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City of Dreams: Don Winslow

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The Morettis and their crew beat the living crap out of Liam and, when Pam still mesmerized by Liam’s boyish charms, visited him in the hospital, war broke out, a war to end all wars, that like the Trojan War would leave everyone from victor to loser broken and destroyed.

Desperate for money to fund a new start, he makes a deal with the Drug Enforcement Agency to undertake a covert operation against a Mexican drug dealer. Rather than providing the in-your-face high energy that we became accustomed to in City On Fire, City Of Dreams has a more brooding atmosphere.The war between the Moretti and Murphy crime families is mostly over, The body count was high and now soldier Danny Ryan has risen to lead the remains of the Murphy gang. Perhaps the most entertaining section of the book is the author’s insight into the Hollywood film industry, particularly comments that show how “the Hollywood film industry and the criminal class intersect. Though inflected with occasional reflections on the absurdity of the human condition, “City of Dreams” is no picaresque; instead, as his many fans have come to expect from Winslow, this latest novel in a projected trilogy is unrelentingly tough, tense and violent. The single best use of mescaline in literature ever (yes, I read The Doors of Perception and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Danny leaves Providence RI, the only city he’s ever known to hide out until it’s safe for his family and crew members to show up in public again after accomplishing what they set off to do, but at the cost of the safety and security of all involved in the heist successfully pulled off. Winslow tries to make it a stand alone by providing background information but I think one is missing the boat if you attempt it in this manner. We also learn a lot about the movie business and get more glimpses into the life of Danny's estranged mother. City of Fire quickly surprised POTD trilogy to become my new favorite Winslow and upon meeting these characters, I was excited to hear there would be two more books following them. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.There is Brent Harris, a former student of Penner who is a DEA agent with the Southwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force. Whether his Irish-Catholic conscience turns out to be Danny’s fatal flaw will, doubtless, be the great question resolved in the final novel of Winslow’s trilogy. Winslow creates characters with so much depth and feeling, you can't help but to care for them, especially with Danny. If you read the first book you know that Danny is broke, in the middle of a hailstorm of grief, and in a lot of trouble at the end of the last book. But the limelight is never a good thing when you come from a life of crime, so eventually he has to leave.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. The other aspect of Winslow’s work that stands out is how his books function as a detailed alternative crime history of America from the 1990s onwards. Danny comes face to face with the true grim realities that operate below the city of dreams as he engages in a bitter fight for survival. He made a dope deal with a corrupt FBI agent who was in league with the Morretis and, instead of making off with a fortune, he dumped ten million dollars of dope in the Long Island Sound.The story has no more violence than many other crime thrillers, but a sense of hopelessness progressively builds. In this, the second book in his City trilogy, Don Winslow picks up right where City on Fire ended and continues the saga of East Coast rival crime families. Me ha gustado menos, que a pesar del buen ritmo general, el libro engancha y se lee muy bien, hay una parte, centrada en Hollywood, que se me ha hecho demasiado larga y a la que para mi gusto le sobraban páginas.

This very much feels as though it’s a transitional book, a much more sedately paced story chronicling life on the run of a former gangster. Hours before slamming his foot down on the accelerator and heading west, Danny hijacked 10 kilos of heroin from the Italians and killed a crooked FBI agent who was about to blow him away. One thing I love about these books is that Don Winslow does such a wonderful job with each character that even though these guys are mobsters, you end up feeling their loss when they get killed. Non stop intensity, thrills betrayals, greed, grit and with writing as sharp and insightful as a razor blade. Interestingly, one of the affairs is between Peter Moretti and Cassandra Murphy even as their families are trying to kill each other.As that novel opened, everyone, the Italian and the Irish got along, knew their territories, and even hung out on the beach party, that is until Helen of Troy (Pam) (Paulie Moretti’s girlfriend) came out of the water glistening in her tiny bikini and Liam couldn’t keep his hands off her. The Moretti’s are a case in point as Peter and Paul Moretti, brothers, do their best to make the other look bad. Winslow's style continues here, ripping through the story threads as Danny tries to diversify away from his historical 'business'. It has none of the old charm, it’s chaotic, and it ends in fever dream confusion that makes no sense. In this, the second volume in Winslow's last trilogy, our east coast mobsters head west to Hollywood, but they can never leave their pasts behind.

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