Anthony Bourdain writes fiction? What rock have I been under?!
“Bobby Gold is a lovable criminal. After nearly ten years in prison, he's no sooner out than he's back to work breaking bones for tough guys. His turf: the club scene and restaurant business. It's not that he enjoys the job-Bobby has real heart-but he's good at it, and a guy has to make a living. Things change when he meets Nikki, the cook at a club most definitely not in his territory. Smitten, he can't stay away. Bobby Gold has known trouble before, but with Nikki the sauté bitch in his life, things take a turn for life or death.”
I love Anthony Bourdain. Almost addicted to him really. I love how snarky he is. I’m a huge obsessed fan of his show, No Reservations. When I read A Cook’s Tour, I loved him more. His writing voice, is just like how he speaks. There’s no pretense with the guy. Imagine my glee when I found that he wrote a fiction book.
That being said, I have to say this book was just okay. Not great. Not bad. Just middle of the road. I have never really read a “tough guy”/mafia book before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I enjoyed how each chapter started with a description of what his main character (not hero. Not even anti-hero. That’s being generous) Bobby Gold is wearing and he is doing at that moment. It gave the different parts of the book a time frame and also a peek into who Bobby is. I know absolutely nothing about the restaurant/chef scene but to me, some of the happenings seemed a little blown out of proportion. But then again, this is a novel about tough guys doing tough guy things like breaking his uncle’s arm for not paying up, or beating a guy up for his boss who felt got robbed on a carburetor for his Jag.
To me, Bourdain’s fiction writing structure differs from his non-fiction (duh, of course) with short to the point sentences and images. It reminded me of some early Ernest Hemingway. No, I’m not saying Bourdain is the next Hemingway. I’m just saying that the structure is the same. However, Bourdian's writing voice is still the same. Honest and to the point. But, this kind of writing has its short comings. I felt that there was no emotional connection. I liked reading it, but I just couldn’t connect with Bobby Gold. I mean, he’s a thug, true, but I should still be able to get behind him or even Nikki (who, by the way, is a total bitch). I really wanted to root for him. And I almost did when he found out his best friend and boss, the man he’s been beating and killing people for, was the one who turned him into the cops for transporting drugs, which got Bobby his 10 year prison sentence. I was hoping Bobby was going to kill the little prick, but alas no. Damn.
Would I recommend this book? Only to hardcore Anthony Bourdain fans and those who like novels about “tough guys.” Will I read another Anthony Bourdain novel? More than likely, because well, like I said, I love Anthony Bourdain.