Book Review: Big Trouble

Dave Barry, a humor columnist for the Miami Herald, is syndicated in newspapers all across the country. While he has written many books, this is his first fictional novel - and the funniest book I have ever read. Big Trouble is a satirical crime novel in the vein of Elmore Leonard's stories, only more off-the-wall, if that is possible. It follows the intertwining lives of an advertising agent and his teenage son, an unhappily married woman, her jerk husband, her live-in maid, and her teenage daughter, two hitmen from New Jersey who were hired to kill the jerk husband, two Russian arms dealers who run a bar called the Jolly Jackal, two Miami cops, a couple FBI agents tracking nuclear weapons, two extraordinarily stupid thugs, and a guy named Puggy who lives in a tree. I probably missed some people, but you get the point.

The twisted story unfolds with energy and humor, while retaining Barry's trademark hilarious observational commentary in the narrative. I finished the book in a matter of hours, since I could not put it down. The increasingly complicated plot takes over as the story progresses, and though it threatens to bog down Barry's quick-witted humor, it never gets too serious. The book also celebrates the city of Miami: it's simultaneously a love letter and a hate letter, but it embraces all that is Miami with a love only a resident (Barry) can feel. The book is a riot!

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