During Don Winslow’s most recent appearance at the Poisoned Pen, owner Barbara Peters read from several press releases from Winslow’s past novels. What was most striking was that each release was near identical, describing Winslow’s then current novel as his sure to be “break-out” novel; the book which would rocket the San Diego novelist into bestsellerdom. The books ranged from individual novels in Winslow’s early Neal Carey Mysteries-to-The Death and Life of Bobby Z-to-The Winter of Frankie Machine. Yes, we all got a laugh out of the releases, but for many of us, Winslow’s “breakout” novel was the one which we first discovered Winslow.
For me, it was his operatic portrayal of America’s decades long war on drugs in Mexico, The Power of the Dog, (It’s also the novel which I believe history will decide is his best work.)for others it was The Dawn Patrol, and for even more, it was the ground breaking Savages.
Which ever novel it was you discovered Don Winslow, for most of his readers, that first “breakout” novel of his you read was sure to lead you to his next novel, to the next, and to the next. What sets Winslow apart from the current crop of crime novelists above anything else is his willingness to never settle on a singular voice; to treat each novel as a separate work of art as opposed to writing book-after-book of throwaway airport prose.
I feel very lucky that I was able to sit down with Winslow on July 8th to discuss his latest novel, the prequel to Savages, The Kings of Cool, as well as the recently released film adaptation of Savages.
I hope you enjoy.