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Publisher's Summary

The 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 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 desperate for something to go right for once; Johnny and the Contusions, a ship's band with so little talent they are...well, the ship's band; Arnold and Phil, two refugees from the Beaux Arts Senior Center; Lou Tarant, a wide, bald man who has killed nine people, though none recently; and an assortment of uglies whose job it is to facilitate the ship's true business, which is money laundering or drug-smuggling or...something.

What happens to them all in the midst of the fiercest storm in years, the unpredictable ways in which this trip will change their lives and send them ricocheting off each other like a giant game of pinball, is the story of this astonishing, wickedly satisfying, all-too-human novel by, says Carl Hiaasen, "one of the funniest writers alive".

©2003 Dave Barry (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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." ( Publishers Weekly

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Probably the funniest book I've ever read or heard

Dave Barry at his best! Barry is a master at the multiple, interweaving plotline, with believable yet hysterically funny and complicated characters. Listening to his novels usually leave me not only satisfied and exhausted (hey you people with dirty minds!) but also feeling wonderful about life. This is because not only are most of his characters optimistic even to the point of absurdity, but also because his books almost always end on a happy, upbeat note.

Somehow he's managed to involve: the owner of a small empire of cut-rate chain businesses, the mob, a 'has-been/wannabe' rock band, television newscasters, a pissant petty criminal, a variety of cocktail waitresses and casino workers plus the funniest two elderly gentlemen residents of a retirement home in a workable, complex and wildly funny plot. His characters are so well fleshed out that, when many of them reveal surprise elements to the story, the listener is as, if not more, surprised than the other characters! Barry is a Miami resident, and I don't know if the city and its environs are as strange as he portrays them, or even 10% as funny as he makes it, but if I worked for the Florida Tourism Board I would try to incorporate his paradoxically inviting humor into my game plan.

In addition, Dick Hill does a fabulous job as narrator! Some people have a hard time portraying people of the opposite gender, but Hill makes it work. He realistically imitates the accents and voices of the characters so ingeniously that listeners can even tell the difference between two retired nursing home residents from the New York City metro area. You almost wonder if the two collaborated on the work - the combination is that good.

Prepare yourself. Make sure you don't drink any water before you listen to it, and go to the bathroom before you start. (Don't want any accidents, do we?) Schedule out enough time to listen to it so that you can realistically either listen to it in one go if necessary (my daughter and I did it driving from - where else - Florida to Iowa).



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 02-25-17

Whacky Fun.

Cretinous goons? Yep, they're here. Serial slackers? Check. Snarky Q-Tip seniors? Check. A touch of smut? Check? A mix of neurotics, lunatics, and assorted psychotics? Check. And a manic collection of nutjob heroes? Well, check again.

"Tricky Business" is about a sea-going voyage-to-nowhere adventure of one mucilaginous mass of what Florida mutates around its edges. Oh, and it's laugh-out-loud Dave Barry told with the understated timing of Dick Hill.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • Willow Spring, NC, United States
  • 09-21-09

A Lot of Fun

This has got to be one of the funniest and entertaining books I've heard. Couple Dave Barry's story with Dick Hill's narration, and you have a complete package. Both were excellent. To my surprise, the story takes a more serious turn with the culmination of characters in the final quarter of the book, but Barry is able to inject his humor keeping the book fun. And did I mention that Dick Hill is an excellent reader? The book might not make you think about the world, but you'll find yourself laughing even when you're not listening to the book, quoting lines such as, "Play the song about the guy, you know, with the car."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kim-Marie
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 07-21-09

Did you want some waffles? I made some fresh.

This was a great book. I love the way Dave Barry takes a dozen different story lines and links them all together into a very satisfying ending. He has such great characters. You find that you know many of these characters in your own life and you feel about the ones in the book the same way you feel about the ones that live down the block from you (or down the hall from you). You don't know why he may focus on a character the first time he brings them up, but by the end you know the story wouldn't have been the same without them. Now hurry up and download it because your waffles are getting cold and I'd hate to have them go to waste.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A warning

I was familiar with the columnist Dave Barry who wrote the short and funny articles I would see online and in the newspapers and expected something similar when I bought this book. I listened to the sample and heard the warning that there were “bad words” in the book because the book involved some unsavory characters and “that is the way they talk”, but was still unprepared for what I found. Yes, the book contains characters using hard language, but it also involves violence, murder and graphic human dismemberment and I personally had to skip past some sections because I did not want to listen to graphic details of extreme violence. I would warn people that this is not, in my opinion, a book for young listeners.

Having said that, most of this book is typical Dave Barry. The story involves people at the “Old Folks Home”, members of an unsuccessful band, cocktail waitresses, the Coast Guard, drug smugglers and others who all get caught up in mayhem trying to make legal as well as illegal livings. It is Dave Barry funny with an interesting set of characters, an interesting story and enough laughs to satisfy pretty much any reader. The narration is nearly perfect and the combination provided me with a reasonably pleasant, if sometimes very uncomfortable, listening. An interesting story, a lot of smiles, chuckles and laughs, very good narration and some strong violence so, for me, a mixed bag.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Otto
  • Yucaipa, CA, United States
  • 02-18-17

There was no way to quit listening!

Dave Barry's absurd characters and situations grabbed my attention right away, and this book held my attention clear to the end. What happens next? I couldn't stop listening until the answer to that question appeared, but along the way, other things started that needed their own answers. If you thought "Big Trouble" was entertaining, you will like this one as well. NOTE: This is not something you want your kids to read--some of the language and situations are a bit crusty...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Noam
  • D.N. Menashe, Israel
  • 12-05-12

Good title of an audiobook suitable genre

A light action/comedy story that's ideal for audio books. The story doesn't always require your full concentration and still remains interesting and entertaining.
I thought the narrator performed fairly well, given such a diverse range of character types.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

another one of Dave Barry's fantastic tales.

I couldn't put the book down,it was so funny.Some of the story was predictable,but on the whole it was so funny I had to keep listening till the end.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Fun!

This was a funny, entertaining book. I laughed out loud several times. The narration was top notch.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Saved by Dick Hill's performance!

This was a tough one for me to rate. For quite a while, as I was going through it, I was sure it would be 3 stars. The funny bits were very funny, but the horrible violence, torture, and body mutilation were quite jarring and seemed, in a way, part of a totally different book. Granted, all the nasty stuff happened to bad guys, but it was still cringe-worthy. The ending, though, made up for a lot of it. Listening to Dick Hill's performance also helped. My goodness, he did SO many voices, and aced every one. The best bits were the ongoing saga of the hapless News Team 9.