The Winter of Frankie Machine
The Winter of Frankie Machine (2006) is a thriller novel written by American author Don Winslow. The story focuses on Frank Machianno, a retired San Diego hitman, who cut ties with the Mafia many years ago. One day, his past catches up with him as the boss of the Los Angeles crime family calls in for a past favour.
- One of the nice things about living alone— maybe the only good thing about living alone, Frank thinks—is that you can play opera at 4:00 a.m. and not bother anyone. And the house is solid, with thick walls like they used to build in the old days, so Frank's early morning arias don't disturb the neighbors, either.
- It's winter in San Diego and cold outside. Okay, relatively cold. It's not Wisconsin or North Dakota—it's not the painful kind of cold where your engine won't turn over and your face feels like it's going to crack and crack and fall off, but anyplace in the Northern Hemisphere is at least chilly at 4:10 a.m. in January. Especially, Frank thinks as he gets into his Toyota pickup truck, when you're on the wrong side of sixty and it takes a little while for your blood to warm up in the morning.
- Ocean Beach Pier is the biggest pier in California. A big capital T of concrete and steel jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, its central stem running for over sixteen hundred feet before its crosspiece branches out to the north and south an almost equal distance. If you decide to walk the entire pier, you're looking at a jaunt of about a mile and a half.
- Each day seemed to last forever, Frank thinks as he watches a wave roll in and smack the pier. You'd get up before dawn, just like now, and work hard all day on the old man's tuna boat. But you'd get back by the middle of the afternoon; then it was off to meet your buddies at the beach. You'd surf until dark, laughing and talking shit out there in the lineup, goofing on one another, showing off for the bunnies watching you from the beach. Those were the longboard days, plenty of time and plenty of space. Days of "hanging ten" and "ho-dadding" and those fat Dick Dale guitar riffs and Beach Boys songs, and they were singing about your life, your sweet summer days on the beach.
- Life’s like a fat orange, Frank thinks. When you’re young, you squeeze it hard and fast, trying to get all the juice in a hurry. When you’re older, you squeeze it slowly, savouring every drop. Because, one, you don’t know how many drops you have left, and, two, the last drops are the sweetest.
- There comes a time in a man’s life, he figured, the infamous midlife crisis, when a guy has to face the reality that what he has is all he’s going to get, and he needs to find his peace and his happiness in his life as it is.
- He’s hunted enough guys to know that their own heads can be their worst enemies. They start seeing things that aren’t there, then, worse, not seeing things that are. They worry and worry, and chew on their own insides, until, when you do track them down, they’re almost grateful. By this time, they’ve been killed so many times in their minds that the real thing is a relief.