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Reviews for City In Ruins

by Don Winslow

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023). Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels. If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Winslow (City of Dreams) concludes his Danny Ryan trilogy—and his career as a novelist—with an addictive finale that charts the Rhode Island mobster turned Las Vegas casino mogul’s turbulent business dealings and deadly feuds. In 1997, Ryan has relocated from California to Sin City, using millions of dollars of stolen cartel money to buy his way into the thriving Tara Group corporation. As director of hotel operations, Ryan owns two leading properties on the Strip, with ambitions to build a third: his elegant dream hotel, Il Sogno. When Ryan’s chief rival, Vernon Winegard, bids on a crumbling 1950s relic in a prime location for Il Sogno, Ryan slyly undermines the sale, blocking Vernon’s plans to dominate the Strip. Retaliatory moves from Vernon, together with FBI subdirector Regina Moneta’s relentless efforts to get revenge on Ryan for his role in the death of her lover 10 years earlier, soon demolish his hotelier dreams and turn his days into a gory fight for survival. Bolstered by careful plotting and meticulous attention to character, Winslow’s ambitious narrative culminates with an exhilarating climax that beautifully wraps up the series’ many plot threads. It’s a fitting swan song from a giant of crime fiction. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (Apr.)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

If this really is Winslow’s final novel, as he’s said it will be, then he’s going out on a high note. The follow-up to City on Fire (2021) and City of Dreams (2023) showcases everything that makes Winslow a spectacular writer: brilliantly realized characters, dialogue that rings true, and a story that explores the darkness that exists within each of us. Here, Danny Ryan—who, in the trilogy’s first entry, was forced to head a Rhode Island criminal empire—is now a billionaire casino owner in Las Vegas with a family to boot. He hopes his days fighting turf wars are behind him, but he ruffles feathers when he makes a bid to buy an old hotel. Unprepared for the catastrophic events that follow and the revenge sought by figures from his past, he must once again fight, and this time he’s protecting not only himself but his child, too. Clearing the veneer of civility to reveal his characters’ animal instincts, Winslow concludes his remarkable literary career with an exciting thrill ride for readers.