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Gone Bamboo Paperback – September 18, 2000
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From Kirkus Reviews
For his second course, Bourdain, novelist (Bone in the Throat, 1995) and chef (at Sullivan's, in Manhattan), dishes up a sorry, soggy mess of a stew in which a good-hearted hit man finds himself on the spot with both mob chieftains and law-enforcement agencies. Hired by an ambitious cross-dressing mafioso named Pazz Calabrese to eliminate his two immediate superiors, Henry Denard dispatches one but only wounds the other, D'Andrea (Donnie Wicks) Balistierian aging capo di tutti capi in New York. After returning to Saint Martin, the idyllic West Indian haven he calls home, the hired gun (a decorated Vietnam vet who went on to work for the CIA) learns his wounded target has turned informant and will testify against former partners in crime. What's more, an accommodating interpretation of the Witness Protection Act allows Donnie Wicks (and a small army of US marshals) to take up residence on Saint Martin. Concerned that he and his hardcase wife Frances may have to find another place to live, Henry talks his way inside the former don's compound for a meet. Not to worry, the elderly outlaw has the nothing-personal aspect of gangdom's business down pat, and he soon takes a shine to the professional killer as well as to his lovely, lethal lady. In the meantime, the expatriate godfather's former underlings mount a deadly campaign to silence him. In the wake of a furious assault on his island home (which costs six feds and a like number of Dominican nationals their lives), Donnie Wicks (now under the protection of venal French officials) is reported dead. As a favor to the American authorities cheated of a show trial, Henry heads north to waste the kinky Calabrese and his top lieutenants with a light anti-tank weapon on a New Jersey construction site. At the close, he's drinking and living it up with Frances and Donnie Wicks at his Caribbean hideaway. In the parlance of cuisine: tripe. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Bourdain establishes himself as a new master of the wiseass crime comedy." -- Publishers Weekly
"Bourdain serves up a delectable concoction sure to appeal..." -- Denver Post
Top customer reviews
I loved "Bone in the Throat," and was delighted to find major characters re-appearing in "Gone Bamboo." I read it in an afternoon, and heck! I didn't think it was too hardboiled. In fact,I did cry in a couple of places. Like Elmore Leonard, Bourdain knows how to write dialogue. He also knows how to create characters, and write a pageturning plot. The sense of place, in this case St. Martin, is done so well that I could feel the sand between my toes, smell the barbecue shacks and want to run to the fidge hoping to find a bottle of Red Stripe.
Bourdain has a nice touch especially with creating strong female characters. Frances, the female protagonist, is now my idol and role model.