The Bouncer

Mysterious Book Report No. 378

by John Dwaine McKenna

We’re kicking the summer reading season into high gear with an entertaining, bright and fast-paced crime caper in which nothing is as it appears to be.  The novel came out in late summer-early fall of 2018 when the MBR calendar was full, and wasn’t reviewed, but has just been reissued in trade paperback and should be easy to find.

The Bouncer, (Mysterious Press, $26.00, 259 pages,  ISBN 978-0-8021-2800-3) by David Gordon, begins in a strip club in Queens, New York, where we’re introduced to Joe Brody, the bouncer and peacekeeper.  He’s the protagonist . . . a guy you’d expect to be a thug who uses force to keep a lid on the place.  Instead, the reader finds a mild-mannered soul, reading a Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, but don’t be deceived.  Brody’s been to Harvard—where he was expelled—and has a highly-classified, military history as well.  The club is owned by Gio Caprisi, a mafia Don, and Brody’s best friend from Catholic school, who’s secretly a cross-dresser in women’s clothes.  Added to the zany cast of characters is an FBI agent named Donna Zamora, an ambitious single mother who’s stuck in the office answering the tip line.  Their lives intersect when a tip from a coke addict shuts down the strip joint and gets Joe Brody arrested.  The FBI is rounding up anyone who might lead them to any of the top ten names on the most wanted list.  And that’s only the start of this scattered novel which goes on to cover such diverse topics as robbery, back-road gun shows, gun running, secret government labs, criminal cartels and high-end perfume theft, the CIA, Chinese Tongs and Triads . . . even an evil, uber-wealthy criminal mastermind who’s intention is to destroy the world.

Although the plot doesn’t always make sense because it asks the reader to make great leaps of subject without explaining why or how, The Bouncer is highly entertaining and can be read in a couple of hours at the beach or in the back yard.

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