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Bone in the Throat

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  3,407 ratings  ·  305 reviews
The acclaimed first novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Kitchen Confidential and host of Parts Unknown on CNN. A wildly funny, irreverent tale of murder, mayhem, and the mob.

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 crim
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 18th 2000 by Bloomsbury USA (first published June 6th 1995)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  3,407 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthony-bourdain
A lot of people don't know this, but Anthony Bourdain used to write fiction, most people are aware of him for his tv shows: A Cooks Tour, No Reservations and Layover along with his food writing and his 1 cookbook. However, before all of this, back when he was still the chef at Les Halles in New York City, he wrote 3 books of fiction. Sadly they did not sell well and only due to his later fame were they rediscovered. That's really too bad, because they're great.

This shouldn't come as a surprise,
Mursalin Mosaddeque
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a light read. And a great one.
I was watching the Sopranos and wanted to read a light novel involving the wise guys. I had seen Tony's tv shows and read his fantastic book, Kitchen Confidential. So, this book was exactly what I had hoped it would be.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I went into this with no expectations, but it turned out to be great fun. Snarky, funny and entertaining, just like his food books. But with murder most foul.

RIP, Mr. Bourdain.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
On the one hand, this novel reads like a caricature of The Godfather, like the fantasy of someone who has watched one too many Martin Scorsese movies. On the other hand, it is full of action, ribald dialogue, and asides about food that only a master chef could deliver. Not great literature--in that regard Bourdain is to Mario Puzo what Krispy Kreme is to fine French pastry, but you gotta admit, sometimes you'd really rather have a damned doughnut. ...more
Mandy Tanksley
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain. Having watched him compose beautiful stories through food and culture on his television shows, I knew he wouldn't disappoint me as a writer of fiction. His book "Bone in the Throat" was not as elegant and interesting as I had assumed it would be, but knowing Bourdain's taste for foul language and getting at the heart of a story helped me sink my teeth into this book. The story involves a group of mafia-types, police, and restaurant junkies who are playing a ga ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, this novel had too many characters. The main one(s) were not really developed effectively. I struggled to root for anyone. I knew that I was mean to root for the chef and the sous chef, but I just couldn't.

However, there is an excellent moment with a meat slicer that I found fun!

To be fair, this isn't my usual fare; I may be ill-equipped to judge.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Libris interruptus...I was traveling on my motorcycle to see a film at the Zurich Film Festival with this book in my jacket pocket, but when I arrived at the venue, the book was gone. I was about two-thirds of the way through the book at the time of its disappearance. I guess it is a testament to how little I was engaged with the story that I did not make a search for the book after it went missing.

The story was okay. The characters were okay. The writing was okay. Therefore my rating on the fi
Sep 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Even before he was big-time, Mr. Tony had a real clarity of voice and tone that help this novel cohesive and kept me reading. He does a nice job of rotating chapters through the eyes of many characters without getting bogged down by the variety; each chapter also advances the admittedly thin plot. I would've enjoyed more mystery and less novel, the ending was a foregone conclusion, though he did build some nice suspense especially during the face-in-the-meat-slicer scene, which was particularly ...more
Bob Schnell
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
In 1995, just as he was starting to get attention, Anthony Bourdain wrote this paean to NY mob fiction with a culinary twist. "Bone in the Throat" doesn't cover any new ground in the story line, but the detailed restaurant/kitchen background makes it seem fresh. And you can't help hearing Bourdain's distinctive voice narrating. Plenty of New York landmarks (some no longer in existence) get a nod and anyone who was gallivanting around the West Village in the 1990's will be sure to get a bit nosta ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Touted as a snarky mystery, this really is just fiction, almost more of a character study. This is one book I had to make myself finish. I had a hard time keeping track of the characters ("who is this guy again?") until late in the book because few were fleshed out enough to stick with me. ...more
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
An okay read, definitely not as good as his nonfiction
May 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: babble-added
as advertised, a good beach towel skimmer
Randell Green
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it, but Bourdain is better on tv than in the fiction section. 📚
Drew Penhale
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of both Bourdain's television persona and his non-fiction work, I went into this with high hopes. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed. I haven't read much crime fiction in the past, mainly due to lack of interest. This book, however, had me hooked from the prologue. Bourdain had a true talent for painting a picture with his words. This could very easily be translated into a script for film or television. The characters have heart and feel real. The story is full of twists and t ...more
Jeff Mauch
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
While I was/am a huge fan of Bourdain the travel writer and television host, I expected this delving into fiction to be average at best. While the story itself was pretty good, the dialogue between characters was rough. The characters were stereotypical especially the cops and mobsters to the point of being caricatures with everything being embellished to the nth degree. It's clear the main chef character is largely based on Bourdain, drug problem and all. Overall there is a solid plot here with ...more
Kiwi Carlisle
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This seems to have been Bourdain’s first book, a hard-boiled gangster/restaurant novel set in Little Italy. There are hints there of the terrific writer he eventually became—black humor, ridiculous situations, and some convincing characters. However, it becomes clear to readers of Bourdain’s later work that the best characters and situations are largely straight out of his autobiography. Descriptions of food and food prep are lovingly done, and some of the horrors of the failing restaurant in wh ...more
Patti Shaughnessy
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently discovered the crime novels written by Anthony Bourdain. This was a really good one. Who knew he was such a good fiction writer! This one has a lot of details in the restaurant world which I enjoyed. It was an interesting story filled with crime, gangsters, drugs and food. I look forward to reading Bourdain's other fiction books. ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Rounded up to 3 stars. Goofy (gory) mafia story that serves as a vehicle for cooking descriptions. For fans of the late Anthony Bourdain, perhaps worth a read.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-copy
This is regretfully about the mob and the ghastly things they do.

