Cover image for Tricky business
Tricky business
Barry, Dave.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2003.

Physical Description:
391 pages ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Large Print Large Print
X Adult Large Print Large Print

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A New York Times Bestseller
A Pulitzer Prize-winning AuthorThe Extravaganza of the Seas is a 5,000-ton cash cow, a top-heavy tub whose sole function is to carry gamblers three miles from the Florida coast, take their money, then bring them back so they can find moe money. On board one night, a wildly diverse group of people finds themselves in the middle of a tropical storm in this astonishing, wickedly satisfying, all-too-human story.

Author Notes

Dave Barry was born in Armonk, New York on July 3, 1947. He received an English degree from Haverford College in 1969. His early attempts at small-town journalism for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, were directed towards local matters, such as zoning and sewage. In 1975, he briefly attempted to teach business writing to business people. Since then, he has worked as a professional humorist.

For many years he wrote a newspaper column that appeared in more than 500 newspapers and for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He is the author of numerous fiction, nonfiction, and young adult books. His novels include Big Trouble, Tricky Business, Lunatics, and Insane City. His nonfiction works include Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States, I'll Mature When I'm Dead, You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About, and Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer Is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings from Dave Barry. His young adult books include the Starcatchers series and the Never Land series.

Dave Barry's title, Best. State. Ever, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography) Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist. His recent novel, "Big Trouble," spent several months on the "New York Times" best-seller list, & his most recent nonfiction book, "Dave Barry Turns 50," was also a national best-seller. Dave lives in Miami, Florida.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Barry delivers plenty of laughs and action in his second foray into fiction, following Big Trouble (1999). Extravaganza of the Seas is a gambling boat owned by one of the biggest swindlers in all of Florida, Bobby Kemp. However, Kemp himself is being swindled by some local but powerful thugs. Lou Tarant and his boys are running a smuggling business on the Extravaganza, and Kemp is mad that he doesn't get a kickback. On the night of a furious tropical storm, Kemp gets some thugs of his own and decides to take action. Of course, Barry treats us to amusing depictions of some of the other characters on the ship: Fay, an overworked waitress; Wally, a member of the ship's band; and Arnie and Phil, on the lam from their senior center after a hilarious escape. When Kemp's plan goes disastrously awry, this colorful cast of characters is thrust into the middle of a fight between the double-crossing thugs. Barry garners plenty of laughs, especially in the scenes involving the senior center and its residents, as well as those involving a hapless, weather-obsessed news station. Fans of outlandish comic fiction, as well as Barry's columns, will find much to enjoy here. --Kristine Huntley

Publisher's Weekly Review

Humorist Barry (Big Trouble) brings together a motley group of South Florida eccentrics on an ill-fated casino boat voyage in his second full-length comic mystery novel. A tropical storm is bearing down on the Florida coast, but the Extravaganza of the Seas, a luxury gambling ship, sets sail on its nightly excursion in spite of the weather. Aboard are Fay Benton, an attractive cocktail waitress trying to make ends meet for her kid; a collection of pot-smoking would-be rockers (at least one of whom lives with his mother) who make up the ship's band, Johnny and the Contusions; a pair of wise-cracking octogenarians who've escaped an extended-care facility; and some Mafia-connected gangsters who use the ship's nightly voyages to smuggle drugs onto the mainland. Bobby Kemp, the ship's titular owner, insists that the Extravaganza go out in the storm because he's chosen this night to hijack the drug deal. In the background, a local television station plays a role straight from Keystone Kops as its reporters frantically cover the approaching storm with consistently fatal results. Barry once again showcases his gently satiric style, with barbs aimed at overbearing mothers, corrupt officials, inept authorities and, of course, the American crime novel itself, which he sends up with absurd plotting, astronomical body count and plenty of gratuitous nudity and (PG-rated) sex. Belying self-deprecating disclaimers about his talent for fiction, Barry demonstrates that he can draw some captivating characters and keep a reader's attention in spite of-or perhaps because of-slapstick antics and a fascination with scatology. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Barry's name could sell a VCR manual, but he's taken the time to write a winner, anyway. Expect this to match or surpass the performance of Big Trouble. Author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Humorist Barry demonstrates once again that he has reached that plateau of success where he can do no wrong-almost. This second novel represents something of a decline from Big Trouble, his first venture into fiction, which emerged as an incident-crowded mystery topped off with rapid-fire laughs and a dash of satire. This time, the laughs are not much more than titters, and the incidents are only intermittently compelling. In brief, the story is built around events on one of the floating casinos that takes paying customers three miles off the Florida coast each night to gamble. It leads readers into a crazy complexity of money laundering, drug dealing, murder, sex, violence, hijacking, and undercover work. As it is written by Barry, the book probably will meet with a certain amount of popular favor, but a caveat is in order: This is not the Barry of his syndicated columns or his nonfiction books. As he himself puts it, "This book contains some bad words," which he justifies by saying that his "unsavory characters" talk that way. A likely story. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/02.]-A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.