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Tricky Business

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,277 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
The Extravaganza of the Seas is a five-thousand-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 more money. In the middle of a tropical storm one night, these characters are among the passengers it carries: Fay Benton, a single mom and cocktail waitress desper ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 30th 2002 by Putnam Adult (first published September 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick Gibson
It’s warped. It pokes outrageous fun at the stupidity in all of us—especially the ‘us’ who live in Florida (not me—those other people), and it uses adult language like I hear it used in the street all the time. It also has all the good stuff we like in a novel: murder, sex, drugs, violence, hijacking, corrupt government officials, inept authorities, and my favorite subject these days, senior citizens on a casino boat. Isn’t that everyone’s favorite subject?
The litany bizarre characters is long a
Jun 08, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some laugh out loud humor with a decent plot and ending. 8 of 10 stars
Dave Barry is an American columnist who, I have to say, can be very, very funny. Some Australian papers carry his columns from time to time, you might have seen them around. He is also a mate of Carl Hiaasen, a fellow journalist-turned-novelist. This book is humorous and light, except for a few acts of extreme violence, but not quite as good as the Hiaasen’s I have read to date, nor as good as Janet Evanovich. It is better than R is for Ricochet, though.

The plot involves several parties, whose p
Christopher Maher
As should be apparent from my book list, I am a great fan of Barry's writing. I am not, however, a fan of this book.
I think this was a bit of a stumble in his follow-up to his first work of fiction, Big Trouble.
First, the good. Barry has a knack for creating entertaining characters and for writing individual scenes of great comedy. The book has a running joke of the news coverage of a hurricane in South Florida which is hilarious and spot-on.
Now the bad. The book as a whole is just not very good
Jul 23, 2015 Olga rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Dave Barry, both as a hillarious columnist and as a fiction writer. This book starts out very funny, formulaic but funny. Ok, it is a familair formula (similar to another Florida humorist Carl Hiassen, whom I also follow and enjoy): bad rich developers, bad drug dealers, washed out pothead band, "heart of gold" poor waitresses and immigrants - so far so good. A pair of octogenarians and a few local newscasters - just hilarious. (The reader of audiobook - marvelous - with great NY accents ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Barry

Reasonably enjoyable due to Barry's humor. The humor does become repetitious after a while and there is one scene which is unnecessarily violent and gory that doesn't fit the rest of the book.
Courtney Duncan
Oct 14, 2014 Courtney Duncan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first fiction novel I have read by Dave Barry, and to be honest with you, I didn't even know he had written any fiction until I stumbled across a bunch of his books at my library. When I saw them, I really had no choice but to check one out. I was a little nervous- I mean, I am a huge fan of Dave Barry's humorous works, and have been since I was just a kid. So I was worried that his fiction might be disappointing.
I shouldn't have been. This was the kind of novel that no one but Dave
Jun 06, 2014 Haris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has read Dave Barry's columns is already intimately familiar with South Florida and Miami: the drug trade, the senior citizens, the weather-related fearmongering of local news, etc. All of these are present in Tricky Business, Barry's second fiction book (after the highly acclaimed Big Trouble). I'm obliged to compare Barry to a funnier Elmore Leonard, and the comparison holds in part: both feature large casts and complex plots, though Leonard's pacing tends to be slower than Barry's ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Aug 09, 2015 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I knew Barry could be hilarious in his essays, but I had never read any of his fiction. I picked the book to fill a square in the Bingo game run every summer by Books on the Nightstand. I needed an author born in the same year I was. My choices were Stephen King, Octavia Butler, Temple Grandin, and Dave Barry. I'm running out of time, so I picked the Barry book because it was short and cheap. I discovered that it is also very, very funny. I ac ...more
Mar 09, 2016 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of wacky humor who have strong stomachs
I'm a little torn as to how to review this book. Some of it was (darkly) hilarious, such as the storyline about the news team following the storm. The story was a little slapstick for my taste, but it was a fun change of pace. I'm a fan of Carl Hiaasen, and thought Barry's books might be similar, but this one was quite a bit broader in its humor. I listened to the audio version, and enjoyed the reader, who was fully aware that the humor was very broad and read appropriately. To be fair, the "pro ...more
Sep 12, 2015 Cissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed by this, after reading 2 Dave Barry novels that were clever, intriguing, and full of fun.

