motel on Tampa Bay, owned by a cocaine-dealing, nursing home cheating, call-center bamboozler named Zargoza is invaded by Serge Storms and a variety of other Florida weirdoes as Hurricane Rolando-Berto is about to come ashore.
MissTeacher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though this book is funny and jam-packed with quirky facts and circumstances, I was a little let down by the rambling, disjointed feeling that it left me with. The sequence of events surrounding the loss of 5 million dollars was clever , but this sequence was never put in any sort of logical order. Hell, it wasn't even recapped at the end of the book. Hell, I still don't really know whose money it was and why it was in a strange car. The characters were great, the dialogue funny, but I really needed to make myself a timeline or something.
MsBeautiful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zaney, Wacky story, always a good laugh
FMRox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Serge Storms, lovable serial killer, follows the suitcase of drug money with millions through Florida. Along the way he meets many characters almost as crazy but not as lovable as himself. This particular novel focuses on the history of hurricanes and the current data collection there of.This is now the fourth book I've read and this series. And there is no character development, only plot lines and history of Florida. It serves merely as an entertaining read as it isn't very deep-all action.
pabarrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What's to say, fun, fast, furious reading. All of Dorsey's books push the right buttons.
buckeyeaholic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one ranks right up there with Roadkill. So far this is the last one I have read. I started the 3rd in the series but couldn't get into it. All the sarcasm & surprises were just too much this time (3rd book). It left me feeling like I'd been hit by a semi. Maybe some other time.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Tim Dorsey does to criminals what Carl Hiaasen does to polluters and corrupt politicians, however Dorsey is even more over the top. Hammerhead follows multiple story lines which are outrageous and random but somehow come together to add to the craziness that’s already happening in each story line. Sometime that makes it a bit convoluted but it also makes it very enjoyable. If you’re looking for a seedy Florida getaway look no further.
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Bill3 More than 1 year ago
Retreading the whole series, Florida as it sorta is. Dorsey and Hiassen see things a little different than the rest of us. Scary how close to the truth it is, but you will laugh out loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hurricane only adds to the mayhem and laughter that seems to follow Serge as he keeps attempting to recapture his $5 million briefcase.
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mcknzbwl More than 1 year ago
I did not like this particularly well. Too much over the top things happening. It was hard to keep track of all the character.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bizarre almost surreal gripping action, Serge is unforgettable.
The_Faz More than 1 year ago
Very fun to read, fast action with great characters. I just ordered the next in the series, cant wait to read..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago