by Gordon, David

After bouncer Joe Brody is arrested during a crackdown on his friend's strip club, he agrees to help FBI Agent Donna Zamora in a hunt for terrorists, as they race against time to stop a criminal mastermind who is plotting to unleash a mass attack.

David Gordon holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature and an MFA in Writing, both from Columbia University, and has worked in film, fashion, publishing and pornography. He is the author of The Serialist, which won the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award, and Mystery Girl, as well as a short story collection, White Tiger on Snow Mountain. His work has appeared in the Paris Review, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. He was born and lives in New York City.

*Starred Review* A too-little-known writer who, for the last several years, has been turning out delightfully offbeat tales of fringe crooks with plenty of pizzazz (The Serialist, 2010; Mystery Girl, 2013) now stakes his claim as a major player in the comic-thriller world. Joe Brody is a Dostoevsky-reading bouncer at a strip club in Queens run by his high-school pal and now Mob higher-up Gio Caprisi. When the FBI closes down the strip club in a search for terrorists, Joe is at loose ends and reluctantly agrees to participate in a holdup designed to relieve some redneck gun enthusiasts of a shipment of their wares. This piece-of-cake job naturally turns out to be anything but, and soon Joe is dodging the feds (including agent Donna Zamora, with whom he shares a mutual attraction), sundry mobsters, and a pair of rich-kid terrorists who have set their sights on a vial of "perfume" with some deadly characteristics. The supporting players, from the cross-dressing Mob don to agent Zamora to the other members of Joe's ill-fated gang that couldn't shoot straight, are almost as endearing as Joe himself. Thomas Perry fans should catch up on Gordon's oeuvre as quickly as possible. This jewel of a book is as close as a devotee of comic caper novels can come to the sublime quirkiness of Perry's classic Metzger's Dog (1983). Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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."

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