In David Gordon’s diabolically imaginative 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.
“A brilliantly goofy caper novel in the grand tradition of Donald E. Westlake.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[An] impressive crime novel . . . Gordon’s sharply drawn supporting cast adds a nice balance to all the action.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Joe looked up, sort of smiling mildly, and folded the page of his book. Then he saw where Crystal was pointing. The giant was wading through the crowd, apparently hauling Kim off to his lair to eat later. Moving easy, Joe stepped right into his path.
“Hey! You! Meat!” he yelled. “Over here.”
The giant made a frowny face, focusing on Joe like a bull seeing a red flag. “Don’t call me that.”
Joe grinned. “How about I give you a lap dance?”
Grumbling, the giant tossed Kim to the side, and she crashed onto a table of Asian tourists. Then he made for Joe. Crystal felt a little bad and braced herself to see that pretty face get ugly. The giant hauled off and threw a punch, his fist coming down like a sledgehammer. But Joe dipped gracefully and, riding on the balls of his feet, stepped safely inside his swing. He kicked out, knocking the giant’s shin from under him. As he stumbled, Joe reached in to grab a point on his thick neck.
“Ow!” Like a wounded monster, the giant howled in pain and tried to shake loose, but Joe just pinched harder.
“Easy, easy, let’s walk,” he said, leading the bent giant along, groaning and moaning. The crowd parted and they went right out the door.
Kimberly got up, slowly, with the help of the tourists.
“Wow,” she said to Crystal. “Now that’s a good bouncer.”