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).
One night at Club Rendezvous ("Queens' finest gentleman's club, conveniently close to the airport"), the NYPD, a SWAT team, and the Feds roll in as part of a coordinated citywide sweep for anyone with even remote terror connections and arrest several people, including bouncer Joe Brody, the hero of this impressive crime novel from Edgar-finalist Gordon (Mystery Girl). During his temporary detainment in a crowded holding cell, Joe runs across an acquaintance who persuades him to take part in a weapons heist. The job goes wrong, but Joe survives and ends up in a much more complicated situation. Meanwhile, frustrated FBI agent Donna Zamora keeps running across Joe as she tries to move from receiving tips to actual field work. Joe, "a hard-luck kid from Queens whose file read like a roller coaster of comebacks and blown chances," proves his mettle in the quest to bring down the terrorists. Gordon's sharply drawn supporting cast adds a nice balance to all the action. Cinematic writing makes this an obvious candidate for graphic novel or film adaptation.
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