Following up his hilarious fiction debut, 2001's Big Trouble, Dave Barry delivers another Florida crime caper. This time around, an unsuspecting bunch of oddballs get swept into stormy waters on the casino cruise ship, Extravaganza of the Seas, when a drug deal goes wrong.

Barry includes something for everyone, deftly weaving in and out of the POVs of a slacker band of musicians, tired cocktail waitresses, an array of stupid and dangerous thugs, and best of all, two retirement home escapees looking for a night of fun (in fact, the sweet prison-break of Artie and Phil is worth the cover price alone). There's slapstick, there's murder, there's romance and even a dance number or two.

Though Barry amps up the violence in this novel (venturing into slightly grotesque territory reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen's twisted best), readers will be laughing out loud until the bloody end. (Oct., 256 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino