Book review: a collection of short stories that can carry an air | Lifestyles


“The Great Filling Station Holdup: Crime Fiction inspired by the songs of Jimmy Buffett”

Down & Out Books, 274 pages, $ 16.95

You can’t get more from Florida than Jimmy Buffett’s songs. And this tidy collection of 16 short stories features Buffett’s songs, often different from the source material, from authors such as Don Bruns, Jeff Hess, Leigh Lundin, Rick Ollerman, Neil Plakcy, Elaine Viets, ME Browning, and more, most of which call the Sunshine State home.

Each story takes its title from the song that inspired it, although not all of them take place in Florida. In addition to his writings, Buffett is known for his activism in ecological causes. In the introduction, publisher Josh Pachter says that one-third of the royalties from the collection’s sales will be split between two charities – Save the Manatee Club (, co-founded in 1981 by Buffett and the former Florida Governor Bob Graham; and Singing for Change (, a private foundation that Buffett established in 1995 to help support other organizations.

Go find this lost salt shaker, then delve into the stories of “The Great Filling Station Holdup”. You might want to have Buffett’s music playing in the background to enhance the experience. A practical guide gives the biographies and references of the authors.

An airstrip in the Bahamas, a Key West bar and a father’s revenge come together in Rick Ollerman’s “A Pirate Looks at Forty”. The closure of the auto parts store Vincent Fowler runs in Iowa will put 25 people, including him, out of work in the amusing “We are the people our parents warned us about.” Vincent, who has a bit of theft in his heart, and his wife move to Fort Lauderdale where they find a different kind of paradise.

Also located in Iowa, Don Bruns’ “Cheeseburger in Paradise” revolves around hitman Ginger Gallagher, who can’t resist those cheeseburgers even though he has a job to do.

Pachter’s take on “The Great Filling Station Holdup” is a shrewd look at solving a crime that satisfies everyone involved, even thieves.

CEO Dick Jeffries needs all the good publicity his team can muster to fix his “caring grandfather image” in Neil Plakcy’s humorous “Public Relations”.

Peter “Einstein” Calihan is an expert on waves until the unthinkable happens in ME Browning’s deep revenge tale “Einstein Was a Surfer”.

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