Thursday 11 April 2019
DAVID GORDON - THE BOUNCER (2018)
In David Gordon's diabolically imaginative new thriller, The Bouncer, nothing and no one is as expected--from a vial of yellow fragrance to a gangster who moonlights in women's clothes.
Joe Brody is just your average Dostoevsky-reading, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer who has a highly classified military history and whose best friend from Catholic school happens to be head mafioso Gio Caprisi. FBI agent Donna Zamora, the best shot in her class at Quantico, is a single mother stuck at a desk manning the hotline. Their storylines intersect over a tip from a cokehead that leads to a crackdown on Gio's strip joint in Queens and Joe's arrest--just one piece of a city-wide sweep aimed at flushing out anyone who might have a lead on the various terrorists whose photos are hanging on the wall under Most Wanted. Outside the jailhouse, the Fed and the bouncer lock eyes, as Gordon launches them both headlong into a nonstop plot that goes from back-road gun show intervention to high-stakes perfume heist and manages to touch everyone from the CIA to the Flushing Triads. Beneath it all lurks a sinister criminal mastermind whose manipulations could cause chaos on a massively violent scale.
For readers who like a heavy dose of fun with their murder, this is crime fiction at its freshest, from a virtuoso of the "darkly comic, stylish literary thriller" (Associated Press).
After a slow "uh-oh what am I in for here" start, I enjoyed this one.
Quite a bit to like - heists, robberies - I'm a fan and there's a few here. I do like the recruitment, the planning and the execution of robberies, with the inevitable mishaps, bumps and wrong turns that occur.
Another plus point - chemistry ...... fleeting connections and crossing of paths of two of the main characters - the bouncer, Joe Brody and an FBI agent, Donna Zamora. She tries to look into his background and gets red-flagged which brings her ex-husband - a CIA agent sniffing around. They encounter each other more than once during the course of this book.
Double crosses, betrayals, informers, conspiracies, gun freaks, a military past, a feisty grandmother, a Russian gymnast-cum-stripper-cum-robber-cum trusted ally, a mob type with a predilection for getting disciplined, a suspicious wife, a terrorist plot, a perfume but not perfume robbery, a falling out amongst criminals and more.
One aspect of the plot didn't quite work for me with one of the characters only seeming to add a bit of padding to the book and serving as a vehicle to get us some background information on Joe and support the element of the story that I didn't quite believe in. I kind of got bored whenever he was around, which fortunately during the latter half of the book wasn't too often.
Overall - after an iffy beginning, not too bad. I enjoyed spending time in the company of Brody and I liked the scenes with Donna. There's a second book featuring Brody - The Hard Stuff out this year which I'll read and I'm hoping she makes a reappearance.
3.5 from 5
Read - April, 2019
Published - 2018
Page count - 224
Source - Net Galley
Format - kindle