Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 18 February 2016
Isle of Joy by Don Winslow
Walter Withers has given the best years of his life to the CIA, setting honey-traps abroad and reeling in the victims of his plots. Now he has returned to Manhatten, and is working as a private investigator. Withers is assigned to bodyguard Senator Keneally’s girlfriend – a simple enough job. But next morning she’s dead – and Withers is the prime suspect.
Set in the late fifties, this novel has a distinct flavour of the Kennedy family’s history, including young presidential hopeful Joe Keneally. To clear his name Withers must take on his old masters from the CIA, as well as J Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Withers runs the risk of falling into a rapidly closing trap, but with the surprising help of a Mafia member and some unofficial help from a some young toughs who work in his building, he plans to slip through the noose lying in wait.
There are interesting sidelines in this novel, including the background of his girlfriend, a night-club singer called Anne, and a poet/writer, who stands in for a certain ‘beat’ writer by the name of Jack Kerouac. I did wonder why we had to have replace the Kennedy’s with the Kenneally’s. But the story is familiar, down to the beautiful blonde actress who comes to a nasty end.
This isn’t my favourite Winslow novel, but it’s a good story and the New York flavour adds a lot of realistic action. For an even better read in the same vein, see his extraordinary and brutal novel: The Power of the Dog. It is a breathtaking book, but it’s not for those disturbed by extreme violence.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 28 October 2012
I enjoyed this earlier work but thought it was a bit slow getting to the nub of the matter. Notwithstanding this the author holds your attention throughout so you are never tempted to skim and are rewarded for your patience with a well told credible story.
Don Winslow's writing is terrific but if you are new to him I'd maybe start with The Power of the Dog or California Fire and Life, both excellent.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 September 2017
Romantic, personal homage to NY and a by-gone genre of crime writing.from a slightly quirky perspective. Thoroughly enjoyed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 December 2008
When an author has their back catalogue republished it is not always a good thing. On some occasions the older books are ones that the author wishes to forget as they are yet to mature as a writer. However, in the case of Don Winslow his reissued books prove that he is one of the best contemporary crime authors around.

`Isle of Joy' is another slice of noir masterwork from Winslow. Unlike his most recent books, which have had modern settings, `Joy' is set in 1958 and it invokes imagery of Capote, Jazz and the Cold War. As is the norm for the author `Joy' is a book that takes its time to rise to the boil. However, Winslow is so effective at creating wonderful sights, sounds and experiences that you wish that even the slowest sections would last forever. Apart from a blip in the overlong American Football section this book is near faultless. With its period setting and lack of extreme action it's not the type of book I would have thought I would have enjoyed. However, Winslow is surly a genius when it comes to crime and he has fast become my all time favourite author.

Do yourself a favour and read this book - or the sublime `Power of the Dog'.

Sammy recommendation
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 May 2015
Reasonable novel, easy read.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 August 2014
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 7 August 2012
Winslow is one of those rare writers that is relatively sparse with prose and yet fully visualises a scene in the mind of the reader. His characters are fully formed, complex, engaging, and have emotional depth. The dialogue is realistic and pitch perfect. The balance between story and back story is just right. And the historical context of McCarthy/Hoover era 1958 is well judged. The Keneallys - the womanising Joe, the protective Jimmy, and the beautiful Madeline, are well realised mimics of the Jack, Bob and Jackie Kennedy, which gives most of the story its seeming authenticity. I loved everything about this book except for the end, which spiralled to the farcical. Winslow tries to take every character in the book and weave them into a sequence which was largely unnecessary except as a narrative device and became more and more improbable. For me this was a shame, as Winslow is undoubtedly a very fine writer and the Isle of Joy was for the main a great read.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 July 2013
Not a typical Winslow novel.
This is very different from other books and a very slow burner. Not finished yet as can't sty awake.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 16 July 2009
My word, what a superb and versatile writer Mr Winslow is! I read the magnificent 'The Power of the Dog' around a month ago, then tackled 'The Dawn Patrol' last week. Impossible to tell they were written by the same author as they are so different in theme and style. This is also the case with 'Isle of Joy' - one of his earlier books.

It's 1958 and Walter Withers is a CIA agent who operates in Sweden. He's a sort of 'whoremaster' - setting-up honey traps in order to implicate the people he's after. Unfortunately he outstays his welcome and is sent back to his home city of New York where he lives with his woman, Anne Blanchard - a notable jazz singer. Walter is ostensibly employed by Forbes & Forbes, an investigative agency, when he's asked to mind a senator's wife - Madelaine Kenneally - at a major shindig in New York. It turns out to be a far from ordinary 'gig' however...

I don't want to give anything of the complex plot away, because I think you should read it yourself to see just how good this marvelous writer is. It begins fairly slowly, then builds and builds as all the various elements of the storyline coalesce. It's also fun spotting the obvious similarities between Madelaine's husband Joe and a certain future US President who was assassinated in 1963.

Winslow brilliantly captures the sophisticated, and sometimes not so sophisticated, jazzy night life of the Big Apple. It's a stylish and ultra clever slice of noir that has at least two or three surprising twists at the end that had me grinning appreciatively: the author tied up EVERY loose end to my intense satisfaction. Walter is a brilliantly drawn character - a very clever man who manages to keep half a dozen plates spinning at the same time and who always has a sophisticated wisecrack at hand to talk his way INTO trouble.

I am now hungry for more Don Winslow and intend seeking out everything else he has written; he's the best "new" author I've discovered in the past two years.

The book's title by the way comes from the lyrics of the old standard 'Manhattan' by Rodgers and Hart.
33 Comments| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 6 August 2014
So far Don Winslow is my favourite read. This book was very different fron the others I've read but a great read. He is a consumate writer & follows no patterns. Loved it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here