In this one, Barry seems to substitute violence, including fairly graphic scenes of torture, for humor.

I do not find this a winning strategy.

The excessive violence- Ok, mostly toward the Bad Guys- and especially the torture really turned me off. I was not expecting grimdark here.

The plot is OK. The senior citizens who save the day are great. The use of farting as a plot device was...
Apr 27, 2013 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not normally a fan of violence in movies or books, but this was really funny and clever. What happens to the Newsplex-9 team is about as close to slapstick as you can get in a book. It's my first Dave Barry book, but it won't be the last!
Oct 23, 2015 Winnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we lived in Florida during the 80s, I enjoyed reading Dave Barry’s humor columns in our newspaper so when I found this hardback book of fiction by him – for $1 – I thought it would be a quick and funny read. It was. This is the first time I’ve read one of his fiction books. The humor was sometimes tiresome and a bit juvenile but other times was laugh-out-loud hilarious. The bizarre characters aboard the gambling ship Extravaganza , the Newsplex-9 Team reporting on the “deadly” tropical stor ...more
May 02, 2015 Roberta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Dave Barry can be very funny. The TV weather team's ongoing coverage of a hurricane in this book is fall down hilarious. However, there is not enough funny in this book and and too much gross: torture involving cutting off human appendages (take a guess), way too much fellatio, and (yes, I was already aware that Dave Barry is FAMOUS for his juvenile humor) ralphing and farting taken way past being funny and into the pathological.

Before the book starts, Barry warns readers that there are "dirty
Jul 29, 2014 Luffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why this scores less than Big Trouble, because Tricky Business is definitely funnier than the latter. Not only that, it's smarter and more imaginative. Unfortunately, the surprise factor of Big Trouble had worn off. Still, the gags are hilarious and if you tell them to your friends, you'll get laugh out loud laughs. Just like Big Trouble, this book is funniest in the first few chapters, after which the plot thickens and the jokes dry up. For such a good book there's quite a few pag ...more
Tom Loock
A very quick read, a few chuckles, the odd snort (the good kind), but overall nothing to get excited about, sadly nowhere near as funny as Big Trouble and very predictable.
Some situations are resolved 'miraculously' as even Dave Barry admits in the text and (view spoiler).
Hi. My name is Diane, and I'm a mystery/crime novel addict.
Okay addict might be too much. Mystery and crime novels are my guilty pleasure. (or is that just denial?)
I have loved mystery novels ever since I first spotted the gamboge spines of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew on a bookshelf in my father's office. Or maybe it was when my mother gave me her The Bobbsey Twins' Mystery at School from when she was a girl. I enjoy several other Floridan newspaper columnists-cum-crime novelists, most notabl
Jan 15, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous
No list of funny books could be complete without including Dave Barry, and I actually paused for several minutes while trying to decide which of his many books to discuss. I finally selected his second novel, Tricky Business, which is set, of course, in Florida. Briefly, it’s the story of what happens when a cast of colorful and eccentric characters all end up on a gambling ship off the coast of Florida during one of the worst hurricanes in memory. But, it’s also much more than just that.

