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Chris High books reviewed

The Winter Of Frankie Machine - Don Winslow

Publisher: Arrow Books

ISBN: 978-0-09-950945-5
June 6, 2008

Image: Front cover of the book 'The Winter of Frankie Machine' by Don Winslow.

Okay, one has slipped through the net. This landed last year in hardback and sort of got lost in the pile of others that come along. Rest assured however that waiting to read Don Winslow so long in future is not going to happen because The Winter Of Frankie Machine is, quite simply, the best novel to have come out of the USA in a very, very long time.



Frank Machianno is the guy, a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. That's when he’s not juggling any of his other three part-time jobs or trying to get a quick set in on his long board. Frank’s a beloved fixture of the community, a stand-up businessman and devoted father to his daughter. He’s also a hit man. Well, a retired hit man. Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast mob, he was known as Frankie Machine. Years ago, Frank consigned his mob ties to the past, which is where he wants them to stay. But a favour called in by the local boss is one Frank simply can’t refuse and, before he knows it, Frank is sucked back into the treacherous currents of his former life. Someone from his past wants him dead, and he has to figure out who, and why, and he has to do it fast. The problem is that the list of candidates is about the size of his local phone book and Frank is rapidly running out of time.

The Winter Of Frankie Machine is pure magic from first to last, filled with absorbing, three-dimensional characters, memorable descriptions of both the slow and manic and dialogue that makes Goodfellas look almost pedestrian. This is what the world of Gangster fiction has been waiting for, with Frank coming across, for once, as a genuinely decent guy trying desperately to forget his past and build a future.

No wonder De Niro is in production as The Bait Man with a heart. After all, everybody loves De Niro and everyone should love Frankie Machine.




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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