Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Winter of Frankie Machine -- Don Winslow

I've been a fan of Don Winslow's work since the days of the Neal Carey series. Those books were different and fun, but apparently they didn't make any money for Winslow. He said in a talk at Murder by the Book in Houston that he thought his career was over and that he wrote The Death and Life of Bobby Z. just to entertain himself. It entertained a lot of other people, too. It changed Winslow's life, and it sent his writing off in a different direction, the world of the big standalone novel, the latest of which is The Winter of Frankie Machine.

Apparently Winslow's always wanted to write about the mob's influence in San Diego, and this book presents a sort of history of it through the career of Frankie Machianno, Frankie Machine. Once the mob's premier hitman, he's out of the life now. He runs a bait shop, sells fish to restaurants and manages his rental property. Then somebody sends people to kill him. He has to stay alive, and in the meantime he ruminates on his whole career to try to decide who wants him dead. There are plenty of possibilities, but even when it seems that Frankie's got the answer, it turns out that he's wrong. And that's not the last of the surprises.

This book has just about everything: good writing, humor, suspense, plot twists, great characters, color, action, what have you. No wonder Robert de Niro's already bought it for the movies. Check it out.

No comments: