Don Winslow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Don Winslow
Born (1953-10-31) October 31, 1953 (age 61)
New York, New York
Occupation Novelist, screenwriter
Nationality American
Education Master of Arts
Alma mater University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Period 1991–present
Genre Crime fiction, mystery fiction, historical fiction
Notable works Neal Carey Mysteries
Spouse Jean Winslow (m. 1985–present)
Children 1 son

Don Winslow is an American author most recognized for his crime and mystery novels. Many of his books are set in California. He has published a series of five novels that have a private investigator named Neal Carey as their main character. Savages has attracted critical acclaim, with the New York Times describing it as a "startling bid for attention".[1]

He has written the screenplays for Savages, Satori and other adaptations of his novels with screenwriter/producer Shane Salerno.

Early life[edit]

Winslow was born in New York City on Halloween night, 1953,[2] but grew up in Perryville, a beach town near the village of Matunuck, Rhode Island.[3][4][5] 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.[4] He majored in African History at the University of Nebraska.[2]


Winslow explored many forms of career and study before he became a career writer. In the late 1970s, he moved back 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. Winslow's career as an investigator would repeatedly bring him to California, to look into arson cases; his storytelling skills helped in explaining cases to juries. In the mid-1990s, he moved to California with his wife Jean and their infant son, Thomas, and kept writing when he could. His thriller The Death and Life of Bobby Z (1997), was a success, and allowed him to become a full-time writer.[4] They live in Julian, California.[2][5]

In 2007 Bobby Z was turned into a film starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. Winslow himself wrote the adaptation of Savages into a film of the same name with Oliver Stone directing.

Writing process[edit]

Winslow says that he writes every day from 5:30 to 10:00 in the morning and then hikes six or seven miles before returning to work. He generally 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.[2][5][6]

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.[2][4] The Power of the Dog took six years to research and write, including traveling to Mexico to interview people with similar experiences as its characters.[7]


  • 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
  • 2006: The Winter of Frankie Machine
  • 2008: The Dawn Patrol
  • 2009: The Gentlemen's Hour
  • 2010: Savages[8]
  • 2011: Satori
  • 2012: The Kings of Cool [9]


Scripts and Screen Plays[edit]


Don Winslow won the 2012 Raymond Chandler Award. The honor, awarded at the Courmayeur Noir Festival, has been won in the past by the likes of John le Carré, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly.[11]

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

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)


  1. ^ Janet Maslin (July 7, 2010). "Books of The Times – New-Wave Drug Dealers in Don Winslow's Savages". New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Hi. My name is Don Winslow, and I'm a writing addict", by John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 8, 2008. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  3. ^ "Bio", Don Winslow's Official Website. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Surfing shamus", by Scott Timberg, June 09, 2008, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Don Winslow on Surf Noir, Appeal Of Crime Fiction", by Jeffrey A. Trachtenbert, May 23, 2008, Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  6. ^ "Crime writer considers US war on drugs", Kerry O'Brien, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, broadcast 31/05/2007. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  7. ^ "Inside the war on drugs", by Regis Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 8, 2005. Retrieved July 07, 2010.
  8. ^ Savages at Simon & Schuster.
  9. ^ The Kings of Cool at Simon & Schuster.
  10. ^ "Looking for a Hero" University of Nebraska press. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  11. ^ "'Savages' Author Don Winslow Awarded Raymond Chandler Award", by Mike Fleming Jr.

External links[edit]