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The Winter of Frankie Machine    by Don Winslow order for
Winter of Frankie Machine
by Don Winslow
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2007 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Frankie Machianno is loved by one and all. Well, maybe not all. He's an over-the-hill surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego beach. He also supplies fresh fish to local restaurants, and owns and manages a linen supply business. In his previous life, he was a Mafia hit-man!

At the moment, his past life is catching up with him and he's on the run.

The Winter of Frankie Machine is well-written with touches of humor that make one laugh ... and touches of horror that make one gasp. Action never abates. Life lasts only as long as someone needs you. When your usefulness is over, so are you. Honor among thieves is not in vogue amongst the men author Don Winslow writes about. To save their own skins, they'll give anyone up to anyone.

The novel demands focus while reading. There are many names and an abundance of nicknames to keep straight. The time line varies at times and that also must be tracked. But this great new book is worth the effort. It's an easy read that flows smoothly, with an ingenious plot that must have taken some doing to pull off. Which Winslow does adroitly.

The characters vary. Frankie appreciates good wine and music and has a soft spot for the underdog. And he knows that a man's kids are never touched. It just isn't done. The other players are incredible in their quests to become someone, and their inability to understand that they don't have the brains to get anywhere.

Winslow takes the opportunity while on the writing pulpit to kvetch about his pet peeves. This is well worth reading, especially as I heartily agree with his peeves. Don't miss The Winter of Frankie Machine.

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