Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars
Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times bestselling author and actual Florida Man Dave Barry returns with a Florida caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.
Jesse Braddock is trapped in a tiny cabin deep in the Everglades with her infant daughter and her ex-boyfriend, a wannabe reality TV star who turned out to be a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. Broke and desperate for a way out, Jesse stumbles across a long-lost treasure, which could solve all her problems—if she can figure out how to keep it. The problem is, some very bad men are also looking for the treasure, and they know Jesse has it.
Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer has hatched a scheme to lure tourists to his failing store by making viral videos of the “Everglades Melon Monster.” The Monster is in fact an unemployed alcoholic newspaperman named Phil wearing a Dora the Explorer costume head. Incredibly, this plan actually works, inspiring a horde of TikTokers to swarm into the swamp in search of the monster at the same time villains are on the hunt for Jesse’s treasure. Amid this mayhem, a presidential hopeful arrives in the Everglades to start his campaign. Needless to say, it does not go as planned. In fact, nothing in this story goes as planned. This is, after all, Florida.
What a breath of fresh air and a major hoot to boot! I love it when I can get my hands on a Dave Barry book. So much fun you can’t put it down. I also knew this one had to be shared with the CE, so his review is below.
SOOO much to write about, it’d be easy to give away too much, but by the blurb you already know it is about Jesse Braddock and her treasure discovery. She is living in a tiny Everglades cabin with egocentric Slater, a pretty boy who is the father to her infant daughter Willa. Not bad enough she is stuck here with Slater, but now he’s taken in a cohort, Kark, also not large on brains or abilities.
Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is busy hatching another hair-brained scheme to lure tourists to the long-since failed business he inherited with his brother, Brad. Only Dave Barry could develop these misfit characters as they concoct yet another fantastic idea to make their millions. The idea is so stupid, so idiotic, that it’s sure to get shut down immediately by their buddy Stu but it seems Stu likes the idea. Ken is going to attract tourists by making a video of the “Everglades Melon Monster” and they already have someone in mind to play the melon monster.
Now it gets even more complicated: There are the bad guys out in the swamp looking for treasure and even worse guys looking for Jesse who found it. Hey, it’s Florida, the Everglades, the swamp, wild boars, alligators. Barry knows how to heap on the absurd with satirical bits of side-splitting observations, LOL analogies, and dialogue dead on to the character; the characters so real you want to either give them a hug or kick some behind. It quickly goes from crazy to wild and dangerous and hilariously tongue-in-cheek.
“That’s Buddy,” said Skeeter. “He’s my emotional support boar.”
This is a book loaded with twists, unique atmospherics, and an outrageously imaginative plot. Engaging, entertaining, and totally recommended. LOVED IT! 5 stars
Dumb and Dumber meet the Three Stooges in this slapstick adventure in the Florida Everglades. A struggling business; Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer is trying to drive business to their store. They devise a plan to create a viral video of a “swamp monster.”
Dave Barry is a classic writer who weaves average intellect with personal avarice and jealousy. Between enjoying various illegal substances and devising a script for their story, Ken’s prime motivator is cash flow. Almost losing the store, Ken and his cohorts decide there needs to be a swamp monster that is being investigated by them. The dialogue between these individuals is absolutely hilarious as well as idiotic. A few bucks is all that it takes to motivate the participants.
The plot thickens when a young beauty stumbles across some Civil War gold hidden in Everglades National Park. She is trying to dump the father of her child who turns out to be a real dirtbag. He has already blown through her inheritance and left her nearly barefoot and penniless.
Brad is another character. He is unable to put together a coherent thought when Jesse is around and has fallen head over heels for her. He helps with her daughter while she tries to get the treasure. She is not sure who she can trust.
The video goes viral with the first installment of the search for the swamp monster. I kept laughing as I waded through the antics of the head of the Department of the Interior, the local news agencies, and the instigators. Read and laugh along with this hilarious tale. 5 stars – CE Williams
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from #Simon&Schuster and the author through @NetGalley that in no way influenced either review. These are our honest thoughts.
Definitely a #nottobemissed novel releasing next year, currently on pre-order, and our recommendation for a book that is engaging and humorously entertaining.
Genre: Dark Humor, General Humorous Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
The Author: The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry “the funniest man in America.” But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn’t much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up.
Dave’s most recent books are “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland,” and “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.” His next book, “A Field Guide To The Jewish People,” which he co-wrote with his friends Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, will be published September 24. Dave is not Jewish, but Adam and Alan are, so it’s kosher.