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Big Trouble Paperback – Jul 6 2010
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Dave Barry, the only newsman to win a Pulitzer for exemplary use of words like booger, will please humor and crime-fiction fans alike with this racy debut novel. The scene is Miami. In ritzy Coconut Grove, the teen son of Eliot, a newsman turned adman, sneaks up to spritz a cute girl with a Squirtmaster 9000 to win a high school game called Killer. Meanwhile, two hit men sneak up to kill the girl's abusive stepdad, Arthur. Arthur cheated his bosses at corrupt Penultimate, Inc., which equipped a Florida jail with automatic garage-opener gates that accidentally freed prisoners in a lightning storm.
Farcical confusion ensues, witnessed by a saintly bum named Puggy, camped in a tree in Arthur's yard. Puggy works at the Jolly Jackal Bar & Grill, which has no grill and actually sells guns and bombs to an offshoot of the Crips and Bloods called the Cruds, and to Penultimate (which plans to conquer Cuba). But when dim thugs Eddie and Snake rob the Jolly Jackal and Arthur tells them it's a Russian mob front selling bombs, the proprietor snorts, "Bombs, pfft! No bombs! Is bar."
Can Snake and Eddie spirit a suitcase nuke through Miami, "where most motorists obeyed the traffic and customs of their individual countries of origin"? Can Eliot and cop Monica Rodriguez save the day? And how do the 300-pound hallucinogenic Enemy Toad, the 13-foot-long python Daphne, highway goats, and the Denture Adventure seniors' theme park fit in? Everything fits perfectly, including a few dark passages new to Barry's work. But one warning: if you read this book while drinking milk, at some point it will spurt out of your nostrils. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, it's very funny. No one can or should be able to make the reader howl on every single page, but "Big Trouble" does a fine job of entertaining. If you've seen the movie (worth checking out) it's very loyal to the book: same characters and most of the funniest situations are kept in.
Plot: Roughly eight to 12 characters wind up interacting in a kind of convoluted manner to describe well here - a pair of teens playing "Killer" with a water pistol wind up inadvertenly messing up a hit man's plan to kill the dad of one of their classmates - whose maid winds up falling in love with the narrator - a homeless man called Puggy. Meanwhile the target of the hitman winds up facedown in a bowl of dog chow squirted by a poisonous toad having hallucinations that involve Martha Stewart. Eventually, the dad of one of the teens winds up hijacking a plane - which finally wins his son's respect. A bomb which passes with impunity through an airport check is finally diffused and - well, why not read the rest? I promise it's funnier than just a brief description here can make it.
Dave Barry creates a wall of characters in the story, which makes the book read a little faster, as he is jumping from character through character throughout the book. The only problem with this is that although the large amount of people in the story adds to the plot's depth, it is easy to get lost between the character's names and what's happening to whom.
Even with this mild flaw, though, the story still reads well and the plot flows brilliantly. Dave Barry takes completely different characters who have nothing to do with each other and then pulls them together through a series of events. At first, no plot seemed evident to me, but as you read on, everything begins to fit in, and then the adventure starts!
The story is a very original one involving a nuclear bomb, a game called killer, a large toad, a homeless man, a bar that's purpose is not to sell drinks, and two hitmen, two police officers, two high schoolers, two FBI agents, and two "veterans". It seems like it would be impossible to write a book incorporating such a wide variety of ideas and thoughts and yet still keeping it an interesting story, but somehow, Dave Barry manages to pull it off.
I find this story very hard to describe in a few short sentences, as there is just SO much that goes on in it. It takes place in Miami, where a victim of attempted murder tries to buy a bomb to get the attention of the feds in some crazy plan of his.Read more ›
Barry tells the tale of several people from so many different walks of life that get thrown together in a madcap adventure only imaginable by Dave Barry. The characters are realistic, charming, and funny. They reflect typical American stereotypes without bashing the people that relate to them. The setting is Miami, Florida. I've never been to Miami, but I hear it's nice. Dave does a very good job of including the setting in his adventure.
The events that happin in this crazy tale are unforgettable. A goat, a dog, a mismatched pair of police officers, a homeless man, a deadbeat father, his starcrossed teenage daughter with her boyfriend, and his alienated wife, their latin maid, a grizzly biker, a worn out advertising man, two clumsy common crooks and a plethora of corporate snakes, mob thugs and government agents participate in the funniest story I have ever read.
This book is definitely a keeper. I love Dave Barry and his satirical comment on society and it's bungling participants. Read the book even if you've already seen the movie. It's well worth the chuckles. Besides, laughing out loud is healthy.
While there are some amusing pieces in here, they are scattered like oases in the vast desert. It is incredibly lame, predictable, and dull. The characters would have to expand to be one-dimensional, and there are too many of them to even make much of an impression. It begins to feel like the Keystone Kops after a while, one zany, wild and spectacularly unamusing event after another. Improbable coincidences and silly plot twists heap up like ants on a grasshopper carcass.
Thankfully the book is very brief. Though there are over 300 pages, those pages look like many twenty-page college term papers, with wide margins, broad line-spacing, and large type.
I have been reading Dave Barry since he began writing back in Pittsburgh. I've read millions of his columns. The man is funny. But a funny man does not necessarily equal a funny novel. This is not funny. Not well-plotted. Not suspenseful. Not clever. Not witty. Not sparkling. Not interesting. Not amusing. Not fun. Not surprising. Not well-written. Not worth the money.
Most recent customer reviews
A very funny writer from Florida along the lines of Carl Hiiason..Published 18 months ago by ken smithers
Background: grew up in South Florida reading and loving Dave in the Miami Herald but I live many states away now. Read morePublished on July 13 2004
May I first say that I am a fan of Barry's? I love his columns and his comedy books. I didn't like this in the least.
It reaks of rookieness. Read more
Dave Barry has done a wonderful job on his first fiction novel. I found myself laughing out loud at parts. Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by Amy A Adams
Fasten your seatbelts, cause Dave Barry is taking you for a bumpy ride through the streets of Miami! Read morePublished on Dec 4 2003 by Paul Skinner
Set in Miami, Florida mostly in the suburb of Coconut Grove this book is a simple quick tale of different unrelated interesting characters whose paths cross at one time or another. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2003 by James N Simpson
I purchased this book with high expectations. Every column Dave Barry has ever written has cracked me up and this book was made into a movie, so it had to be funny, right? Wrong. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2003 by D. Souba
Dave Barry is already notorious for winning a Pulitzer Prize for using words such as "booger" in his syndicated column. Read morePublished on April 28 2003