‘Grisham, Dorsey’s top notch thrillers set in Florida
“The Judge’s List”
Author: John Grisham
Double day, 368 pages, $29.95
Author: Tim Dorsey
William Morrow, 384 pages, $28.99
Florida has had its share of high-volume serial killers, both real and fictional. Why? It’s full of easy prey: Wealthy retirees awaiting a sunny end while living and playing in and around our miles and miles of condos, and booze-savvy tourists seeking wild times on our beaches, bars and our amusement parks.
For these same reasons, we’ve had our share of books and movies featuring these lunatics and their victims. The final two thrillers feature killers with a twist.
In “The Judge’s List”, mega-author murderer John Grisham is a full-time Panhandle judge who executes his victims for past slights.
In “Mermaid Confidential,” Tampa thriller writer serial killer Tim Dorsey sends only bad guys.
Dorsey has been writing about Serge A. Storms for over two decades. In “Mermaid,” his 25th Serge novel, the amiable killer and his longtime sidekick Coleman head to the Florida Keys, where Serge has decided to abandon their traveling lifestyle and join in the condo life. .
The ever-helpful Serge and, of course, Coleman become protectors of their fellow condo rats, battling medical scams, unruly tenants, and mysterious police SWAT calls. Meanwhile, a drug war breaks out between a cartel and a neighboring mafia family that endangers one of Serge’s new friends, and a deadly band of killers show up with a treasure map causing more havoc for our lives. brilliant knights.
As usual with a Serge adventure, we learn a lot of detail and history about the location and the state as a whole as the bad guys are taken down as the several subplots come together in an explosive and fulfilling ending, making “Mermaid” another winner for Dorsey.
Grisham also has a winner with “The Judge’s List,” the second novel by Florida Board on Judicial Conduct investigator Lacy Stoltz in Tallahassee, which suffers from pervasive and endless budget cuts. In “The Whistler,” Stoltz made a name for herself when she caught a corrupt judge and his deadly criminal buddies. Three years later, Stoltz, who is nearly 40, is tired and looking for a change.
But things quickly take a turn for her when an informant who initially refuses to be identified files a lawsuit informing her that a Panhandle judge is weaving his way through a list of victims who he claims , wronged him. He’s rich, smart, popular, and a psychopath.
She soon learns that her informant, real name Jeri Crosby, is the daughter of one of the judge’s law professors. His father had been murdered in South Carolina 20 years earlier and the case is very, very cold. Stalker Crosby has slowly uncovered evidence against the judge since police stopped investigating and now believe they have discovered the judge not only murdered his father but is a serial killer with at least six victims to across the country.
The murderous judge continues to kill and Stoltz, now forced to investigate due to Crosby’s official complaint, takes over the case, putting her and her small team at risk of having their names on the serial killer list before that the FBI cannot be called.
It may be one of Grisham’s finest.
CF Foster lives in Riverside.