A very influential New York City pop culture guru finds himself running for his life after his review of a mob-owned restaurant makes it the most popular, hippest place in town.
©2013 Jim Yoakum (P)2016 Jim Yoakum
The book starts out with maybe the most boring mob-hit scene I have every experienced in any media. Thankfully, this is followed up by our trendsetter protagonist, Dexter, getting hilariously denied entry into a restaurant he made famous and the story quickly brings the opening together as he plots his revenge using an obvious (to the reader) "mob restaurant." Naturally, this sets up a fair amount of excitement, as anyone can see that this is going to backfire, but how and how spectacularly is the question that makes you want to read more.
What follows is a Comedy of Errors style story, complete with slapstick and a lot of mistaken identities (which often gets the person killed). The story is at its best when it wanders into the realm of farce.
Dexter is your stereotypical egotistical character. There is the typical, for fiction, fawning woman who loves this man and will do anything for him, but he isn't into her at the start (although that plot point is resolved far too quickly). The mob guys are typical tropes for that genre. They are all trope characters, but nearly everyone of note in the story has enough individual characteristics to make them distinct from the base template they were pulled from.
It's not bad. There are some memorable moments. The characters are unique enough to hold interest. The plot is enjoyable, even if the story drags a little at times. It maybe trying too hard to be a "Made for TV" movie script, but that tone isn't enough to override the fun moments.
Now for narration and production: Al Benelli's gives a very mixed performance. He's ok for the main character, great at the "mob guys," and awful with anyone else. Especially female voices. I even at one point had trouble telling who was talking, as the voice used for Dexter got dropped for a couple lines. Also, I have never encountered so many post-production edits and filters as get used in this audiobook. Almost every time a filter kicks in it is jarring and badly done. The places it works is when recording are being played back in the story, but sound editing is often used to try and make Benelli's female voices different and less masculine, but it just makes them unnatural. Also, why would someone add a distance sounding filter for a guy in the front seat of a car? He's a couple feet away, not down a corridor. From a production standpoint, this should be an example of how not to record an audiobook. It made this tale very hard to get through.
Final verdict: If Mob Comedy sounds like your kind of thing, get this book, but not as an audiobook.
No, only because it was a great story, and it really didn't leave anything on the table
I guess when the clown is in the scene to me he was kinda a scene steal-er. Come on you cant go wrong with a racist drunk old smelly clown.
I guess his Don voice or his drunk clown voice, but i really didn't like his kid or girl voices. I will say he tried tho which is awesome and helps with getting immersed in the book.
neither honestly just a good story.
felt like this book was a little bit to short
Oh yeah... It's satire at it's best. A New York "celebrity" restaurant reviewer and self-proclaimed "trend-setter" gets his cannolis in the wringer when he plays around with a "family" style establishment in Little Italy. His stellar review is not exactly received as one might expect. Add in a Kelsey Grammer sort of police detective, a few bumbling Mafiosi street soldiers, and the lemming-like followers of our trend setting hero and you have the stage set for a chuckle-a-minute farce of Neil Simon proportion. This book was a gas...tronomical joy to listen to. Could have been made into a swell movie... Maybe Hugh Grant and Joe Pesci?
I'm a big fan of this narrator. He makes the book more like a radio-play. Listening to "Dinner with the Don" I was reminded a lot of his "Eating Trees"... written by Jeff Koppelson. Same kind of humor... similar characters... Set in New York City... Tied in nicely with food. Both were enjoyable comedies that had me laughing out loud... causing some folks on the train to wonder what I was up to. Thank goodness my earbuds are highly noticeable.
There were a few, but if I must pick one it would be our hero, Dexter Grey. This poor guy gets into more trouble just for trying to be nice, but... as many of us have experienced... no good deed goes unpunished.
Next time you go looking for a family-style restaurant... make sure you know what kind of "family" they serve!
A good read, er... listen! Just the right length. Great character voices. Another gem from my favorite book narrator.
Report Inappropriate Content