Insane City

( 65 )

Overview

A dark comic masterpiece—the first solo adult novel in more than a decade from the Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times–bestselling author.

Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he’d survived it, and if that was ...

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Insane City

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Overview

A dark comic masterpiece—the first solo adult novel in more than a decade from the Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times–bestselling author.

Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he’d survived it, and if that was the worst of it, everything should be okay. Smooth sailing from now on.

Seth has absolutely no idea what he’s about to get into. In the next several hours, he and his friends will become embroiled with rioters, Russian gangsters, angry strippers, a pimp as big as the Death Star, a very desperate Haitian refugee on the run with her two children from some very bad men, and an eleven-foot albino Burmese python named Blossom. And there’re still two days to go before the wedding.

As it turns out, it’s not smooth sailing, it’s more like a trip on the Titanic. And the water below him is getting deeper every minute. By the end, amid gunfire, high-speed chases, and mayhem of the most unimaginable sort, violent men will fall, heroes will rise, and many lives will change.

Seth’s, not least of all.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Although Insane City creaks occasionally, it mostly lives up to the impressive Dave Barry standard of escapist fun.
Publishers Weekly
In Barry's very funny new novel, the destination wedding of a slacker protagonist and his beautiful lawyer fiancée goes haywire. Though Seth Weinstein tries to live up to Tina Clark's expectations, he's immediately thwarted. He's lost his suitcase, wedding ring, and Groom Posse before arriving, drunk, at the Miami hotel where he's to be married. His newly found companion, the fourth runnerup in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod competition, enlists her friend, who keeps a python as a pet, to help find the ring. The stripper that Seth didn't ask for greets him in his suite demanding payment. Seth goes in search of an ATM and returns, the next morning, with a nearly drowned Haitian woman and her children. The stripper's tab keeps climbing, and her pimp is unlikely to make a deal. Barry adds to the mix Tina's disapproving, social-climbing, billionaire parents and Seth's clueless mom and dad, complete with medicinal marijuana and matching tracksuits. Seth must also contend with an amorous orangutan and his soon-to-be-wife's family's bodyguards, one of whom has a grudge. None of the mayhem gets the better of Barry, whose sly observations, well-delineated characters, and intricate plotting mesh perfectly, even as the story reaches a frenetic dénouement aboard a pirate ship. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Barry fans will not be surprised by the plot twists in his first adult novel in over a decade. Of course, any reader who enjoys Barry’s humorous tours through southern Florida will not care one bit about the lack of surprise in this tale about a slacker groom in way over his head after he loses his custom-made wedding bands at a bachelor party gone awry. It is not exactly a spoiler alert to note that the marriage between impossibly gorgeous, successful, and spoiled Tina and Seth, whose marketing job consists of tweeting about the quality of feminine hygiene products from a variety of Twitter accounts, may not come off as planned.

Verdict Barry does here what he does best—creates a set of memorable and outlandish characters and places them in ever-increasing chaotic and hilarious set-pieces as they move toward an inevitable conclusion. Some scenes and characters work better than others (hired muscle stuck behind a coupon clipper at CVS, the father of the bride’s desire to join an elite secret organization known as the “group of six,” a jewelry-stealing orangutan with a fondness for Cheez-its), and which will stick with readers the most depends upon their own experiences. But die-hard Barry fans will savor his usual lunacy. [See Prepub Alert, 7/30/12.]—Julie Elliott, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Hangovers, bridesmaids, Haitian refugees and rogue primates run amok in Miami. Big, goofy comedy in the vein of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey doesn't come by as often as most readers would like and neither do straight-up novels by the likes of Barry (Lunatics, 2012, etc.). So, to have two entries by the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist in a single year is momentous. For this (nominally) adult-oriented novel, Barry returns to the broad strokes and over-the-top characters that marked early novels Big Trouble and Tricky Business. Seth Weinstein is a good-hearted, unambitious professional tweeter on the verge of marrying up to Tina Clark, a wealthy debutante whose affection for Seth is largely based on his sense of humor. Seth's "Groom Posse" has loaded up for his bachelor party with the traditional elements of booze, strippers and a complete lack of common sense, starting by stocking his baggage with sex toys. Back at the hotel, Tina and her sister Meghan work with wedding planners and try to reel in the Posse's antics while her father, a member of a secret cabal called The Group of Eleven, conspires to join the even more exclusive Group of Six. "So you're not bleeding from the head and hanging out with a Beyoncé look-alike and a Jerry Springer bouncer carrying a large snake?" Tina asks--it's one of those weekends. Despite the adult content, Barry keeps the humor good-naturedly bawdy while simultaneously throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. While the Groom Posse are standard fare from every bachelor-party film you've ever seen, the supporting cast is inspired insanity. Among the subjects of Barry's whacked-out character studies are Hot Bod competitor Cyndi, who takes a shine to Seth; wedding planner Blaze Gear, with assistants Traci and Tracee in tow; an angry, expensive stripper and her gargantuan pimp; a Haitian family on the run; and a rogue orangutan named Trevor. Yes, really. Utterly familiar but funny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399158681
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 643,404
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry

Dave Barry’s bestsellers include his Peter Pan prequels, written with Ridley Pearson; I’ll Mature When I’m Dead; and Lunatics, written with Alan Zweibel.  He is also the author of the two dark comic suspense novels Big Trouble and Tricky Business. A play based on his first Peter Pan book, Peter and the Starcatchers, is currently a hit on Broadway. He lives in Coral Gables, Florida.

