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The Death and Life of Bobby Z

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,377 ratings  ·  111 reviews
When born loser Tim Kearney murdered a Hell's Angel, he didn't have a choice. Now, sentenced to life without parole in a prison full of the Angel's vengeful buddies, he doesn't have a chance.

Then the Feds make him an offer: impersonate the late, legendary drug lord Bobby Z and allow himself to be delivered to a Mexican kingpin in exchange for a kidnapped agent. If the deal
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published December 15th 1998 by Knopf (first published 1997)
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Paul Nelson
I listened to the audio version of The Death and the Life of Bobby Z mainly just to get a feel for the author before I tackle the considerably heftier The Power of the Dog. This book was of course turned into the film of the same name staring the late Paul Walker, so it’s always interesting to compare the two.

Currently serving a life sentence without parole, decorated Gulf War veteran Tim Kearney gets a poisoned chalice of an offer from the DEA to impersonate the notorious and now dead drug smug
Losers don't get dreams, losers have to settle for real life

And Tim Kearney is your quintessential loser in Don Winslow's relentless, fast-paced noir thriller.

Bobby Z is a Laguna Beach legend; surfer, drug dealer, all round cool guy and as it happens has a doppelganger in three time felon and dishonourably discharged marine Tim Kearney. DEA agents want to utilise Kearney's looks to fool a Mexican drug cartel but nothing goes to plan for anyone in the ensuing cross country flight/blood bath.

Lance Charnes
Jan 01, 2014 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of truly bad behavior
Shelves: fiction-crime
The Death and Life of Bobby Z is the book that started Don Winslow on his “drugs in Laguna” series, which isn’t actually a series as much as an attitude and state of mind that led eventually to Savages and its prequel.

Tim Kearney is a three-time loser who gets fished out of a certain-death trip back to prison by a DEA agent who gives him an offer he can’t refuse: impersonate legendary Laguna Beach dope dealer Bobby Z and let himself get traded to a Mexican drug cartel in exchange for a kidnapped
Winslow sets up an interesting premise from the start, and stuffing the book full of crazy characters puts me in mind of what might have happened had Elmore Leonard and Christopher Moore collaborated on a SoCal story. Funny, thrilling, and wild, but with a slightly gooey center for the saps in all of us.
This is a fast-paced, action packed, funny read...with even time for some touching moments. I can see why this was made into a movie, because it sure had that movie pace. The legend of Bobby Z was a wild ride.
Craig Pittman
A fun, fizzy thriller that starts off at a gallop and rarely lets up the pace. Tim Kearney, a decorated Marine with a serious impulse control problem, is serving some serious prison time when he kills a biker who'd threatened him. Now he's facing certain death inside prison from the biker's pals. So a DEA agent offers him a deal: Impersonate a legendary drug dealer whom he resembles, enabling the DEA to trade him to a Mexican drug lord in exchange for a captured DEA agent. After that he's free t ...more
This was the 2nd book I've read by Don Winslow and I'm already thinking about what book of his to read next! His books are just so much fun to read, with crazy plots, wild characters, lots of action, suspense and violence, but with just enough humor to make light of the "heavy" and the "dark".
In this story, a small town criminal, Tim Kearney, gets a life sentence for slitting the throat of a Hell's Angel, while in jail. The DEA makes Tim an offer to impersonate a well known drug smuggler, known
Tim Niland
Tim Kearney is a three time loser looking at the prospect of life in the California prison system or a shank in the back when a bright spark at the DEA realizes that he looks an awful lot like the recently deceased enigmatic drug kingpin called Bobby Z. The feds make a deal, they will release Kearney and then trade him in the guise of Bobby Z. to Mexican drug lords who don't know the truth about the real Z. If all this sounds a little too preposterous to make a good story, it gets even wilder wh ...more
After reading Windslow's Dawn Patrol and Savages, anything that this author writes has my attention. It was written in 97 and probably was at a earlier period in his career. Definitely a fun read, but not quite up to the realism of the former two books mentioned.

The plot device is a familiar rehash of a three time loser in prison who is offered his freedom to impersonate a big time drug dealer who has supposedly died. The dialogue is filled with the right blend of racism and street sense to mak
Frederick Bingham
A book in the style of Carl Hiassen. A thriller set in southern California, San Diego, Orange County Beaches, the desert. Tim Kearney is a loser who has committed his third strike and is on the way to prison for the rest of his life. Fortuitously for him, he looks like a drug dealer (Bobby Z.) that has just died in custody. A Mexican drug lord wants to swap the look-alike for a DEA agent that he has in custody. The DEA picks out Kearney to play the part of Bobby Z and exchanges him. Unfortunatel ...more
Big, goofy fun. Silly and violent. This book hits the ground running and never lets up. To the point of complete and utter ridiculousness, but still a stunning achievement in terms of just pace.

I'm sure if I looked at the blurbs on the back, they would include such words as: "adrenalin" or "whiplash" or "non-stop thrill ride". All of which describe the story.

