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by Dave Barry
ISBN 0399145672 / 9780399145674 / 0-399-14567-2
Publisher Putnam Adult
› Find signed collectible books: 'Big Trouble'
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 [via]