When ta
Sep 12, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so Dave Barry isn't Italo Calvino or David Mitchell or one of the Japanese geniuses (whose names I would have to look up before attempting to write them here) but he HATES what has happened to Florida and has (like Carl Hiaasen) taken his revenge on the scumbag developers by writing them into his books. And for that he gets a top rating from me (not to mention that he's really funny).
Tricky business is filled with the usual arsenal of Dave Barry characters --- as mentioned above the scumba
Kimarie Lamberson
Sep 13, 2010 Kimarie Lamberson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved to read Dave Barry's newspaper columns when I was a kid, he is one of my favorite humorous authors. When I found out that he had written a fiction novel, Big Trouble, I read it and loved it. It was made into a movie, which is also one of my favorites. I looked him up recently to see if he had any other books and found this one. I liked this book as much as Big Trouble. It follows the same sort of pattern with the "main" character being a sort of flawed but likable guy who stumbles into o ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious. This was my first exposure to Dave Barry and I found it delightfully unedifying. Although I had a hard time initially warming up to the cast of characters most of whom are created to be comedically pathetic (the leader of a mediocre band, a single mom cocktail waitress, a pair of elderly gentlemen clinging tenaciously to life among others), as their plot lines intertwined and the stormy night at sea on a casino boat heated up, I found I couldn't put the book down or stop laughing. I n ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humor
This is Barry's second novel-- following Big Trouble-- and it's a lot like the first in many ways, but not quite as good. It's full of slightly offbeat south Florida characters, from friendly slacker types to brainless thugs, who all eventually come together in a big slapstick crazy event. This time it centers on a double-cross drug deal taking place off the stern of a casino cruise ship 5 miles off the Miami coast in the middle of a tropical storm. A funny, quick read.
Mar 07, 2011 Douglas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I half wonder if my 3-Star rating is due to the length of time it took me to read this book. Not that it had anything to do with my feelings on the subject, rather personal life just took me away from books for a while. However, sharing my brother's sentiment, I have only seen the movie Big Trouble and have not read it, but found that story funnier than this. There was certainly some quirkiness to the characters, and the impending "catastrophe" was enough to keep me interested. With the large ca ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garrett Zecker
I read this as a once-devotee, and I have to say I was not entirely impressed with it. It was not nearly as good as Big Trouble, in my opinion, and I am not sure that that is entirely Barry's fault. There are a lot of fun things in the text - the names that are double meanings and other plays on situational comedic genius that you can only do in the format of the written word, but Barry has done it much better in the past. I think what Barry is starting to do is move into his retirement as a nov ...more
Jun 18, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Tropical Storm Hector bearing down on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, a motley cast of characters find themselves going to work or seeking fun aboard The Extravaganza of the Seas - a cruise ship that heads out to international waters off the U.S. coast in order to allow its patrons to gamble to their heart's content. However, the ship also serves a seedier purpose, the Mafia uses the ship as a transaction point where money is swapped for large amounts of cocaine and marijuana destined for sa ...more
David Caldwell
May 07, 2014 David Caldwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humorous, crime
A mix of quirky characters are all heading towards a wild adventure on a casino ship cruise off the southern Florida coast during a tropical storm. The characters include a couple of elderly gentlemen wanting to get away from their retirement facility, several mobsters, a cover band that smokes too much pot, a guy dressed as a conch, and many others.

This is a mix of absurd comedy and mobster crime story. There are plenty of laughs and double crosses. This is more of an ensemble piece than any
Oct 12, 2014 Farhan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
People's magazine hit the nail on the head when it described Dave Barry's novels as, 'Elmore Leonard on laughing gas.' A good effort by funny man Dave Barry who leads the readers into a web of money laundering, murder, violence, and undercover work. Looking forward to reading more from him.
Jobiska (Cindy)
I love Dave Barry's columns and his humor books, so I gave this the ol' college try, and got enough into it to find it wasn't for me. It seemed pretty clear that I was to root for one or two people only and the descriptions of the other people were so over the top as to be caricatures--perhaps a style that fits better in his other genres. I'll pass it along and hope someone else appreciates it!
Vaughn W
Jun 01, 2015 Vaughn W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was familiar with the comedian Dave Berry, but had not been acquainted with the author Dave Berry. I was pleased with the results of this work of fiction. The pacing was good and I cared about the principal characters. It is a fast read and well worth the time to do so.
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Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.
Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as
More about Dave Barry...

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