Tricky Business
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Tricky Business

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,700 ratings  ·  211 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
Mass Market Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 2003 by Berkley (first published September 2002)
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Community Reviews

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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...more
pinknantucket
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...more
Haris
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
Deb
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!
Luffy Monkey D.
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).
Diane
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...more
Dan
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...more
Beth
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...more
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...more
Kimarie Lamberson
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
Bethany
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
Douglas
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
Erin
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
Kevin
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
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...more
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!
Kevin
It was an entertaining, briskly-paced caper. As with Big Trouble, the bad guys are borderline idiots and most of the protagonists don't know they're protagonists, which Barry pulls off in a very entertaining fashion. There are bouts of inane conversation that go on for pages at a time, but that's sort of his trademark, so asking him not to do that would be like asking Elvis to hold off on the hip-swiveling.

Barry manages to fill the 300+ pages with the events of just one night, casting viewpoint...more
Snotchocheez
Evidently the Wacky Florida Crime-Fiction genre is limitless; I figured Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey had that genre pretty sewed up, and then along comes Dave Barry, another newspaper columnist-turned-novelist. While evocative of Hiaasen and Dorsey, Barry keeps his plot development a little tighter and doesn't have as many plot threads mucking up the works. The unfortunately-titled "Tricky Business" involves a gambling cruise ship that goes 3 miles off the Miami coast to ostensibly run a legitima...more
Faith Justice
From the back:

"Dave Barry...follows his acclaimed debut with a book that 'leads readers into a crazy complexity of money laundering, drug dealing, murder, sex, violence, hijacking, and undercover work' (Library Journal) -- not to mention 'barbs aimed at overbearing mothers, corrupt officials, inept authorities and , of course, the American crime novel itself' (Publishers Weekly)."

"What else do you need to know? It's by Dave Barry so you know it's going to be funny." -- The Seattle Times

My review...more
Fran Gardner
I listened to this book with narrator Dick Hill, whom I like a lot. The story is funny and Hill's rendition of the voices was excellent, but the extreme, sadistic, gratuitous violence ruined the book for me.
Chase Hagler
The characters in this book are hilarious and entertaining. This is a very easy and fast paced read that will keep you invested in it. A very light hearted book. I definitely recommend it to anyone.
bookczuk
I happen to really like Dave BArry and like his novels best of all. I am particularly fond of the acknowledgment and Warning in the front of this book, where he goes through a riff on the fact that the book, like Big Trouble contains some "bad words". He apparently got letters of complaint about the language and he "wrote them back and explained that, yes, it did have some unsavory language, but that was because the story involved some unsavory characters, and that was the way they talk. Charac...more
Maryann
I learned long ago not to listen to Dave Barry books while driving, because they make it hard to steer a car safely while laughing. Alas, this book could have been an audio one for me because it wasn't quite as funny. The book had its moments, most notably some fascinating escapees from a retirement home and some band members who meet the stereotypical punchline of "Q: What did the drummer get on his IQ test? A: Drool." There are also violent moments and a disclaimer at the front to warn us of t...more
Jane
Having been deprived of his weekly column for the last few years, I'd forgotten how Dave Barry makes me belly-laugh. He borrows liberally from his friend and Miami Herald colleague Carl Hiaasen in setting up this story -- one of the heavies is almost identical, even by name, to a thug in Hiaasen's Native Tongue -- but dreams up a tale all his own. Sprinkled with his trademark humor and citing events that could only occur in South Florida, Barry constructs a believable tale of high-sea hijinks an...more
Robert
This is a funny book with a lot of action and some great characters. Take a single mom cocktail waitress, two retirement home escapees, a washed up band, a large breasted roulette dealer with a bad case of flatulence, and others on a gambling cruise ship piloted by a prior convicted felon enroute to a rendevous for a drug drop with a cast of screwed up bad guys, and then shake it all up with a tropical storm. That is more than enough to pilot this book on a very funny course. Also pay attention...more
Aaron
Despite its nearly 300+ page length, I inhaled this book over the course of a weekend. Though it's not up to the level of Carl Hiaasen at his most clever, and despite the fact that the characters remain two-dimensional caricatures for the most part, you can't help but to come to care about them. Likewise, you revel in the "bad guys'" ignominious demises. And also just like in Hiaasen (as a longtime Florida resident), the plot, no matter how outlandish it may seem to people from more civilized pa...more
Ryan Mishap
Golly, I wish I were Elmore Leonard, said Dave Barry enviously, then I could write dialogue really good and maybe my character wouldn't be shallow stereotypes like the overburdened single mom, the wisecracking eighty year olds, or the polite and dangerous mobster. Oh well, I guess I'll just go read an Elmore Leonard book, sigh...
The best thing about this book is the warning at the beginning that he uses bad words. I can imagine that people who were familiar with his newspaper humour column migh...more
Peter
(read this before Goodreads, added this review years after reading the book)

Probably enjoyed it.
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6245
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
More about Dave Barry...
Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, #1) Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Peter and the Starcatchers, #2) Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (Peter and the Starcatchers, #3) Big Trouble Peter and the Sword of Mercy (Peter and the Starcatchers, #4)

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