Don Winslow was selected for WH Smith's "Fresh Talent" promotion in February 1996.
Thrown out of the Marine Corps‘despite heroics in the Gulf War‘for a lack of "impulse control," locked up first for burglary and then for an unwitting armed robbery, three-time loser Tim Kearney is in big trouble in the big house. He's killed a Hell's Angel named Stinkdog with a sharpened license plate in preemptive self-defense. To sidestep the wrath of the Angels, Tim jumps at an only slightly less dangerous proposal from the FBI. They want him to impersonate recently deceased, legendary drug smuggler Bobby Z, so they can trade him for a captured agent. Of course the deal goes sour, and soon Tim has a whole spectrum of nasty enemies out to finish him off. To survive he must grow into his new role, donning all the legendary powers of Bobby Z and a few new ones of his own. Winslow's swift, sardonic narrative brims with cinematic possibilities as Tim and a few deftly etched pals with hearts as pure as his (including a game and clever six-year-old boy) careen from desert to beach to the San Diego zoo in a blur of explosive action. With a keen ear for punk criminal patois, a generous dose of irony and a plethora of memorable bad guys, Winslow, in the best Elmore Leonard tradition, pilots this engaging Southern California thriller from one cliff-hanger to the next. At the same time, this author of the Neal Carey mysteries (While Drowning in the Desert, 1996) steers his writing and his career to a whole new level. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo; film rights to Warner Brothers; simultaneous Random House audio; author tour. (May)
In this fresh, exciting first novel, three-time loser Tim Kearney is given a chance to leave prison behind when federal agents note his physical resemblance to legendary California drug dealer Bobby Z. First, however, Kearney must impersonate Bobby Z convincingly enough to fool a ruthless Mexican drug dealer. Kearney is successful and comes to enjoy the awe and respect his new identity carries. Yet many people would like to see Bobby Z dead, and soon Kearney‘unable and unwilling to shed his disguise‘must run for his life. Winslow juggles black humor, excellent dialog, and numerous plot twists with the ease of an accomplished veteran. Sure to be popular, this novel is recommended most fiction collections.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"