Category Archives: Don Winslow

My year in books: Angela Savage

the-dying-beachNext up on the ‘my year in books’ series running on this site over December, is crime writer (and my long time partner) Angela Savage.

Angela is the author of three highly acclaimed crime novels based in Thailand and featuring the Australian PI Jayne Keeney. The most recent of these books, The Dying Beach was published in 2013 and is available here.

She’s also got a great website, or “piece of author real estate”, as I’ve heard these things referred to by book marketing people. You can find it here.

Welcome Angela

While Andrew specified that my top five reads for 2013 didn’t have to be crime, I figured crime picks would appeal to regular readers of Pulpcurry. I read a lot of crime in 2013—some 40 books as of early December—but I didn’t realise just how many were recent releases until I sat down to compose this list. The books that made the cut ultimately combine memorable plots and characters with great writing.

After the DarknessHoney Brown

I read three of Honey Brown’s tense, atmospheric and erotic thrillers in 2013. Difficult as it is to pick a favourite, After the Darkness just pips her debut Red Queen and this year’s Dark Horse to make this list because it is one of the few genuinely scary books I’ve ever read.… Read more

My top crime reads of 2012

What’s the end of a year without a best of post?

Recently, I was asked by UK site Crime Fiction Lover to list my top crime reads for 2012. They would only let me pick five, but obviously I’ve read a lot more books worthy of mention than that. Here’s the long list.

He Died with his Eyes Open, Derek Raymond

A police procedural like no other, it starts, like so many other crime novels, with the discovery of a body. The unnamed cop (the story’s narrator) who catches the case is a tough talking sergeant from the Department of Unexplained Deaths, also known as A14, at the Factory police station. There’s no apparent motive and all the cop has to go on are a series of old cassette tapes in the dead man’s property that contain the deeply unhappy ramblings of a deeply unhappy man. Most police procedurals deal with crime from the point of view of the police. What’s unusual about this book is that the cop concerned is more like his victim.

Raymond was the pen name of English writer Robert William Arthur Cook, who eschewed his upper middle class family for a life of odd jobs, bohemian travel and frequent brushes with the law. Although he wrote for years, success eluded until with the publication of He Died with His Eyes Open in 1984, the first of five Factory books.… Read more

Book review: The Kings of Cool

The Kings of Cool is Don Winslow’s latest book. That’s the Don Winslow who wrote The Power of the Dog, Satori and Savages, the last of which has been made into what, by nearly all accounts, is an excellent film by Oliver Stone. For many people, that’s all I really need to say. However if you need a bit more than the elevator pitch, here goes.

This book is the prequel to Savages, Winslow’s story of three Southern California drug dealers whose success in selling high quality, hydroponically grown marijuana attracts the unwelcome and deadly attention of a Mexican drug cartel. Ben is an ethical slacker and the business brains behind the operation. Chon is the muscle – he comes into his own when things get rough. O, the most annoying of the three is… well… I’m not really sure what she is. Let’s just settle on the messed up rich girl, the group’s mascot and popular culture cypher.

The Kings of Cool looks at the three friends as they start out in the drug business in the 90s, as well as exploring their complicated histories and how they first met up. Interwoven into this is the story of another group of counter cultural types in Southern California back in the 60s, and the evolution of their decision to become drug traffickers, from the amateurish beginnings to the more serious consequences as the Summer of Love fades and the trade mutates into a high stakes business.… Read more

Great crime reads set in Asia

Okay, I’ve sat patiently through the hype about Scandinavian crime fiction, which shows no sign of ending, only to read recently that the next big thing in crime fiction is central Europe.

I keep thinking people will eventually discover Asia as a fascinating place to set crime fiction, but it looks like I’ll have to keep on waiting on that score.

Not that there aren’t some great crime reads set in the region. A few weeks ago I wrote the following post on some of my favourites for the site, Crime Fiction Lover. One book I could’ve included but didn’t was David Peace’s Tokyo Year Zero. One CFL reader suggested the books of Seicho Matsumoto. I’d live to hear other suggestions as I’m sure there are heaps more.

Jade Lady Burning – Martin Limon

Low profile crime writer Martin Limon has so far written six books featuring Sueno and Bascom, officers in the Criminal Intelligence Division of the US military based in South Korea, and a seventh is on the way.

Jade Lady Burning was the first of the series, written in 1992, and for my money it’s still one of the best. Sueno and Bascom are assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a local prostitute which turns into something much more sinister.… Read more