Monday, June 24, 2013


You may know Anthony Bourdain from seeing his television series, No Reservations, or from reading his groundbreaking book "Kitchen Confidential," which opened our eyes to what goes on in restaurant kitchens.  Personally, I had no idea that he has also written books of fiction, including his first novel, "Bone in the Throat."   I was excited to read the book since the story takes place in a restaurant and I was curious how Bourdain would cover food and restaurant issues in the story.  This is what we're told on the back cover:

"All is not well at the Dreadnought Grill.  The chef's got a drug habit, the owner's been set up by the FBI and in the midst of this, Tommy, the sous-chef is just trying to do his job.  As depraved as it is hilarious, Anthony Bourdain's first novel is spiced with foul-mouthed Feds, drugged-up savvy and salty mob speak.  With a cast of unforgettables - like the hitman who covers himself with clingfilm to avoid leaving fingerprints - Bone in the Throat has a plot with more twists than a plate of spaghetti."

Unfortunately, on a number of fronts the book was disappointing.  First, the story line was thin and it appeared that the excessive verbiage was inserted to simply expand the book;  it would have made a better short story than a novel.  Second, the sections covering food topics simply didn't fit the flow of the story with long passages on everything from beurre blanc sauce, to details on a chef's coat, to a specially-ordered chef's knife.   I kept telling myself to go ahead and scan paragraphs rather than spending time reading the book but I kept hoping that things would pick up.  Third, there was very little tension in the story since the ending was entirely predictable after a few chapters.  Finally, the slang and cursing in the dialogue were monotonous.

Although this was a fast read, I cannot recommend that you spend any time reading this book.  Since this was Bourdain's first attempt at writing a novel, I am hopeful that his subsequent novels are better reads.

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