Thursday, February 2, 2012


Lunatics by Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel

If a novel has Dave Barry's name associated with it, I'm going to read it. Both of his previous novels written for adults (Big Trouble & Risky Business) were hilarious. The Peter Pan prequels he's been coauthoring with Ridley Pearson for young adults are good too, but they're not the kind of laugh-out-loud funny books that cause people to move away from me while I'm reading them on the train into work that his others were. Pearson is kind of like Ritalin for Barry and my preference is to read Barry uncontrolled.

Lunatics was the first I had heard of Alan Zweibel and he made quite a first impression. If Pearson is Barry's Ritalin, I'd describe Zweibel as NoDoze with a Red Bull chaser. The pace of the book is fast, it never lets up, and it goes all over the place.

The book is about two men; Philip Horkman, a mild-mannered owner of a pet shop called The Wine Store (just go with it) and Jeffery Peckerman, a hot-headed, foul-mouthed forensic plumber (again, just go with it.) Their paths cross one day when Philip, a volunteer referee for a girl's recreational soccer league, calls off sides on Jeffery's daughter at a pivotal point in the game. From that moment on, the two can't seem to unseparate their paths and go back to their normal lives.

The story that follows made me laugh out loud regularly. If I wasn't laughing, I had a big grin on my face. I'm sure people around me when I was reading thought I was challenged in some way. Philip and Jeffery find themselves accused of masterminding a terrorist attack, hijacking a clothing-optional cruise ship, leading a revolution in Cuba, bringing down Somalian pirates, ushering in long-lasting peace in the Middle East, and then on to China.

I'm not going to try to pass this off as high-brow literature. This will not be an Oprah Book Club Selection. What it is is an hilarious book that's for those looking for an enjoyable time, and who aren't self-conscious about making a scene while reading.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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