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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sharper-than-a-rotary slicer crime novel, 22 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Bone in the Throat (Paperback)
I was a bit sceptical as to how good a crime novel by a professional chef would be. After all, hasn't Anthony Bourdain already got a successful career working in NY restaurants that are undoubtedly way to chi chi for the likes of me. But now I can't wait to get my hands on everything he's written. This snappy tale of chefs, wiseguys, dopers and bungling cops just grabs you right from the start: a gruesome prologue in which a horribly mutilated body is washed up on a New Jersey beach, and attracts the attention of not only a contingent of NY detectives but also the FBI, the US Attorney's office, a trio of Washington pathologists and a nervous local reporter. Who is he and why is he such a law enforcement magnet? Most of the book takes place in and around The Dreadnaught Grill on Spring Street, New York City. The cast of characters includes a doper chef with a $450 customised Japanese kitchen knife; his sous chef Tommy who's desperately trying to make a career for himself as a professional chef; Tommy's uncle Salvatore "Sally Wig" Pitera (nuff said); Harvey the sleazy onetime dentist turned restaurateur; Charlie Wagons the bathrobe-clad big cheese; Danny Testa the muscle with brains; US Attorney Raymond Sullivan and his (flash) man on the street Al; disorganised Detectives Dudziak and Rizzo; Cheryl the gorgeous waitress; and The Count, a tv has-been and tacky restaurant owner. The plot - well, Tommy just wants to be a chef but his uncle Sally's criminal activities keep trying to suck him into the wiseguy life; the chef really wants to kick his habit but the cops are holding a possession charge on him and making him their snitch; Harvey is playing for both sides and is buckling under the pressure that both Al and Sally are exerting on him; Sullivan just wants a big bust to boost his career; and Charlie Wagons, well, will he go down or hold on to his top dog position? It all moves along at a cracking pace and keeps you guessing pretty much to the end. The characters ring true, and Bourdain's ear for dialogue sounds like he's spent time around characters like these (even if he hasn't). Hard boiled, graphic, raw, well done, rare, tough - all cooking and crime related epithets apply. Is there no end to this man's talents? Please sir, can I have some more?
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A Customer