Biography

In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

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    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 3, 2013

    Read this book in one sitting. Hilarious. Could not put it down.

    Read this book in one sitting. Hilarious. Could not put it down. As a one time resident of South Florida I just loved it. So glad for this book Dave Barry. Thank You. More more more more please.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I didn't like it, I LOVED it

    Dave Barry has followed up his hilarious "Lunatics" with yet another highly entertaining epic. Filled with a widely diverse cast of characters, all of whom are thrown together to complicate an impending wedding, Barry leads us in a series of adventures on land and sea. I was crazy about this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A laugh on every page

    I love this book as much as I did Lunatics. Truly hysterical. Love the characters. Just when you think things have gotten so crazy something else happen it makes it even better. Let's just say a wedding weekend in Miami what's a miss matched couple, their family, marijuana brownies, a ring stealing orangatan, the Haitian lady and kids, a stripper and her boyfriend and many more characters. What could go wrong!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Fabulous book

    Let's put it this way: Dave Barry deserves his Pulitzer Prize. I don't know how he comes up with his fantastically funny and convoluted plots but his fiction is fantastic. Read this in one sitting through the night because I could not stop reading. Ten stars!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Hilarious!

    Congrats to Dave Barry - this effort is fast paced, hard to put down and funny! If you are from South Florida you will love this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Fun read, especially from the point of view of a Miamian.

    Fun read, especially from the point of view of a Miamian.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    5.0 out of 5 stars Miami Heat, January 30, 2013By Eric Smith - S

    5.0 out of 5 stars Miami Heat, January 30, 2013By Eric Smith - See all my reviews(REAL NAME)   

    This review is from: Insane City (Hardcover)Yes more books about our huge, Latin dominant cities - the mixed cultures - these make interesting stories. I always like Barry's approach. He understands the complexity and vying interests of the city. He brings humor to seriousness. It reminds me of the crime novel about San Antonio - No One Blames San Antonio for the Civil War.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    There is no point in approaching this novel worrying about a plo

    There is no point in approaching this novel worrying about a plot: it’s just an old-fashioned romp.

    Ne’er-do-well Seth Weinstein for some reason is about to be married to the gorgeous, successful Tina Clark, high-powered Washington attorney, daughter of billionaire Mike Clark. The wedding is to take place at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne. So much for the story.

    The rest of the book is a series of mishaps, compounded by amusing incidents complicating the wedding event and personal relationships. The author means to keep the reader laughing minute after minute, and often succeeds. Great literature it is not intended to be, just a very amusing read. And so it is.

    Recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Typical Dave Barry

    Fast moving and hilarious. Dave Barry has not lost his touch.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend

    It was a fun and exciting story. I was waiting for Serge and Coleman to show up but I'm sure they were somewhere in the background.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Dave is getting better

    A way to explore an interesting mind

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    I generally really enjoy Dave Barry. This one seemed like he too

    I generally really enjoy Dave Barry. This one seemed like he took the movie The Hangover, and changed it from Vegas to Florida. If I hadn't seen the movie, I would have thought it was funny.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Deepthorn #4 Biograhy

    The FIRST PART of name of me, frst, then the FIRST PART of my ma<_>tes name. There last clue (promis on me little cold heart.) (Ex; if mine were Sunstine & my ma<_>tes Freefall yiu'd type in Sun free.)
    <p> Congrats! You made your way here! Now go ind my REALLY INSANE (hint hint) CRAZY MIND-BLOWING biography. XD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    I will

    ;)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Insane Rper

    Okay let's check off a list. First off what time zone are you in (pacific is preferable). Are you available a lot this Saturday? Will you rp him the way I would like? You will agree to have him killed in what I want to do?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    I will

    XD

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Insane dead guy?

    Maybe

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Hilarious!!

    For those not familiar with the concept of a "fish story," you take a normal, mundane, maybe even boring event and keep adding details to make it bigger, more impressive, funnier, and unbelievable, all the while keeping it even remotely plausible!! That's what Dave Barry has done here with the upcoming marriage of Tina Clark; a young, upwardly mobile attorney and the daughter of one of Forbes' top 100 richest men, and Seth Weinstein, a schlep from the middle, middle class who barely graduated college with a marketing degree and who's current employment involves him Tweeting about douche!
    Seth has arrived in Miami a day early with his "Groom Posse" for the inevitable bachelor's party. Following in the footsteps of "The Hangover", things go downhill from there...quickly. Seth's involvement with a snake handler and his girl friend, a plus size stripper and her "manager", a young Haitian mother who washes ashore illegally at the Ritz-Carleton beach, and an orangutan named Trevor make for hilarious hijinks that is larger than life and yet remains (remotely) plausible!
    Insane City will have you laughing out loud so choose your reading locale carefully! If you like Carl Hiassen, you'll like Insane City (and vice versa)!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Escape with Laughter

    I laughed out loud reading this book. I read to escape and it took me to a wonderful place!
    Couldn't wait to see how he was going to pull everything off!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Great

    Frist berry novel I,ve read. Wow! Can't wait to get to the next one.....p.s. beats the crap out of anything hiasin,s wrote in years

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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