Putnam, Oct 2002, 24.95, 256pp.
Tropical Storm Hector is playing havoc in the waters near Miami Beach and most people are staying indoors rather than go on the roads or sail their boats in the dangerous ocean. The Extravaganza of the Sea is a cruise ship that goes out past the three-mile limit into international waters so the passengers can have an evening of gambling. It is going out on the night Hector hits because it has a scheduled rendezvous with another smaller boat based in the Bahamas to exchange money for drugs.
Arnold and Phil, two senior citizens who escaped from the Beaux Art senior center, just want to have some fun. Wally and his band, Johnny and the Contusions, have to sing for their supper. Fay, a single mother and cocktail waitress, has to work if she wants to keep her job that pays the bills. All these innocent people are caught up in the crossfire when some of the criminals try to double cross their partners in crime.
TRICKY BUSINESS sounds like a deadly serious crime thriller and in part, it is exactly that. However, it is also a hilarious comedy satirizing the worst things about cruise ships. Dave Barry (that Dave Barry) has a unique serio-comic voice that will appeal to readers who like Kinky Friedman as obviously the President does. The characters seen real as the innocents struggle with heroism just to stay alive.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner