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The Bobby Gold Stories Hardcover – May 13, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author Anthony Bourdain is a talented chef whose two previous thrillers (Bone in the Throat, Gone Bamboo) were seasoned with the kind of culinary details that delighted the Food Channel-loving fans of his successful nonfiction books. The foodies will slaver over a wonderfully wrought scene in his latest caper novel--it's set at a chic Manhattan restaurant where a gourmand gangster with a picky palate turns the chef's menu upside down and stiffs the poor waiter who has to accommodate him. But the rest of this otherwise slight and unseasoned novel doesn't live up to that wonderful appetizer. Its protagonist is Bobby Gold, an ex-con who works as a security guard at Eddie Fish's Nightclub and is involved with a sexy sous-chef named Nikki whose preparation of a special meal for her lover reads like Bourdain's version of foreplay. But when Nikki rips off the restaurant receipts and Bobby gets on the wrong side of a mob plan to kill Eddie's appetite for good while recouping the money, Bourdain's plotting goes sour and the ending fails to satisfy. Still, it's a nice side dish to go with a good cookbook, or even one of the author's zany true stories of what goes on behind the swinging doors of many real-life restaurants (Kitchen Confidential, A Cook's Tour). --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

With the same explosive energy and irreverent humor with which he described the behind-the-scenes affairs of the restaurant industry in Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain revisits some of the themes that made him famous: passion, food and violence. The novel (Bourdain's third, after Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo) tells the story of Bobby Gold, probably the world's most unlikely gangster. A nice Jewish pre-med student implicated in a drug deal gone bad, Bobby goes to prison for 10 years and emerges with an entirely different set of uses for his knowledge of anatomy. Once released, he goes to work for his old friend Eddie Fish, a mobster turned nightclub owner, and falls in love with Nikki, a boisterous sous-chef with dangerous ambitions. Bobby and Nikki get involved in a botched robbery, forcing both to run for their lives. Their seedy shenanigans are wittily chronicled by Bourdain, in his nouveau hard-boiled prose ("'You want truffle jiz? Get your own truffle jiz, cabron' "). In one memorable set piece, Bobby engages in multiple pages of rueful conversation with an old fish wholesaler who's late on a payment to Eddie and knows he's about to be worked over (" `I get to pick the arm?' `Sure,' said Bobby. `Your choice. You pick it' "). Readers will once again be delighted by Bourdain's charming, rugged sensibility, like a modern-day Damon Runyon, and his gourmet blend of wit, suspense and style.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582342334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582342337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chef, author, and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world's most exotic dishes on his hit TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. Somewhat notoriously, he has established himself as a professional gadfly, bête noir, advocate, social critic, and pork enthusiast, recognized for his caustic sense of humor worldwide. He is as unsparing of those things he hates, as he is evangelical about his passions.

The "chef-at-large" at New York's famed Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain is the author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a candid, hysterical, and sometimes shocking portrait of life in restaurant kitchens that has been translated into more than 28 languages - as well as the travel journal, A Cook's Tour, 3 crime novels, a cookbook, a biography of Typhoid Mary, the bestselling graphic novel Get JIRO!, and others.

His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times of London, Bon Appetit, Gourmet and many other publications. He has shared his insights about team building and crisis management with the Harvard Business Review. He has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning and Nightline, and has been a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Morning Joe, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Bourdain joined the writing staff of HBO's Treme in 2011, contributing to the popular drama's restaurant storylines. He recently launched his own publishing line with Ecco, Anthony Bourdain Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. His first titles will be released in early 2013.

