Don Winslow, like many writers, has converted significant autobiographical events into fiction. Winslow’s life encompasses considerable occupational and geographical territory. His interesting, if checkered, earlier career has provided a wealth of material related to crimes of domestic and international scope, has given him an expanded worldview, and has lent him a dry, sardonic wit that informs much of his work. His stints as undercover agent, private investigator, hostage simulator, fraud and arson analyst, safari leader, and freelance consultant have brought him into contact with a wide range of criminal and law enforcement types that he delineates with unerring accuracy, and he writes about the work involved with unquestioned authority.
Not yet a household name, Winslow has elicited an enviable degree of critical acclaim for his novels and a collaborative nonfictional work. His first novel, A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1991), which introduced private investigator Neal Carey, gained an Edgar Award nomination. California Fire and Life (1999) garnered a Shamus Award for best novel. The Power of the Dog (2004) was nominated for a Macavity Award and for Deadly Pleasure magazine’s Barry Award. His nonfictional collaborative effort Looking for a Hero: Staff Sergeant Ronnie Hooper and the Vietnam War (2004) attracted considerable attention for its unflinching portrait of the tempestuous life of a real soldier. His The Death and Life of Bobby Z (1997) was made into a feature film in 2007, and his The Winter of Frankie Machine (2006) has been optioned.