Writer Tim Dorsey likes to stir things up.
In his Florida, folks are often shooting at each other while his anti-hero, Serge Storms, goes off on nutty tangents with his higher-than-a-kite sidekick, Coleman.
Then the Tampa-based author introduces a few innocents, lowering the boom in "The Riptide Ultra-glide" on a pair of unwary Midwestern tourists.
Dorsey, who is on a national tour, will read from and sign copies of the comic novel — his 16th — at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the Leesburg Public Library and 2 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the W.T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora.
In "The Riptide Ultra-glide," the war going on in South Florida is over control of the lucrative pain-pill mills.
Caught in the crosshairs are Barbara and Pat McDougal from Madison, Wis., who think a trip to Florida is what they need after losing their jobs.
After they lose their luggage, the couple's credit card is stolen, they are robbed, they become penniless and homeless and are stranded in Florida, unable to fly home without a photo ID. Their identity is stolen and they are hunted by both the police and by cocaine cowboys.
Along the way, they get caught in a riptide, are sunburned and stung by jellyfish and red ants.
"Condensed into this are all my family experiences traveling around Florida," said Dorsey, a former reporter and night metro editor at the Tampa Tribune. "We stayed at mom-and-pop places that after night fell, another life emerged. People were jiggling the doorknobs."
But the fun begins when homicidal Serge and addled Coleman turn up on a mission to shoot a new reality TV show.
While they still have a motel room, the McDougals peek around the curtains at the unbelievable goings on while Serge is thrilled, thinking the couple will make the perfect stars for his TV show.
Serge and Coleman ride around in a 1976 Ford Gran Torino with mag wheels that Dorsey calls "clownfish orange."
Dorsey said his readings are like club meetings.
"It's like a secret society of people who like Serge," he said. "People who think they don't know each other but really do."