Lunatics is the story of two men bound together by the forces of fate, a mutual dislike for each other, and soccer. Author Alan Zweibel is the voice of Philip Horkman, who is a syrupy, overwhelmingly politically correct pet shop owner and occasional referee for a 10-year-olds’ soccer league. Dave Barry’s Jeffrey Peckerman is an obnoxious, egotistical, and self-centered plumber whose daughter was called offsides in a game officiated by Horkman. Peckerman confronts Horkman, and the two begin a wild chase from New Jersey into New York City where their actions cause the police to believe they might be terrorists. They stow onto a cruise ship and begin a voyage which will thrust them into separate conflicts involving Cuba, China, Mogadishu, Israel, and Palestine.
Their unintentional intervention into world events turns them from wanted criminals into cult heroes in a matter of weeks. An eventual loss in a run for the Presidency ends their brief period of fame, and both characters return home to try and restore themselves to their former lives. At the end of the book, we find Peckerman going to an eleven-year-olds’ soccer game that his daughter is playing in. Peckerman will not like the referee.
I’m a fan of authors reading their own works. I think they can add nuance to their characters that a hired reader may not impart. In Lunatics, Barry and Zweibel punctuate each syllable with gusto. A great book for a long car ride.