SBD the opposite of the category romance

I read a couple of Florida books this weekend. They're melding together, just like all the category romances I read for The Big Contest** And they're the perfect antidote to sentimentality. Kind of acid to romance's base. My brain is now operating with Neutral Ph.

The formula for these books must include drug dealers, drug users (usally mellow pot-heads), villains that gleefully pollute the wilderness, dour Cuban women, comical retirees and the clusterfuck that ends up with people killed in interesting or humorous ways.

I just read Tricky Business, by Dave Barry. I don't know how I missed that one. I wrote a short review on one of those review sites:

"Lots of riffs by the characters that read just like Barry's old column. I recently discovered that whole Florida Funky Characters and Crime genre, and it makes for some great (though bloody) escapist stuff.

Yeah, Johnny and the Contusions fine name for a rock band

The other thing I liked about this book? It's dedicated to My Close Personal Friend -- whom I've never met -- Gene Weingarten.**** Also there's a character named Gene Shroder, which is a combo of Gene and his editor, Tom Schroder. I put in two spellings because I don't recall how either last name is spelled and I'm too lazy to look either up.


Is there a name for this genre? South Florida Gory Goofiness?

And can someone tell me if Jimmy Buffet still a cultural force to be reckoned with or am I a few decades out of date? Is it like mentioning Sinatra in Vegas?

I was just thinking that women are not real people in any of those books and getting grouchy about it when I realized that NO ONE (other than the main character, and not always him) is a real person in almost all those books. Oh. Ah.

The writers on my Florida list:
Dave Barry
Lawrence Shames
Tim Dorsey
Edna Buchanan (I like her non-fiction better)
Carl Hiassen (duh)

I'd put the Dexter books on there, but they don't seem to feature Florida as a character as much as the others.
And if Burn Notice was a book? Eh, not really goofy enough. And the main references to Florida seem to be women's butts in bikinis.

Hey, and this brings me to another tangent. How come TV shows don't show a city's character? Monk was in SF? I don't think so. Where the hell are the gay guys? Just in the background for heavens sake.

White Collar in NYC? Not really. Those shows could have been placed anywhere. Just more shots that bring back what the city's really like--not those dumb panoramas of the city's buildings but some of the real characters/types you see there.

I mean, come on, White Collar. Where the fuck is the Naked Cowboy?


** every notice the coupons a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl? They all talk about "Get Ready for the Big Game "with pictures of footballs. No mention of Super Bowl.

**** Good God, I hope I don't name drop him much longer. I think I have a week or so after yesterday, the official release of Our Column.


  1. Er... Silent But Deadly?

  2. I think I read somewhere that the NFL has trademarked The Name, and protects the trademark fiercely, so stores don't use it on their coupons. But I could be imagining that.

    Years ago now (god, I feel old!) Homicide made use of Baltimore (or Bawlamore) as a character. Fells Point, Federal Hill, Patterson Park, etc. The Wire? I don't know.

  3. I have yet to find a TV drama that accurately portrayed Boston. And yet so many are set there! The worst, the absolute worst, was Spencer for Hire wherein he mispronounced the names of the very streets he was walking down. Urgh.

    In movies Boston tends to go horribly wrong too. Best portrayals I've seen are Good Will Hunting, and to a certain operatic extent, The Departed. Everything else? Yuck. The accent is wrong. The grime is wrong. The light is wrong. The attitudes are wrong.

    I think over time I've just assumed that all other city-as-setting books and movies are similarly off. I don't even look for it any more. (Wait, A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius DID do a good job at feeling like Berkeley and the East Bay.)

  4. Smart Bitches Day, Catty. It's explained at

  5. May I suggest you add Elmore Leonard to your Florida Writers list? Some of my favorites by him (Riding the Rap and Rum Punch come to mind) are set in Florida.


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