Tricky Business: Lance's Thoughs
This was without a doubt one of the funniest books I've ever read. With the exception of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series I don't think I've ever laughed out loud while reading a book. Dave Berry creates so many great characters and touches on so many, real life, funny situations that you just can't help but love this book. You've got such a wide range of characters that I can't help but think no matter who you are you can relate to at least one or two of them and likely laugh at and enjoy the rest. I think Arnie and Phil were my favourites; the Senile Old Fart Dieing Centre was about the funniest thing I've ever read.

The layout of the book was a lot of fun for me too. Berry introduces his colourful cast of characters one at a time and I laughed and enjoyed each in turn. It also didn't take long to realize they were all going to cross paths aboard the Extravaganza of the Seas, and my anticipation mounted with each new character. Once everyone was aboard it was clear that bedlam and pandemonium would ensue, and Berry did not disappoint. I also loved seeing the ship from each person's individual point of view. As each character crossed paths it was fun to know the whole story while watching them deal with the events of the evening based solely on their own small grain of knowledge of what was really happening. I popped every time the naked Jock ran through someone else's story. I'd be all wrapped up in the gunfight between Tark and Kaz then out of the blue here came naked Jock, knocking poor Kaz back into the ocean.

The ending was a lot of fun too. Going into detail and showing everyone's story would have taken too long and dragged out the events after the exciting evening, aboard the Extravaganza of the Seas. It was much more enjoyable, at least for me, just to wrap up where everyone ended up after the dust settled. I enjoyed each character so much that I genuinely cared what happened to each person.

The only complaint I have, which isn't necessarily a knock on the book, is that I was really disappointed that Phil died in the end. I was genuinely saddened by his death. The fact that his death had so much effect on me is credit to Berry's writing, because I truly loved that old fart.

I don't know what more I can say about Tricky Business. Real life is often very shitty, there aren't near enough fun things in the world today; thanks now to Dave Berry there is at least one more. I will definitely be checking out more of his work in future. Thanks Dave, you did more than entertain me with your book, you made me smile and laugh, you let me have fun, and for that I am grateful.

Lance Storm

Tricky Business: Dave Barry's Thoughs
Dear Lance:

First, thank you for picking Tricky Business for Book Marks. It's an honor, because you have a keen literary eye -- and I'm not saying that just because you could beat the crap out of me without bothering to stand up. Second, thanks to all the readers who offered reviews and critiques. You're a thoughtful and perceptive group. A lot of you said nice things, and I thank you for that -- especially those who mentioned my book in the same sentence with "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," by the late, great Douglas Adams. Of course some of you weren't so crazy about the book, but you expressed your criticisms thoughtfully and courteously, and I thank you for that. I'll respond generally to the comments, pro and con, by saying that my goal in writing this book was to entertain.

I know I'm not going to write the Great American Novel; I'm not even going to write the Great Miami Novel (my friend Carl Hiaasen does that). So what I look to do, in fiction, is create some characters who might be entertaining to watch, and put them into a situation that will allow them to interact in an entertaining and amusing way, leading to what I hope is a satisfying conclusion. I'm not out to teach any important life lessons, or raise your consciousness -- just to entertain you for a while. I tend to use fast-paced plots and lots of characters. I plead guilty to the criticism that these characters don't seem particularly deep. Hey, I'M not particularly deep. Anyway, thanks for reading the book and letting me know what you thought. And thanks again to Lance for including me in this fine forum.

Dave Barry