Dave Barry's special brand of book writing — outrageous plots, loony characters, susceptible quests, inert bad guys— are only plausible because of where they are set: Florida. The state is his comedy muse.
"Carl Hiaasen has the best quote about it: 'If you want to be a writer in South Florida, you don't need an imagination, you just need a subscription to the newspaper,'" says the author from his home in Coral Gables, Fla. "It is the weirdest place in the U.S."
Barry credits the state's heterogeneous nature for it's special brand of crazy. "You have all of these cultures bumping up on one another; just this incredible variety. And a lot of them arrive here solely to drink or take drugs or party. And when all of these people come together, they create this permanent cloud of weirdness."
And things definitely get weird in his first solo adult novel in more than a decade, "Insane City," out today. The screwball adventure follows Seth Weinstein, a hapless groom who has to handle not only his fiancee's over-the-top wedding arrangements but a Haitian refugee, a stripper and her pimp, an elite businessman, two dangerous bodyguards and one particularly randy orangutan, as well.
Barry says that he constantly juggles making his books nutty yet believable and in "Insane City" he found a reality check with Seth.
"Here is a guy who is stuck with a tough choice and he knows he has to make the right decision even though it might wreck his wedding," notes Barry. "What happens when all of this stuff happens to a guy who isn't a hero but just a normal guy? That is the serious engine to the plot."