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Literature / Lunatics

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Lunatics is a 2012 comedy novel written by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel.

Phillip Horkman is a relatively pleasant nice guy who owns a pet store called The Wine Shop, and has more than a few Dogged Nice Guy tendencies. Jeffery Peckerman is a loud, rude, obnoxious slob with more than a few outdated beliefs. Thanks to a call of offsides during a peewee soccer game, Peckerman and Horkman's paths intertwine to the point they become international terrorists, freedom fighters, hijackers, and even guests of Donald Trump.

Tropes included in the novel:

  • Accidental Hero: Peckerman and Horkman. How else could you explain getting aid to Africa because Peckerman had the runs?
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Peckerman and Horkman chock up a lot of their escapes from the law and/or death to this.
  • Amoral Attorney: The Frickers. Sharisse is actually happy when her husband is thrown off the side of the cruise ship they're on.
  • Butt-Monkey: Philip Horkman, most of the time.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Donald Trump.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Whenever one of the two protagonists typically asks a question, they're told to either shut up or that they'll "know when you get there."
  • Deus ex Machina: Used intentionally throughout the book, and Played for Laughs each time.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Peckerman and Horkman, moreso with the latter.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Several times, the much more level-headed Horkman has to concede that Peckerman is right about something. Conversely, Peckerman silently notes a few points where Horkman was especially clever.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite all the heartbreak, frustration and outright absurdity, Peckerman and Horkman get off relatively scot-free from their ordeal, and even have their businesses expand because of their misadventures.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The entire plot could have been avoided if Horkman had not called Peckerman's daughter offsides in the peewee soccer game.
  • Groin Attack: An NYPD police officer is accidentally shot in the groin by Peckerman, while said officer was flying a helicopter.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Boy, does it ever.
  • Honor Before Reason: Horkman. He even tries to help a pirate who just tried to kill him.
  • Karma Houdini: Sharisse Fricker. She threatens a ship captain with a fake bomb scare, flees to Central America, and eventually gets an investment in the Panama Canal.
  • La Résistance: Peckerman and Horkman run into one in Cuba.
  • Lovable Coward: Peckerman. He constantly tries to ditch Horkman or even get him killed, but at least is smart enough to see what's going on in front of him.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Sue and Arnie Kogen, two old folks who have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, end up arrested because Peckerman set them up to have a gun, and die in jail.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Peckerman ends up in jail for life after what he did at the second soccer game between him and Horkman.
  • Take That!: To Donald Trump and NBC Nightly News.