No Reservations, widely popular all over the world, has won two Emmy Awards, with several other nominations. 2013 will see the premiere of two new television shows hosted by Bourdain: The Taste, a cooking competition series for ABC with Nigella Lawson, and a travel docu-series for CNN.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was really excited when I started reading this book. The characters were fairly deep and well-developed, and the circumstances were at once amusing and understandable. And then I was halfway through the book and nothing had happened yet. Lo and behold, I finished the book, and still, nothing really happened. There is a rushed bit about robbing a restaurant and running from gangsters, but it all happens so fast that there is no time to really care. The writing is good, the characters are interesting, but this book should have been at least twice as long as it is. In its present form, it reads like a story from a talented writer who realized on Monday night that he had a dealine on Tuesday morning.
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Format: Hardcover
For those of you looking for more in the vein of 'Kitchen Confidential' or 'Cook's Tour,' you may want to skip to the next item on your To-Read list. Anthony Bourdain switches to his fiction hat in his latest outing - a brisk paced read written in minimalist brushstrokes chronicling the adventures of Bobby Gold a tough-as-nails, recently released ex-con who is smitten w/the fetching saute cook at a niteclub/restaurant that he works the security detail on. For fans of hard-boiled crime fiction, this book may leave you feeling a bit unsatisified as the narrative is somewhat lacking in painting pictures of grimy crime worlds, and ingenious criminial schemes, et al. But what Bourdain clearly excels at and ultimately makes this slim-read somewhat worth your while are the moments detailing the inner workings of restaurants and the capturing of colorful banter between chefs, cooks, doing their jobs and talking smack amongst each other.
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Format: Hardcover
I could not wait to get another book from Tony. However, this one seems to be missing something. I liked "Bone In the Throat" and felt that "Gone Bamboo" was good as well. This one, however, seems overwhelmingly simple in comparison. It does have Tony's wit and the food references and the mafia connection but not as many twists and turns as the other two books. We also miss out on the colorful scene descriptions. It's just too simple. If you haven't read Bourdain's fiction yet, start with the other two and then finish off with this one. Tony, I hope the Les Halles cookbook will be better.
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Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: A reader from Northampton, MA USA
I've read & relished Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential & A Cook's Tour. No, I did not expect the same from this, as it's obviously a hardboiled fiction. And no, I didn't expect or want some kind of sequel to his nonfiction books, to get that out of the way.
I am also a fan of hardboiled crime fiction, of which James Ellroy is obviously the undisputed magus of our times. Frankly, I think it's shameful that Bourdain's editor didn't have the fortitude to send this thing back to him for more fleshing out. But that would take some serious attitude when Kitchen Confidential sold like a billion copies. It's a shame that the editor shirked his responsibilities on this one. Because what little there is of this book is good, inventive & compelling, in an elemental, hardboiled, Chandler or Jim Thompson way. Which is high praise. But this book reads more like the skeleton of a novel, a plot outline, a barebones treatment, even within the basic standards of this genre. You have to almost suspect it originated as a screenplay treatment. The hero, Bobby Gold, is a complete cipher, Ok, we get it, he's the strong silent type, but the character development is so threadbare that his only distinguishing characteristic is that he wears black all the time. The shards of something quite good are there, if you want to look. Maybe the Bobby Gold character can be built into a heavy dude with some backstory. There is one sinister establishing scene on Bobby Gold in here, but it's not nearly enough to flesh the thing out. A completely forced & arbitrary denoument only puts the skeletal remains of this novel in starker relief.
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Format: Hardcover
Too bad. I was hoping for a book as good as (or even better than) Bone In The Throat or Gone Bamboo. Instead he gives us some great characters, rushes them into interesting relationships, and then develops neither. There's no pay-off at the end when it could have gone so many different ways. Shame on you, bro!
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By A Customer on April 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Bourdain's other books and had a special liking for his "culinary gangster" stories. This novella reads like a first draft or outline for a similar story. It needs filling out. I was disappointed and felt that it was rushed through editing in order to capitolize on the author's current popularity. Sorry Tony.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know he is not going to ask me for any advice but if he did I would tell him to stick to the kitchen.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A short, but sweet novelette. Mr. Bourdain once again proves what an incredible wordsmith he is, as he weaves together the story of Bobby Gold, an enforcer for a low level mafia lieutenant, including a look at the dark & nasty bits of kitchen life at a popular club via Bobby's love interest, Nikki. A great read, this book quickly pulls into Bobby's world with interesting, well developed characters & diologue, and keeps your attention all the way through to the end. A definite must, not just for fans of Anthony Bourdain, but for fans of the mafia genre, and anyone who loves good literature.
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