A superb Don Winslow trilogy concludes with ‘City of Ruins’  

Murder, vengeance, corruption, power, justice, and redemption were all themes that contemporary crime fiction explores, according to novelist Don Winslow's early reading of Aeschylus, the Greek progenitor of literary plays. He recently said that the notion of writing a trilogy of contemporary crime novels based on the old tales had become an obsession of his.  

He labored on the massive undertaking in breaks and goes over the past 30 years, occasionally despairing but never giving up, all the while cranking out a string of novels that includes some of the greatest crime novels ever written.  

"City of Ruins" is the last installment in his series about Danny Ryan, a former Rhode Island mobster turned gambling tycoon in Las Vegas. As Winslow devotes his tremendous abilities to political engagement, it is also expected to be the final novel he will ever write.  

"City on Fire" (2021) was the first of a trilogy that followed Ryan and a small group of friends as they escaped Providence, Rhode Island, following their defeat in a gang battle at the hands of the Italian Mafia. "City of Dreams" (2023) picked up where it left off, following Ryan's futile attempts to start over in Hollywood.  

In the first scene of "City in Ruins," we see an elderly Ryan working as an unseen accomplice in two casinos in Sin City. A man who had a life of crime in Providence is now filthy rich beyond his wildest dreams, but that hasn't stopped him from wanting more. He doesn't understand. Is it avarice? No. Disregard that.  

Tell the truth, he advises. To you, more money equals power, and when you have power, you are safe. Being sufficiently safe is an elusive goal. Here on Earth, no.  Never mind; the FBI and the Italian mafia aren't gone yet, and they're determined to get him for all the wrongs he did. Because of the lives he has taken.  

He plans to construct a magnificent gambling resort on a prime piece of strip real estate in Las Vegas, but he runs into trouble with the city's powerful, including a rival casino owner with mob ties.  

Old foes will soon be circling as well. Danny tries his best to keep the power struggle from being violent, but a string of errors causes shots to fly, putting his life and the lives of everyone he cares about in jeopardy, along with his gambling empire.  

Although "City in Ruins" stands on its own, readers will get the most out of the trilogy if they start at the beginning. Winslow has created a modern crime fiction masterwork with his captivating characters, rich style, and examination of universal issues.  

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