Don Winslow continues his final book tour with laughter, anecdotes, and tears.    

New York— Don Winslow, on his final book tour, worried he may snap. “It’s a little bit of a bittersweet evening for me,” he told 40 fans at The Mysterious Bookshop in central Manhattan, one of the city's few crime tale bookstores. “I am too macho to cry—tough guy crime writer. But I might.”

Winslow, 70, says his new novel, “City in Ruins,” will be his last. Not sick, burned out, or out of ideas. He has other interests, including defeating Donald Trump, whom he constantly attacks on social media. “What I fear very much is happening in this country,” he says of Trump's possible comeback. I want a more immediate address than a fiction provides.”

He described his regular writing day on Monday: up at 4:45 a.m., coffee, newspapers, and hours of labor. He also thought about the past and how to say farewell, recalling his previous occupations, from private investigator to Kenyan tour guide, and the many publishers that rejected him.

Stopping at the Mysterious Bookshop is special. He has read there many times since promoting his debut novel, “A Cool Breeze on the Underground,” in the early 1990s. He thanked Otto Penzler, the store owner, during the reading. “I think we’re the ones thanking you for being here,” Penzler said. It happened. Windslow chokes, looks away. “I can’t look at Otto,” he says, facing the audience again.

Winslow thinks he should quit immediately. “City in Ruins” completes a 30-year trilogy about dockworker/crime boss/Hollywood investor Danny Ryan, and early reviews are positive. Highly commended, the book is among's top 200. The Washington Post termed “City in Ruins” a “sweeping story that morphs and expands over time.” An Associated Press critic, Bruce Da Silva, a Rhode Island crime novelist like Winslow, called the book a “masterpiece” for its “compelling characters, his vivid prose, and his exploration of universal themes.”

Winslow appreciates the attention but must “graciously get off the stage and make room for other people.” He added, “I am not young.” Winslow has written more than 20 novels, including “Power of the Dog,” “Savages,” and the border saga “The Cartel,” about an El Chapo-like drug lord who escapes just as El Chapo himself escapes prison in 2015, a coincidence so remarkable that Winslow claims his publisher suspected he and El Chapo plotted it.

Winslow, a skinny, earnest man with a dark blazer and matching slacks, can't believe he gets paid for daydreaming and nasty words. He may be buried with “I can’t believe my own luck.” He calls himself “an overnight success” who broke through in his 50s after quitting his multiple day jobs. Recent bestsellers have attracted film and television directors, including Oliver Stone's adaptation of “Savages” and Austin Butler's projected feature based on “City on Fire,” which Ryan wrote.

Penzler admires Winslow and how his research in “The Cartel” and other novels made him feel like he was there with the characters. He questions Winslow's apparent departure. He's heard this tale. “Almost every mystery writer in America has said, ‘I think this is it. I suppose I'm done. Penzler says half the time it's nothing. “Don’s more considerate. He undoubtedly believes this now, but let's speak in five years.”

In a Tuesday phone interview, Winslow acknowledged that not everyone believes he's done. Friends offer him “knowing looks.” Even his wife doubts, he says. But for now, he only wants to oppose Trump. When asked what he would do with his leisure time if Joe Biden wins, he fails to think beyond November.

"I think I'll always write, but not always publish," he says. Ideas are continuously coming to me. This cannot be turned on and off like a light switch. But I'm not tempted to create a novel."

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