| || Big Trouble (1999)|
From Publishers Weekly
In writing a comic thriller set in South Florida, the Pulitzer-winning Miami Herald columnist and author of 20 books of satirical nonfiction (most recently, Dave Barry Turns 50) risks the inevitable comparison to Carl Hiaasen. The good news is that he acquits himself well in this slapstick caper. Barry's cast of familiar South Florida oddballs populate what might best be described as a Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury) sendup of the hard-boiled crime novels of Elmore Leonard. Featuring a homeless drifter who sleeps in a tree and tends bar for two illegal arms-dealing Russian hoods, a pair of two-bit losers who hustle tourists at parking meters, an ex-journalist (now a failing ad-man), a pretty illegal alien, a boozy embezzler and his ill-used wife and daughter, a teen with a water pistol playing a game of Killer, a retarded dog, a psychedelic South American toad, two klutzy New Jersey hit men and a virtual army of local and Federal law enforcement, the novel's quirky players bounce off each other like popcorn in a microwave, chasing after a mysterious suitcase containing a nuclear bomb in an unlikely race against certain death. The zany plot has more twists than the I-95 Miami airport interchange and more pratfalls than a Three Stooges comedy. Despite an occasional stiffness and tendency to strain for one-liners, the narrative moves at a breezy pace. Barry is indisputably one of the funniest humorists writing today, and his fiction debut will not disappoint a legion of fans. Agent, Al Hart. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate; 12-city author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
|Insane City (2013)|
In Barry's very funny new novel, the destination wedding of a slacker protagonist and his beautiful lawyer fiancée goes haywire. Though Seth Weinstein tries to live up to Tina Clark's expectations, he's immediately thwarted. He's lost his suitcase, wedding ring, and Groom Posse before arriving, drunk, at the Miami hotel where he's to be married. His newly found companion, the fourth runnerup in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod competition, enlists her friend, who keeps a python as a pet, to help find the ring. The stripper that Seth didn't ask for greets him in his suite demanding payment. Seth goes in search of an ATM and returns, the next morning, with a nearly drowned Haitian woman and her children. The stripper's tab keeps climbing, and her pimp is unlikely to make a deal. Barry adds to the mix Tina's disapproving, social-climbing, billionaire parents and Seth's clueless mom and dad, complete with medicinal marijuana and matching tracksuits. Seth must also contend with an amorous orangutan and his soon-to-be-wife's family's bodyguards, one of whom has a grudge. None of the mayhem gets the better of Barry, whose sly observations, well-delineated characters, and intricate plotting mesh perfectly, even as the story reaches a frenetic dénouement aboard a pirate ship. (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 45)
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