Review

The Winter of Frankie Machine

by Don Winslow



Frankie Machianno is in his golden years, living in San Diego and
running a bait shop in Ocean Beach. He also supplies fresh fish to
a number of restaurants, always checking in to make sure his
customers are happy. Frankie is a busy man, but he loves his life
and the world he's made for himself along the beaches of San Diego.
Everybody loves Frankie. He surfs during his free moments and has
lots of friends. He keeps his ex-wife safe and secure, even though
they're no longer together. And he has a daughter who he's
extremely proud of. Life is good.

However, when Frankie thinks his past is buried, it comes back to
haunt him. There is someone out to kill him, and he can't figure
out who it is or why. THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE is the story of
Frankie and how he got to where he is today as he flashbacks to his
past, going over every hit he ever made and every man he ever
killed. He searches his memory for anyone who he could have pissed
off enough that they would want him dead after all these
years.

What a life Frankie had. He wasn't called Frankie "Machine" for no
reason, either. He was good at what he did, and proud of it.
Inevitably though, he had to take out men whom he loved and cared
about, because it was good for the business. He did what he had to
do. Frankie's life, at least his earlier years, was surrounded by
and filled with murder, big money, gambling, lots of violence and
plenty of sex. But now that he's older, he's content to live the
peaceful yet busy life he has made for himself on the beaches of
San Diego. Does he really want to return to that dangerous life of
crime? His daughter doesn't even know about his past. He will do
what it takes to protect her, to keep her out of the danger that
his former job had brought.

If I ever read a book twice, it will be this one. Frankie's life
and the story of these mob men are fascinating. Following the
goings-on with the San Diego mafia is especially interesting, being
a local San Diegan myself and recognizing the clubs (Cheetahs is
down the street) and the actual crimes that were committed in the
book. What makes Frankie's story different is that he has heart.
Yes, he once murdered men for a living and probably doesn't have
remorse for the crimes he's committed in the name of the business.
But he decides to go back to that life in order to seek out the man
who wants him dead, and he acts like a pro while protecting his
loved ones. Readers will see his character develop over time, from
the bright young kid who found his way into the world of the hit
man, to an elderly gentleman who everyone sees only as "the bait
man."

Frankie Machianno will live in my mind for many years to come, and
THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE will be on my Top 10 list of favorite
books for 2006.

Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton (Ratmammy@lofton.org) on January 24, 2011

The Winter of Frankie Machine
by Don Winslow

  • Publication Date: September 4, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0307277666
  • ISBN-13: 9780307277664