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Bone in the Throat [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Bourdain
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When up-and-coming chef Tommy Pagana settles for a less than glamorous stint at his uncle's restaurant in Manhattan's Little Italy, he unwittingly finds himself a partner in big-time crime. And when the mob decides to use the kitchen for a murder, nothing Tommy learned in cooking school has prepared him for what happens next. With the FBI on one side, and his eccentric wise guy superiors on the other, Tommy has to struggle to do right by his conscience, and to avoid getting killed in the meantime.

In the vein of Prizzi's Honor, Bone in the Throat is a thrilling Mafia caper laced with entertaining characters and wry humor. This first novel is a must-have for fans of Anthony Bourdain's nonfiction.

"A prodigiously self-assured first novel. . . the author's comic vision goes beyond original. It is deliciously depraved."-The New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First-time author Bourdain presents a savory portion of gangster tartare spiced with salty mobspeak, coked-up chefs, wild entrepreneurs and foul-mouthed feds, served up in the colorful ambience of Manhattan's Little Italy. The FBI is using a former dentist to open and run a restaurant in a sting operation designed to catch 280-pound loan shark "Sally Wig" Patera-a crazed mafioso assigned to do the Don's dirty work. The deluded dentist thinks he really runs the Dreadnaught Grill and blows FBI cash on dumb marketing schemes instead of paying Sally's dues and vig. Meanwhile, Sally's nephew, Tommy Pagano, sous chef at the Dreadnaught, who loathes both his uncle and mob life, still feels loyal to the Family and so gives Sally after-hours use of the kitchen to "talk some business." But Tommy isn't happy when Sally and Skinny di Milito-who strips naked before his hits to cut down on blood-spatter cleanup-kill a fellow mobster and cut up the body with the chef's knife. Though the FBI pressures Tommy hard to sell out his uncle, he stays loyal, at least until the restaurant, the chef and his cooking career are threatened by Sally and Skinny, pushing him into unexpected action. The cast of this dark-humored, street-smart novel romps through Greenwich Village and Little Italy on a testosterone high in a perfect sendup of macho mobsters and feebs alike, while the kitchen antics reveal a real love for-and knowledge of-cooking, including a mouth-watering recipe for Portuguese Seafood Chowder, complete with squid, lobster, swordfish and cherrystone clams. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Bourdain's tongue-in-cheek wiseguy novel features an up-and-coming young chef who owes his position in a New York restaurant to his uncle, a Mob collector^-hit man who has loaned a considerable sum to the restaurant owner. Mobster Sal the Wig and Tommy, the sous-chef, are both unaware that state and federal agents have set up the owner, Harvey, as a plant to uncover extortion, murder, and whatever other criminal activities occur in Harvey's presence or the eaterie. The combination of fine food and sordid slayings makes an irresistible novel, but perhaps not one to savor while dining. Denise Perry Donavin

Product Details

  • File Size: 1210 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was surprised October 3, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was surprised at how the book held my interest. Although I really enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, I somehow thought Bourdain's writing ability might not cross over to fiction. This isn't a mystery at all; it might be better to call it crime fiction. His writing is direct and understated, no hyperbole, no "creative writing" attempts. For instance when he describes sex he uses straightforward and understated rather than overdone language, and it is much more effective than more blowsy prose. I like his sentence structure and choice of words. I could see the action and the characters very clearly in my mind while reading the book and didn't want to put it down. Warning though: this is pretty violent stuff.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw meat. April 25, 2001
Set in the Bronx and Brooklyn, this is a grisly and graphic story of mob murder, dismemberment, and torture, along with the businesses of protection, loansharking, and money laundering. Tommy Pagano, the sous-chef at a small restaurant, who was cared for as a child by his mob-connected uncle Sal Pitera, finds himself up to his prime rib in dangerous mob business when Sally wants payback. Sandwiched between bloodthirsty racketeers on one side and equally threatening and sinister investigators who want him to give up Sally and his "friends" on the other side, Tommy has more than ample reason to fear for his life.

