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Don Winslow

Don Winslow is an American author who has written the screenplays for Savages, Satori and other adaptations of his novels with screenwriter/producer Shane Salerno.

Early life

Winslow was born in New York City on Halloween night 1953, but grew up in Perryville, a beach town near the village of Matunuck, Rhode Island. He credits his parents for preparing him to become a writer: his mother was a librarian, and his father was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Navy who told stories and invited Navy friends around who told more. They inspired Winslow to become a storyteller himself. He majored in African history at the University of Nebraska.


In the late 1970s, Winslow returned to New York City, first working as manager of a chain of movie theaters, then as a private investigator in movie theaters and the back alleys of Times Square. He went back to school to earn a master's degree in Military History, led safaris in Kenya and hiking trips in China's Sichuan province.

His first published novel, A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1991) was written during this time. It was the first of a series of books about investigator Neal Carey, and was nominated for an Edgar Award. His thriller The Death and Life of Bobby Z (1997) was a success, and allowed him to become a full-time writer. In 2007 Bobby Z was turned into a film starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. Winslow wrote the adaptation of Savages into a film of the same name with Oliver Stone directing.

After success with his recent novel, The Force, which received the first 10/10 rating from The Real Book Spy, the book was licensed to 20th Century Fox, with David Mamet as the scriptwriter and James Mangold as director. The movie is to be released on March 1, 2019.

Personal life

Winslow's career as an investigator often took him to California to look into arson cases, as his storytelling skills helped explain cases to juries. In the mid-1990s, he moved to California with his wife Jean and their infant son, Thomas, and continued writing. They live in Julian, California.

Writing process

Winslow has said that he writes each morning from 5:30 to 10 and then hikes six or seven miles before returning to work. He typically works on two books at a time, moving to the other when work on the first stalls. He says the longest he has gone without writing after a book is completed is five days. He calls it an addiction.

The time it takes him to write a book varies. The Death and Life of Bobby Z was written on the train between Dana Point, California and Los Angeles, one chapter per trip. The Power of the Dog took six years to research and write, including traveling to Mexico to interview people with similar experiences as the book's characters.



  • 1991: A Cool Breeze on the Underground (Neal Carey Mysteries)
  • 1992: The Trail to Buddha's Mirror (Neal Carey Mysteries)
  • 1993: Way Down on the High Lonely (Neal Carey Mysteries)
  • 1994: A Long Walk Up the Water Slide (Neal Carey Mysteries)
  • 1996: While Drowning in the Desert (Neal Carey Mysteries)
  • 1996: Isle of Joy (A Winter Spy under the pseudonym MacDonald Lloyd)
  • 1997: The Death and Life of Bobby Z
  • 1999: California Fire and Life
  • 2005: The Power of the Dog (The Cartel Series)
  • 2006: The Winter of Frankie Machine
  • 2008: The Dawn Patrol (Boone Daniels Series)
  • 2009: The Gentlemen's Hour (Boone Daniels Series)
  • 2010: Savages (Savages Series)
  • 2011: Satori
  • 2012: The Kings of Cool (Savages Series)
  • 2015: The Cartel (The Cartel Series)
  • 2017: The Force
  • 2019: The Border (The Cartel Series)


  • 2004: Looking for a Hero (with Peter Maslowski), ISBN 978-0-8032-3244-0

Scripts and screenplays

  • Alexander Hamilton: In Worlds Unknown (script and film; New York Historical Society)


Winslow won the 2012 Raymond Chandler Award, handed out at the Courmayeur Noir Festival, which previously has been won by John le Carré, John Grisham and Michael Connelly.

Awards by book:

A Cool Breeze on the Underground

  • 1992 Finalist for Edgar Best First
  • 1992 Finalist for Shamus Best First
  • 1994 Maltese Falcon Award, Japan

Way Down on the High Lonely

  • 1994 Finalist Dilys Award

The Death and Life of Bobby Z

  • 1998 Finalist Barry for Best Novel
  • 1998 Finalist Lefty Award

California Fire and Life

  • 2000 Shamus for Best Novel
  • 2000 Finalist Dilys Award

The Power of the Dog

  • 2005 Finalist Hammett Prize
  • 2006 Finalist Barry for Best Novel
  • 2006 Finalist Dilys Award
  • 2006 Finalist Macavity Award for Best Novel
  • 2009 Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize
  • 2010 Maltese Falcon Award, Japan

The Winter of Frankie Machine

  • 2010 Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize
  • 2011 Maltese Falcon Award, Japan

The Dawn Patrol

  • 2009 Finalist Barry for Best Novel
  • 2009 Finalist Dilys Award

The Gentlemen’s Hour

  • 2010 Finalist Gold Dagger (Duncan Lawrie Dagger)


  • 2010 Finalist Dilys Award
  • 2011 Finalist Barry for Best Novel
  • 2011 Finalist Steel Dagger

The Kings of Cool

  • 2013 Finalist Gold Dagger (Duncan Lawrie Dagger)

The Cartel

  • 2015 RBA Prize for Crime Writing (Spain), the world's most lucrative crime fiction prize at €125,000.


External links

  • Don Winslow's Website
  • "When New-Wave Drug Dealers Run Afoul of an Old-Wave Cartel", Janet Maslin, The New York Times, 7 July 2010
  • Don Winslow in Barcelona, speech and interview in Canal-L, channel of books and literature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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