Monday, May 07, 2012


Novels with titles like Lunatics draw me like a magnet. As I read one after another murder mystery, I begin to think I am a sociopath. Sort of like hypochondria, eh. Read about a disease, develop symptoms. Authors of fiction novels do research, not only about forensic sciences, how detectives work, but also about serial killers, their psych and so on. As co-author of Lunatics, Dave Barry would say: I'm not making this up. Often the authors credit the sources of their research.

I have also done a lot of non-fiction reading about the psych, mental disorders and such, so can see the ring of truth in fiction. The only thing I have killed is bugs; never into torture of small animals or starting fires; no disciplinary problems in school. It is the other descriptions of sociopaths that concern me. Preferring to be alone; antisocial; do not like interacting with people; a rage inside, sometimes acted on the outside.

That has nothing to do with the novel co-written by Barry and Alan Zweibel. I can not remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading. Smile out loud, at times, even when reading gruesome murder mysteries. Cops morbid sense of humor to lighten the atmosphere due to horrors they deal with daily. Some of the fictional cops and detectives display that humor during the novel causing the smiles.

The closest mention of homelessness in Lunatics was mention of a couple's volunteer work at a soup kitchen. A series of humorous mishaps force Philip Horkman and Jeffrey Peckerman into a partnership to the consternation of both. The two average Joe's suddenly find themselves fleeing the NYPD, bears, soldiers, revolutionaries and more. They are suspected of killing a couple of gangbangers, among other crimes they did not commit.

The pair, does however, move outside the law in an effort to escape detection until they can come up with a plan to clear their names. Their travels take them worldwide, unwittingly solving problems that plaque us. If only it were that easy in real life. Perhaps world issues hang heavy on the minds of Zweible and Barry, and they lighten the load through humor.

This book is not for any who is easily offended by foul language, and bathroom (or is that juvenile?) humor. Visualization of some of it was a tad bit too gross for me. Odd, that. I can read some really gruesome stuff in the murder mysteries and mainly remained detached from it; unaffected. Um...

Peckerman is a forensic plumber. He once went to D.C. to testify to a subcommittee about a bill he favored; it "...would have repealed the dumbass tree-hugger federal law that made everybody switch to these dumbass low-flow toilets that don't' work."

Operative words there: don't work. What good is a low flow toilet if one needs to flush it three times to do the job an old toilet would do in one?

If you do not mind foul language and a bit of teen grossness, do read Lunatics and get some chuckles.

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