Don Winslow is the best thriller writer you never heard of

And if you have already read him then forgive me for preachin’ to the choir, but I am still surprised at the number of, say, Michael Connelly or Elmore Leonard fans who draw a blank when Mr. Winslow’s name comes up.  So I definitely want to give props to my man before I get critical on his latest, Savages.  Previous works like The Winter of Frankie Machine and Dawn Patrol showcased a Leonardian wit without getting too close to whimsical (something I wish I could say about Carl Hiassen).  Seriously entertaining and serious as well about his characters and the consequences of their actions, like good noir should be. His masterpiece, The Power of the Dog, is a massive runaway train of a book that will take you into the so-called ‘Drug War’ between U.S. law enforcement and Mexican cartels and leave you wrung out, despairing, and crying for more.  All the more disappointing, then, to read Savages in under 2 hours and realize it’s more of a screenplay waiting to happen than a fully realized novel.  (Same way I felt reading Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men the first time, even though it did make a great movie, after the Border trilogy it was like Cormac, wtf ?) Okay, nobody’s going to claim that thriller characters are always fully believable – you gotta give your heroes and perps some pizzazz. But the 3 leads in Savages are just too good to be true for me to take seriously, plus it was all over WAY too quickly.  Granted it was an exciting 2 hours but I expected more. Save the $25, stock up on the back list, and wait for his next one.  Special web bonus for anybody still reading: be the first to email me and I’ll loan you the store copy…plebar@allegheny.edu

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