There's something about the Mafia and food, a not altogether
strange connection between wiseguys and restaurants. Where would
the Godfather saga be without the scene in which Michael takes care
of that family problem by serving up a hot lead aperitif in an
otherwise quiet little neighborhood eatery? Or consider that if
Tony Soprano isn't standing in front of the refrigerator stuffing
his face, he's meeting his cronies at some restaurant. Who knew
that whacking people could make a guy so hungry?
So, at least in the fictional world, food and restaurants play an
important role in organized crime. THE BOBBY GOLD STORIES, the
latest excursion into fiction by bestselling author and noted food
celebrity Anthony Bourdain, capitalizes on that connection by
offering up a concoction that mixes Bourdain's insights into
restaurant culture, his keen ear for street-seasoned dialogue, and
his ability to draw characters as colorful and pungent as a bowl of
Weighing in at under two hundred pages, THE BOBBY GOLD STORIES is
surprisingly rich. As the story opens, Bobby Gold, college boy gone
bad, is being arrested on a Florida highway for having a load of
South American marching powder in the trunk of his car. Bobby then
finds himself enrolled in the penitentiary, where he eventually
majors in the Darwinian art of beating the hell out of people
before they beat the hell out of him. After several years in
prison, Bobby is back out on the street --- older, wiser, and
considerably larger and more dangerous than when he went in.
Bobby reluctantly puts his hard-earned skills to work for his boss,
Eddie, a reasonably well-connected lower-echelon mob wannabe. In
his official capacity, Bobby is head of security for NiteKlub,
Eddie's Manhattan restaurant. Off the books, Bobby draws on his
pre-med knowledge of human anatomy while smacking around people who
have in some way inconvenienced the lugubrious Eddie.
But Bobby isn't as cold-blooded as you might think, and he's
frustrated by the unpleasant way he earns a living. He's not happy.
But just when the clouds are beginning to darken, he meets Nikki.
She's sexy, smart, as streetwise as Eddie, and a chef at NiteKlub.
But that kind of package doesn't come without strings.
THE BOBBY GOLD STORIES is the third work of fiction for Anthony
Bourdain, who has also written two works of nonfiction, including
the bestselling KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. Bourdain is very much at home
writing crime fiction. His sharp eye and sharper wit provide the
necessary mix of mirth and menace that mark the best of the genre.
If you're hungry for good crime fiction, spend an afternoon with
Bobby Gold. He'll show you a wild time.
Reviewed by Bob Rhubart on January 21, 2011
The Bobby Gold Stories