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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Bone In The Throat
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on 12 April 2000
This is Bourdain's second novel and was actually released in his native USA way back in 1995, but this makes the book all the more impressive, mainly as it predates what one might consider to be the influences of its creation. What Bourdain has done with this book though is to combine the culinary with crime, and if that wasn't enough, it's filled with gangsters and black humour.
The FBI et al have allowed a con to avoid prison by working for them undercover. The con is placed in charge of a restaurant in which one of the employees, Tommy, has Mafia connections in the form of his uncle, Sally. The con is actually taking the restaurant seriously, but owes money to Sally. Tommy himself has no taste for the gangster lifestyle. The caper all kicks off when Sally forces Tommy to do him a favour, the result of which, quite obviously, is a murder.
It's kind of like reading a cross between The Sopranos and Ready Steady Cook, and the tone constantly swings from a blunt grimness to pathetic farce and back again. It's hard to know whether to laugh or not, but this shouldn't necessarily be seen as a criticism. The humour itself feels like a more subtle Tom Holt, or a slightly less than inspired Tom Sharpe (and that's still a compliment).
Although Sally would fit comfortably into almost any modern gangster film, Tommy is a little too unexciting to make you really feel for him. On the other, the fact that there isn't a single 'nice' character in the whole novel helps provide a realistic grounding for the book's bizarre events: "...a hit-man clad only in cling film..." which can be found in the blurb on the back.
'Bone In The Throat' is hardly a modern classic, but there are only really two things that let the book down. Firstly, as true-to-life as swearing is, Bourdain has a tendency to get carried away and the result is a lot of weary dialog. The other criticism is that because he's a real life chef, he puts far too much emphasis on the processes of cooking and preparation and the like - a whole chapter is devoted to Tommy's culinary skills as he prepares a few things from a tediously long list. These tedious insights belong in a cookbook for they lend nothing towards either character or story development.
Nevertheless, this is a well written and entertaining novel that will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end. You don't even have to be a fan of crime novels!
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on 20 January 2018
Chef,presenter,author, what else ?
I am so confused, this guy is brilliant at it all, I have followed him on tv, but this is the first book of his i have read, it should be made into a film, I loved each and every cheffing page of it.
Please sir, can I have some more !?
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on 22 October 2010
I went for this book because I like Bourdain as a food writer but hadn't read any of his fiction.
As you would expect from someone who wasn't originally a fiction writer the dialogues is simple and the narrative is very easy to follow. This is a positive if you are looking for an entertaining holiday read or a quick gangster fix.
The mob characters, their practices and their dialogue is heavily borrowed from well known films and books. Bourdain has clearly got a love for the Godfather, Donnie Brasco and the like.
Again this isn't a bad thing because that is the way we want mobsters to behave in books.
I don't feel the gastronomy element of the book is too heavy because I knew what to expect and am involved in it in my career.
Overall a very easy and entertaining read; excellent for short holidays - when finished I left my copy in the hotel room.
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on 11 September 2001
Anthony Bourdain's first novel is a fresh take on the New York gangster novel. He draws on his own experiences as a chef, memorably described in Kitchen Confidential, to create engaging characters and some superb dialogue. The story of how Tommy, a young sous-chef, becomes entangled with some pretty unpleasant low lifes is funny and sometimes chilling. Sex, violence and some great food; all you need really.
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on 3 January 2017
Very well written novel The Wire meets Masterchef

Anthony Bourdains characters bristle with life and the menu sounds EXCELLENT. Highly recommended
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on 27 July 2003
This book was a real treat. It made me laugh out loud - funny, violent, bloody, and, incidentally, very well-written. I have now ordered almost everything this man has written and recommended him to all my friends. The author's background as a chef is used to great effect and will no doubt bring a wry smile of recognition from everyone who has any experience of the catering industry. Enjoy.
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on 1 October 2008
Don't get me wrong, this isn't in any way a master piece, but it's a very enjoyable book. If you are a Chef or involved in the industry this is a gangster story set in your world with knowing nods to the trade. Very easy reading but worth a go if you like Bourdains' writing.
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