Picks and Pans Review: The Bobby Gold Stories

UPDATED 05/12/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/12/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Anthony Bourdain

Bobby Gold hates his day job. As an enforcer for a low-level Manhattan mobster, he gets paid to break people's arms, a task he performs with precision if not enthusiasm. Such is the bleak absurdity of this novel that after Bobby artfully shatters his uncle's arm, Bobby offers, "Let me get you a cab" to the hospital.

This is Bourdain's third novel but the first since his breakthrough work of nonfiction, 2000's Kitchen Confidential. That book was an unvarnished look at Bourdain's life as a chef. This time Bourdain trains his eye for seamy detail on a New York City nightclub, where Bobby moonlights as a security manager. He meets Nikki, a beautiful but lonely chef; when she whips him up some white truffle risotto, it's love at first bite.

Nikki sleeps around, drinks until she vomits and, apropos of nothing, announces, "I want to steal a lot of money and then retire to the beach." What follows is the climax of a slim volume, although it's not clear why we should care about this dysfunctional couple. Bourdain is a great observer, and his profane dialogue should come with a warning: This plate is hot. But the story is like a soufflé that fails to rise. (Bloomsbury, $19.95)

BOTTOM LINE: More sizzle than steak

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters