City of Dreams by Don Winslow

The second book in the Winslow trilogy focuses again on Danny Ryan who was forced to flee his hometown after he took some drugs from the Moretti family and then dumped them.

In this book, Danny is offered a second chance – time away from crime and the oportunity to go ‘straight’ although Hollywood movies, which he finds himself in, are probably not the best place to try this. Having asked his crew to keep a low profile, Danny falls in love with a Hollywood star and is splurged all over the papers. This brings him to the attention of those he doesn’t want, and, like a hamster in a wheel, he is back in the destructive world of crime, gangs, drugs and death. The message here is that you can’t ever really escape.

The ending is unusual. Danny eats magic mushrooms and sees his dead family and friends all with a message for him. Written with no punctuation to give us a sense of floating from one idea to another, it was not the sort of ending I expected. Like a scene in a film, it seemed as if Danny was going to go down in flames but I wanted him to get out of the ‘life’ and to live happily ever after. I doubt that is going to happen even in the final book.

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