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Publisher's Summary

Frank Machianno is a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. An affable Italian with a love of people and life, he's a stand-up businessman, devoted father, and a beloved fixture in the community.

He's also a hit man - specifically, a retired hit man. Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast Mafia, he was known as Frankie Machine. Frank consigned his Mob ties to the past years ago, which is where he wants them to stay. But a favor being called in now by the local boss is one Frank can't refuse, and soon he's sucked back into the treacherous currents of his former life. Someone from the past wants him dead. He has to figure out who and why, and he has to do it fast.

©2006 Don Winslow (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Elmore Leonard fans who have not yet discovered Winslow will be delighted by his fourth thriller....Winslow has created plausible characters and taut scenes of suspense that will keep readers turning pages." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall

The Winter of Frankie Machine is a ray of sunshine

I've quickly become a rabid fan of Don Winslow's evocative mystery thrillers. In "The Winter of Frankie Machine" Winslow neatly introduces Frank Machiano, AKA Frankie Machine, who, a stone killer for the mafia, is a likeable, even admirable guy. Frank manages to maintain his integrity even as those around him cheat, lie, steal, kill and--worst of all--betray all that they stood for. Retired from the hitman business--as much as anyone can retire from the mob, Frank is unwilling dragged into the life again as crime and corruption reach toward the highest office in the land. Through it all, Frank stays true to his daughter, his ex-wife, his friends and himself.

Dennis Boutsikaris lends his reading a casual intensity that perfectly captures the winter sunshine of San Diego. A terrific choice for this book.

More Don Winslow, please, and more Dennis Boutsikaris.

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Yacolt, WA, United States
  • 06-29-11


This is one of my two all-time favorite audio books. I've listened since 1993. I have it on cassette, audible download and in print. Dennis Boutsikaris is the perfect narrator for this book. "It's a lot of work being me." I thoroughly enjoy listening to the reminiscences of this older man. You don't have to be a mafia hit man to relate to Frankie Machine. You only need to have lived long enough to have memories to share. If you have, you won't be dissapointed. It's a great listen.

35 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Five stars straight across the board

This is an understated but GREAT story. Also a subtle and insightful look into the people who make up "organized crime".

I enjoyed this story all the way through, but I only realized how good it was after I finished it the first time. It kept coming back in flashbacks to this scene or that scene, as well as the overall mood and feel. Winslow says a lot without saying it all the way through the story, and for me, that's one of the marks of a good writer.

I've listened to "Winter" 3 times now and plan to listen to it again soon. I've also read all of Winslow's other books and keep watching for new ones. If the values of people who live on the edge bother you, this isn't a book for you. Otherwise, enjoy!

P.S. I don't know whether I'd put Don Winslow at the top of my favorite writers list, but he's close. Maybe other people would enjoy listening to these writers, too. Here's a short list:

Don Winslow (everything),
John Grisham (before Theodore Boone),
Peter Hamilton (complex and interesting hard sci fi),
Michael Crichton (books like "Prey" make learning fun and scary),
Nelson DeMille (especially "By The Rivers Of Babylon"),
Christopher Reich (especially "The Big Short"),
Greg Bear (long, complex, fun hard sci fi stories),
Alastair Reynolds (great hard sci fi),
Richard K Morgan (Altered Carbon trilogy and Thirteen. After that he seemed to lose it.)
Paolo Bacigalupi (Windup Girl, Ship Breaker, Pump Six etc). Paolo is great!
Michael Connelly (just about everything he's ever written).
Lee Child, Lincoln Child, & Ken Follett

Hope you find some authors here you enjoy. And hope I got my spelling right. :)
Cheers --

48 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Really, really smart and entertaining suspense.

I only purchased this book because it was on sale, but honestly... It's worth full price. Winslow's hero is a man I feel like I've always known. He's 62, a devoted father, deeply involved in his community and well thought of by all. But he has a dark past, one that comes back to haunt him and threatens not only the world he has created, but his very life.

It's a chase story, a mafia story, a suspense thriller and a heck of a mystery with lots of twists. It's read by Boutsikaris, definitely one of the top narraters on audible.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A new favorite author

I stumbled on Don Windslow this month and have listed to all three of his unabridged books. I wish Audible had others. When I hit this one I was concerned about the change of readers but should not have been. All three are well written and well read. They are not for the squeamish, but neither is life.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Angelo
  • massapequa, NY, United States
  • 09-04-07

stand up guy

well writen and read realisticaly by narator,the main charactor is strong and streat smart, smiles crossed my face many times and actually made me laugh out loud, a retired hitman who loves the sea air and is pulled back to his prior life--------temporerily

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 07-18-15

Fifteen Stars!!! Among The VERY Best!!!

Like mob drenched stuff? Enjoy the one where the bad guys pick on the wrong guy? Like tough dialogue, laugh-out-loud change of pace? Howzabout heart-string tugging, things-looking-impossible-for--the-star crisis? It's all here in a Sopranos, Coreleone zupa of great writing.

It's important to know that Frank Machiano, the lead guy in this thing, was a retired mob hit man. No, that's not a spoiler... But unless you know that going in, you're likely to find the beginning inexplicably slow. Not to worry, Winslow reveals that fact early on, but fortunately the Audible blurb did it up front.

Dennis Boutsikaris is an terrific actor keeping the cast separate, handling tension with the skill of sensitive juggler, and delivering Don Winslow's tale with a lot more power than my imagination would have, had I chosen to read, rather than listen to "Frankie Machine."

FIFTEEN STARS! Without reservation. Heck, I'd give this book 100.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 06-08-15

Simpatico hitman

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • TonyM
  • 10-17-13

Is Now One of my Favorite Books in my Library!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Winter of Frankie Machine to be better than the print version?

I only purchased the audio version and it was damn good! Wish there were other books with Frankie Machine in it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Winter of Frankie Machine?

There were several, but if I go into details, it gives part of the story away.

What does Dennis Boutsikaris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I loved his performance. Very real. Will look into other audio books he narrates.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Towards the end, butI do not want to give anything away.

Any additional comments?

One of the most entertaining books you will ever listen to. I read other reviews where they complained about the story going into the character's past, but I feel its vital for background on Frankie Machine. It did not bother me in the least. LOVED this book and wish there were others with Frankie Machine in it.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Bettendorf, IA, United States
  • 01-01-15

Mario Who?

I read/listened to The Godfather a year ago, long after loving all the films. And was disappointed. This is the second Don Winslow book I've read (Savages was the first) & I'm hooked. His writing is gritty & tight, but bottom-line for me is the authenticity. It's what will translate into my reading his entire catalog, rather than an odd one here or there. Solid book from start to finish- and a great finish, by the way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful