Dave Barry’s new novel, Swamp Story, should come with a warning label: Danger. Do not read in area where explosive laughter is not permitted. Fans of Barry’s will be pleased to hear that this is possibly the best thing he’s ever written. Readers new to Barry will want to read more. This book will be available to the public May 2, 2023.
My thanks go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the invitation to read and review.
Our protagonist is Jesse, a lovely person that has made a huge mistake. She feel hard for Slater, a young man with a smokin’ hot body, a limited brain, and a solipsistic world view. Now she’s stuck in a cabin in the Everglades with him and his camera wielding buddy Kark, and oh yes—their baby, Willa; not to mention all of the flora and fauna that live here:
“Kark! You need to get this!”
“What?” said a voice, as hoarse as Slater’s, maybe hoarser.
“Big fucking snake,” said Slater. “I mean big.”
The snake slid forward another two feet, directly toward Jesse and Willa. Jesse saw that she now no longer had the option of even trying to run past it.
“Slater!” she said, trying to keep the panic out of her voice, not wanting Willa to pick up on it.
Slater held up his hands in a Calm down gesture.
“It’s cool,” he said. “This’ll be good. Good footage.”
“Good footage?” said Jesse. “Are you—”
“Goddammit, Kark,” yelled Slater, “get the camera out here!”
“OKOKOK,” said Kark, emerging from the cabin, holding the video camera. ” Fuck. The battery’s dead.”
Things appear to improve for Jesse when she stumbles across a cache of gold bars hidden in the glades, but this proves to be a mixed blessing, as some truly bad men learn of her good fortune and seek to take it from her, using any means necessary. However, the first such men, Billy and Duck, are not only evil, but also hilariously bumbling at times. And then, of course, there are the others.
Meanwhile, the owner of Bartle Brothers Bait and Beer decides to give his languishing business a shot in the arm by manufacturing an internet hoax. The Everglades Melon Monster is a sketchy, low budget creation whose star is an inebriated fellow wearing a Dora the Explorer head, and yet, somehow it works. Now it seems that everyone is descending on the Everglades, and almost every person that arrives is “batshit crazy.”
I’m not telling you how this thing ends; you’ll need the book for that. Don’t wait for the movie. You can thank me later! As for me, I’m off to order a Bartle Brothers Bait and Beer tee shirt.