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Big Trouble Paperback – July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425239470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425239476
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (365 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

Four-letter words do NOT abound, and their use is not gratuitous.
Charles Milton Ling
Dave Barry is the funniest writer I have ever read, and this book is one of the best!
Char
For any reader, the story has a well-developed plot and exciting characters.
Mike Gilmore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "crystalrose" on November 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Dave Barry certainly knows what buttons to push to get a laugh...from the goats on the highway to Elizabeth Dole trying to steal Arthur's soul, his humor ranges from low to high brow and stays funny all the way through. True, the flavor of some of the humor is unique but that's always been Dave Barry's signature. I enjoyed it, plain and simple. But I will say don't start this book thinking you're going to read a piece of literature to ponder about...read it with a bag of popcorn and a soda (well, scratch the soda - it might end up going through your nose).
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The unimaginatively titled "Big Trouble" is an acceptable "practice run" novel for Dave Barry. He shows potential to be a good humor/suspense novelist: the characters are quirky and believable (in a cartoonish fashion), the pacing was done well, and for the most part, it was a really funny book. Unlike some critics, I didn't find the humor to be interfering with the story -- it seemed to come out of the situations naturally, and, well, it worked.
On the other hand, the "plot" left much to be desired. Sure, we ain't expecting Shakespeare here, but the story reads like fragments of an Elmore Leonard novel assembled at random and with no real logical progression; it's like a plot constructed by a 16 year old Leonard fan who's just messing around. But like I said, it's a practice run; his next one will likely be better.
The only thing I really dislike about the book is the use of profanity and the sexual assault scene. Dave seems to have been infected with a case of Tarantino-itis, believing that no dialogue can be "realistic" unless it contains multiple f-words. Similarly, the scene with the creep ripping open the woman's blouse was gratuitous and inappropriate for this kind of novel. What purpose did it serve? If Barry felt like he had to add a titillating scene, why couldn't he have done it in a comedic manner, instead of a disturbing rape-fantasy? Barry's been a successful writer without this kind of stuff before, so why does he think he needs it now?
Overall: a funny, light read that has its problems but shows potential. Just as long as he doesn't quit writing humor columns! In that area, Dave reigns supreme.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There seem to be a lot of conflicting views about this book--evidently because its detractors expect Literature with a capital L. Wrong! It's fluff, pure and simple--in places laugh-out-loud-funny fluff. We're talking about Dave Barry, folks, not William Faulkner! No, it's NOT in the Carl Hiaasen league, but then, Hiaasen is in a league by himself, one he virtually owns. Nevertheless, Barry has written a fast, engaging, easy-to-read page-turner, the chaotic events of which owe something to the Marx Brothers for their frantic pacing and to Mel Brooks for their outlandishness. Lighten up and just enjoy it!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dave on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like most others, I purchased this book on the reputation of the author. I LOVE Dave Barry. Ever since I was in high school and read DAVE BARRY SLEPT HEAR: A SORT-OF HISTORY OF AMERICA, I have laughed until I hurt more than once reading his works.
That endorsement not withstanding, I was dissappointed with this book. In the preface Barry states he was advised not to worry about the plot. He was poorly advised. Mind you, I was not expecting Barry to produce something along the lines of Pride and Prejudice I was expecting to read an extremely funny story.
While the book is extremely funny, the story part has much to be desired. It was an admirable first attempt at a novel, yet it is nothing more than that--an attempt.
Also the book contains what Barry terms as "Adult language." It contains A LOT of it. More than most novels. Like most televisions, movies, books, and teenagers, the book would have been better served without it.
Again, the book is very funny and in many ways mimicks his column. So if you like Dave Barry's humor your going to like the book. Just don't buy it in hardback; wait for the paperback. Or borrow it from someone like the idiot i am who paid too much for it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nason on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Big Trouble is written in the style of a good Elmore Leonard book. It has a variety of charecters that all mesh into one giant story eventually. It's a funny book (you will laugh out loud), so it definitely has "Dave Barry" written all over it. However..... Here's where I was dissapointed. The last chapter of the book seems rushed. I enjoy a complete ending, this one seemed to try to wrap up everything in the whole book in a few pages. I won't give anything away, but I feel that the last chapter was not consitiant with the rest of the book. The author could of spent a few more pages during the fianle. All in all I think it's a worthwhile purchase, especially if you like a comical crime novel. I certainly hope that Mr. Barry writes fiction again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By robert grunewald on December 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a reader of everything Dave Barry has ever written, I can say this is at the top of the list! Hilarious twists and turns which are totally unexpected. His building up of each character, and their many faults, is neatly woven into a spider web of unbelievable adventure in Florida. His imagination runs wild between the good guys, the bad guys, the other bad guys, more good guys, and of course - the cops and the feds. I couldn't put it down. A must for any true Barry fan. I can only hope he continues to write more novels!
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