Luckily this is also an insightful look at the restaurant industry.

Anthony has a nice writing style, I just don't like the people he created. It had a screenplay feel to it.

I borrowed a copy from the public library.
Connie Howard
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not what I expected from Anthony Bourdain. Uninspired thug fiction.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
F****in' Fun

This is a fun, albeit violent and raunchy, fast-paced romp of a story. I'm glad I read Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential first because I had already looked up most of the restaurant jargon that fills this book. The only caveat is that easily 1/3 of the word count consists of "f***in' this, f***in' that." I suppose the author was going for authenticity, but I could have done with fewer expletives.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I knew going into this book that Tony Bourdain was a pretty good writer, having already digested Kitchen Confidential and Nasty Bits.

The most amazing thing about this book was the level with which I found myself really caring about the characters. In particular, the chef Michael and his sous chef Tommy. Watching Michael wrestle with his heroin addiction and his desire to turn his life around was very moving. I am sure this was partly biographical, as Bourdain himself suffered from the same issue
Amanda Ching
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
So here's the thing. I was gonna just slap it in my finished list and give it some stars until I realised that I wasn't sure HOW many stars to give it. And that started a whole barrage of questions, so I think I'll just talk out loud here.

Of course I liked the book. It has all the things I love: murder, swearing, the mob, everyday people just being people, people who smoke, people who casually drink, people who casually do drugs, food porn, real porn, and unflinchingly real descriptions of mund
Kevin Rubin
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Bone in the Throat" was wildly entertaining. A mafia, gangster crime first novel by celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain.

Lots of murder, beatings, cooking and description of food scattered throughout.

The main character, Tommy, is the sous-chef at The Dreadnaught, a restaurant run by a a criminal, Harvey being used by the FBI to trap some local gangsters. Tommy's uncle, Sally, is the local gangster who collects money from Harvey and who got Tommy the job there. However, Tommy really does have passio
Trixie Jack
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I normally would never think of picking up a novel written by a tv show host, but I have a lot of respect for Anthony Bourdain and enjoy his non-fiction pieces, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm glad I did. It's rare enough to find a multi-talented artist, but that's exactly what Bourdain is proving himself to be. Add fiction writing to his growing repertoire of skills.
"Bone in the Throat" is a divertingly fun romp through Tony's New York--dark, gritty, often desperate, but with a distinctiv
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read this year so far! RIP Anthony Bourdain 💚 ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Got this book on recommendation from my cousin, and while I like watching Anthony Bourdain on TV, I'm not sold on him as an author. Perhaps it was the subject matter, the New York Mafia and its involvement in the restaurant business, but the book never really brought me in. It started promisingly, with a scene in the coroner's office after another floater was pulled out of the water with clear evidence of it being a mob hit, but it took until nearly the end of the book before the scene connected ...more
Nash Norden
Mar 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime-thriller, own
Book Review: Bone in the Throat@ai-books

like Anthony Bourdain as a chef and I like his TV shows. I got this book because I was curious to know how Bourdain would write a fiction. Besides, I always love a culinary/food related mystery/crime/thriller books.

However, I’m sorry to say that I was greatly disappointed with this book. The pace is slow, the dialogue is poor and boring and the characters are poorly constructed. I had a hard time keeping track of what’s going on and who the characters ar
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not. Bad.

Tried to read this once before, but the author's voice and repetitive cadence kept getting into my head. If anything, that's proof that I need to watch less TV. Also, the way food and kitchens come in to play right off the bat, and the way the food is described in scenes where it's not even important made it hard for me to take this book seriously at first. At much as I like Tony, I kept thinking "Your a chef! I GET it!"

Anyway, today was jury duty and I took this in with me, and before
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This "novel of death and digestion" (to quote from the dust jacket) delivers what it promises: murder in a culinary setting. The story is both gory and brutal, but so is the subject matter: Mafia control of the restaurant industry. The story focuses intently on the use of drugs and alcohol but these are (according to Bourdain's non-fiction books) the daily realities of restaurant life. The book is both profane and obscene but so is the author, if one believes the self-drawn caricature by which h ...more
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Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.

His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.

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