Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
I love Don Winslow's nearly flawless prose style and the way his vivid and colorful characters elicit strong responses in the reader or listener. The ability to attach us powerfully to a character was particularly important for a story built around a mobster hit man, but I had no problem hanging in Frankie's corner to the end. Still, this was definitely not my favorite outing with Winslow. The long string of flashbacks interspersed with an ongoing cat and mouse game playing out in the present felt a little clunky to me in this instance, though the author has used it more effectively elsewhere. In addition, well before we reached the final confrontation it had become fairly clear where we were heading and who would be involved, and Frankie had been established as so superior to his adversaries in every way that it was next to impossible to work up any tension or suspense in any of the episodes. One is reduced to enjoying the mechanisms he uses to frustrate the poor klutzes who pursue him.
Even with my reservations, I still enjoyed Frankie Machine's winter's tale. Winslow's best is a high bar to set. There is plenty to enjoy and savor even in his lesser efforts.
...audio books I have ever experienced. (I spent a week in San Diego this past autumn and loved the connection between my vacation memories and the setting of this story.) This book does not romanticize Mafia life. The author avoids applying any glamor to organized crime, yet manages to give the criminal characters a measure of dignity and appeal. The writing and narration of this book are excellent. I loved every minute of this story and hated the fact that it had to end. The characters are down to earth real, gifted with virtues as well as plagued by flaws. Frankie's story starts slowly, but it soon explodes into action, forcing him to use his smarts and his skills in order to survive and to discover the source of the threat to his life. Despite the growing tension, there is plenty of humor, especially in Frankie's reflections on life and on the people he encounters. I particularly enjoyed the ever increasing number of surprises as the story progressed, especially the ending, which was very satisfying. There was only one weak spot, the brief role Frankie's mistress played near the end of the story. Her behavior and the reasons for it didn't seem to fit this story. Perhaps the mistress's appearance at this point was an afterthought, or a means to make other segments of the ending workable. I can't get into details without dumping spoilers on those who are reading this review. Maybe this small detail bothered only me. It certainly didn't ruin the story. This is one book I will listen to again, and soon, and one that I will recommend to my friends.
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
Truly in the tradition of a Raymond Chandler novel on Philip Marlowe - remember Humphrey Bogart. Knock your socks off and get into the story. The character, and the plot move you along nicely. It goes beyond just a good read too. The book gives you an understanding of what the world of being a mafia lieutenant was actually like. Not quite the Soprano legend.
Don't let the dinky title or book jacket discourage you. It's better than those emblematic representations.
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
I don't know how I've missed author Don Winslow and his So Cal Surf Scene novels but I'm glad I found him. This rather strangely plotted book tells the story of a retired mafia hit man known as Frankie Machine who would rather stay retired from his hit man job and focus on early morning surfing, his bait shop on the pier and as fish supplier to 4&5 star restaurants.
Unfortunately Frankies Boss man has other ideas.
If you haven't read Don Winslow, I think this is a good book to start in with. I found Frankie to be a basic nice guy who is shoved into situation he'd rather avoid.
Worth the credit and your time.
I tried Frankie Machine having been utterly gripped by Don Winslow's book: The Power of the Dog. This book started off slowly. I'm not sure whether this was because I listened to it having just read The Power of the Dog. It took me a while to get into it but once I did, I enjoyed it. There was a compelling balance between switching from present to past, filling in how Frankie got into the predicament he was now in. Some humor mixed in with the typical mob violence. Nonetheless a good book, worth the read....even if it was not as compelling as the power of the dog.
I liked this story because it was fast moving, and had flawed characters that were interesting.
Great crime story.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Don Winslow is a total guilty pleasure. I think the cliché that there are only seven basic stories needs to be expanded to include reluctant former mobster assassins who surf. I love how the late 2000s brought some pretty amazing surfing/slacker crime fiction. You've got Winslow's 'The Winter of Frankie Machine' and 'The Dawn Patrol', Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice', obviously 'the Big Lebowski' (which isn't technically in the early 2000s and is more of a bowling slacker flick than a surfing slacker flick, but details). Anyway, these are all children of Chandler and the 60s. And they all speak to my need for the beach and revenge. Having worked in a bait shop myself (during a college summer) I can totally relate to the Zen nature of selling worms. There is something zen about both surfing and fishing. it reminds me of an old Utne reader article I read awhile back:
"I remember listening to a dharma talk five years ago by one of my favorite teachers, Ajahn Amaro, a witty British monk in the Thai Forest tradition who lives in a humble hut in the Mendocino Forest in Northern California. He used a surfing metaphor to explain samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death. The Ajahn laughed as he talked about the ridiculousness of surfers.
They struggle to paddle through the crashing surf in search of their perfect wave. But when they finally catch one, they get a fleeting rush of adrenaline, get shoved underwater, come up breathless, and then struggle to get back out again for another round. This, he said, is dukkha-suffering."
The same can be said of fishing and probably mob killing. So it goes.
Absolutely the Best. Where has this novel been hiding all my life. Winslow has given it all to us in Frannkie the Machine, you won't put your Ipod down and you might not even loose some sleep until you've finished.
Consider yourself dully warned.
ENJOY!!! PS You owe it to yourself to get The power of the Dog, after you finish this one!
I was drawn to this story of an ex-hitman for the mob. I liked the novel from the start. Frankie, the retired hitman is funny and sympathetic. The story revolves around a plot to kill him, and then much of the novel is a flashback of Frankie's life. The present is much more interesting than the past, and even though I was 3/4 of the way through thus novel, I found I just didn't care enough to finish it. This was well written and narrated. It's a who-dunnit with a sense of humor. Just not for me.