Suspense and horror are leavened throughout by humor, which comes mainly from absurdities--a hitman standing naked while he dismembers a body in order to protect his clothes, a chef upset because someone used his kitchen knife instead of a boning knife, a mobster telling a hitman that his actions were "bush." This is primarily is a fast-paced story of murder and mayhem, with humor on the side and lots of insights into the restaurant business. Local color, realistic-sounding (and often funny) wise-guy dialogue, an engaging main character with whom we sympathize, and investigators who are sometimes as venal as the men they investigate will keep you reading well into the night. Mary Whipple
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Characters Abound in Fantastic Mafia Story September 25, 2000
Let's Face it the gangster genre needed some help. Not since Steve Thayer's "Saint Mudd" has there been a solid mafia based novel. I stumbled upon Anthony Bourdain's and found his first novel, "Bone in the Throat" full of vivid characters that jump off the page, a story line that was very tight and not watered down, which also has a good solid pace.
The story revolves around Tommy Pagano who after losing his father due to mob ties, decides to try something else. Tommy refuses his Uncle Sal's offer to join the family business and chases down his dream of becoming a famous chef. Tommy however lands a job as a sous-chef at a restaurant, which his Uncle does business at. Tommy ends up doing one (against his better judgment) for his uncle and quickly finds himself in the middle of an FBI investigation. Tommy's friends, mainly Chef Ricard find themselves being pinched for information. Tommy faces hard time, and if he talks he knows what will happen next.
To find out what happens I strongly recommend picking up "Bone in the Throat". It is a true treat for those who enjoy mafia fiction. Even those who don't will enjoy the colorful characters, awesome dialogue and fast paced story.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better get out of the kitchen October 1, 2001
We learn what a mise-en-place is and get a graphic description of cleaning a squid. As a matter of fact, we learn a lot about the restaurant business from purchasing to personnel to controlling cost. The author is a certified expert at this and the next time you go to a restaurant you probably look at it with different eyes (and leave a better tip).
But this book is supposed to be a mystery, and so it is - in a way. It is an absolutely hilarious sendup of small-time and small-brained mafia gangsters. From Sally the Wig to Charley Wagons to Skinny they act like the book tells them to: Got to follow the rules! No wonder it gets them into trouble. Only their methods of maiming and killing seems to be innovative.
This is a satire you don't want to miss.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars searingly funny July 25, 2001
Ok, I'll can the bad cooking humor. This is a fun, fast read -- good situations, great ear for language, nicely spiced (sorry) with sex and violence -- and available in paperback. And, as a bonus, if you read this after "Kitchen Confidential" (as I did) you can have fun picking out what bits were based on Bourdain's own sordid adventures. What are you waiting for?
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly entertaining. March 21, 2002
The best parts of the book are the semi-autobiographical elements which are probably lifted from the author's career as a chef. The convuluted plot includes dealings with the mafia, and ends pretty unsatisfactorily.
Where the author excels is entertaining the reader with tales about the sex, drugs, and criminal behavior, and he's only talking about the restaurant staff. He let's us in on the secrets behind how food is delivered to your table at dinner time.
For a better look behind the restaurant business, I recommend reading his non-fiction works Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Fun! July 25, 2003
Anthony Bourdain has struck gold with his venture into fiction writing. Bone in the Throat is a wonderfully delightful romp through the world of mobsters and food service, which Bourdain has done a masterful job of intertwining. Not being personally inclined to read much fiction, I read this based on the quality of Bourdain's non-fiction works, and was very pleased. I'm looking forward to reading his other fiction work, Gone Bamboo, and am anxiously hoping that he writes some more, be it fiction or non-fiction. This guy has got real talent!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by Selina Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Bourdain style of writing, which I adore. ...
Typical Bourdain style of writing, which I adore. He has a true grasp of the underworld/underbelly lingo and portrays his characters so realistically that you feel you... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Linda Carlson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story by Anthony Bourdain. He has a great way of letting you see inside his world.
Published 2 months ago by knight1wolf
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great addition to my library.
Published 3 months ago by Debra L. Cicchella
3.0 out of 5 stars There are too much of the gangsters mobs' activities than ...
There are too much of the gangsters mobs' activities than cooking involved. Surprised that Bourdain could write a friction without food related.
Published 4 months ago by AG
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyable New York restaurant mob story.
Published 5 months ago by Rick Tagg
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like his willingness to eat camel humps
His writing is imaginative. Just like his willingness to eat camel humps. Seriously, he captures the mafioso and takes you along for
a seedy ride.
Published 7 months ago by Connie S
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story!
amazing read anthony bourdain is a born author, and he can cook too! must read.
Published 7 months ago by Anton
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of insanity's by one unknown and Tony Bourdain!
Incredible running narrative. I was in awe of his imagination. What a great fiction writer. What amazed me was this Mr. Read more
Published 8 months ago by PJ Wilcox
3.0 out of 5 stars Gangsters
OK,but I am not a fan of gangster stories,held together well,but as I said not really interested in that world.
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
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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.

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