The Winter of Frankie Machine by Don Winslow (Knopf, 2006; 320 pages)
Categories: Mystery/Thriller; Crime; Mobsters; Surfing
Frank Machianno is a hard-working, blue collar San Diego entrepreneur, father, and surfer, a pillar of his community. Among his many businesses, he owns and runs a bait shop on Ocean Beach Pier. And Frankie also happens to be a retired hit man known as Frankie Machine, a brutally efficient killer for the San Diego mob. Now, someone from his past wants him dead, and after a botched attempt on his life, Frankie must find out who's trying to kill him and why. With the mob on his heels and the cops on his tail, Frank hatches a plan to protect his loved ones, save his life, and leave the mob in his rear view forever. But can he solve the mystery and get the killers before they get him, or worse -- his family?
For my money, the best that Winslow's produced so far, and that's saying a lot. This is a tough, darkly funny thrill ride of a crime novel that grabs you by the throat from the jump and doesn't let go until the last, bullet-riddled word.
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Recommended by: Greg