By Nisid Hajari
Updated March 05, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Early in his journey across the Gulf Coast from Key West through Biloxi, Miss., New Orleans, and Galveston, Tex., Frederick Turner (Rediscovering America) bemoans the traveler’s lot: ”Before you can find anything funny in a new place you must first take everything seriously.” Turner’s sober and formal prose in A Border of Blue: Along the Gulf of Mexico From the Keys to the Yucatan nicely captures the warnings of the park rangers and DEA agents he searches out along the porous border. But as he fills himself with beer and fried chicken gizzards in order to appreciate the shrimpers, musicians, and waiters of the ”Redneck Riviera,” Turner often paints his own unease more clearly than the surrounding terrain. B