Ask me in a couple of weeks, and I'll probably remember the smile on my face as I read the book more than the book itself. But I will remem
It was nice to see that Winslow can write without all chill-bro dudeness that worked so well in the Dawn Patrol books and went so terribly wrong in Savages. There are still some 'like, totally rad' Winslowisms, but he strikes a nice balance in Bobby Z. I really dug it, but I might just be a sucker for the touching Tim/Kit relationship. Winslow is very good at creating characters that you really care about, which helps make memorable stories out of yarns that would otherwise be too light and thro ...more
Having thoroughly enjoyed Winslow's novel, The Winter of Frankie Machine, I bought his first book, The Death and Life of Bobby Z. I wasn't disappointed. It's a twisted tale of deception. Sent to prison for a B&E, protagonist Tim Kearney kills a fellow prisoner. Not just any prisoner, a Hell's Angel. Now Tim's in real trouble, facing a murder charge.

But DEA agents make him an offer he can't refuse. They need someone to impersonate a Mexican drug lord named Bobby Z. Tim figures what could go
Leon Aldrich
It is obvious to me Don Winslow has far too many muses flitting around his shoulders. Come one Don, leave some good stories for others to tell. You shouldn't get all the glory.
Don Winslow è autore di uno dei libri che negli ultimi anni più mi hanno divertito e emozionato, quel Poeter del Cane che dipinge un affresco maestoso nella storia della guerra al narcotraffico che gli Stati Uniti (o alcune cellule impazzite dei loro servizi) hanno intrapreso contro il cartello dei messicani. Un opera eccezionale che, necessariamente, è pietra diparagone di ogni altro suo libro. Se L'inverno di Frankie Machine e la Pattuglia dell'alba sono mlto carini, non allo stesso livello so ...more
Fast and furious fun! Elmore Leonard on Speed. This is a classic Don Winslow from 1997. Read in a day it was a terrific story with swagger and style. Highly recommended.
Lukasz Pruski
What an entertaining book! Its hero is a former Marine, a three-strike convict, and a total loser, Tim Kearney, who hasn’t ever been able to commit a crime without messing up (to use a nice word). When a DEA agent gives him a chance of avoiding life in prison (or rather death in prison as Hell’s Angels are bent on killing Tim) by impersonating a dead legendary surfer (and pot distributor), Bobby Z, Tim jumps at the opportunity. But soon hundreds of people want to kill him for various reasons and ...more
Sam Quixote
Bobby Z, a legend of drug dealing West Coast cool, dies suddenly leaving behind a trail of broken lives and missing pieces, one of which involves a Mexican drug lord and a Federal agent taken hostage. This is the cue for Tim Kearney, lookalike to Bobby Z, to step in and work for the Federal government to get back the agent from the drug lord. Only it's not that simple. Kearney is a three time loser, busted thrice for breaking and entering - can he pull of the Prince/Pauper transformation and tri ...more
Winslow, Don - standalone

When Tim Kearney, a small-time criminal, slits the throat of a Hell's Angel and draws a life sentence in a prison full of gang members, he knows he’s pretty much a dead man. That’s until the DEA makes Kearney an offer: impersonate the late, legendary dope smuggler Bobby Z so that the agency can trade him for one of their own, who was captured by a Mexican drug kingpin. Knowing his chances of survival are a little better than in prison, K
This book hums like few short, crime books I've read. This is when D. Winslow was at the top of his game. Not that he still isn't, but this book is like a Red Bull of prose. And the structure is genius. I loved this read so much I've read it twice since. I rarely do that unless I want to study structure or prose, but I'll be damned if every time I don't get sucked in when I read it.

Fast, furious and literary crime read. Hard to find; hard to put down.
Fast paced and full of some wicked fun. I read this book since it was available and I hardly get to find Don Wilson books (a lot of libraries won't carry him, too riskee of a subject matter some times for them, hell Savages was in the Erotica section at a local bookstore) and I truly enjoyed it. It reminded me that this book was a movie with Paul Walker I'd ignored in previous years but I enjoyed it so much I had to see the movie. Based on how I felt about it, the movie I mean, and that it went ...more
Mark Louderback
This was really a good book. I had the author recommended to me by Mark Greaney of Grey Man fame. He mentioned that Don had written Savages — so I checked my library to see what book we had.

(spoiler) What I liked about Bobby Z was the Loser Gone Good element. It just cheers my heart to see someone turn their life around — and even more-so to see them turn it around because of the love of a child. Perhaps some would see this as a bit hard to believe — but I think the author laid in a pretty good
Read as a library e-pub. Assume you got the plot outline elsewhere. I usually strongly like Winslow. But this was mostly violent episodes strung together with not much plot and quite a body count. Also, too many sociopathic Mexican drug dealers, although complicit American drug enforcers provide some balance.
Travis Richardson
This is a fun, hilarious, adrenaline paced, and totally unpredictable page-turner. Winslow has created a wholly unique and lovable convict, Tim Kearney. Tim is a loser with a lifetime of bad luck and low self-esteem, but he also has the deadly skills of an ex-marine and possesses a solid core of decency. Pulled out of prison to imitate the legendary and elusive Orange County drug dealer Bobby Z for a hostage exchange between the DEA and Mexican drug dealers, Tim manages to survive numerous attem ...more
I really like reading Winslow's books. They are tons of fun and have great twists and turns. However, this is his second book where I am not at all sold on the characters motivation. This book is about a guy who has just murdered a Hell's Angel big shot in jail so the DEA gives him this very sketchy offer to switch places with a dead guy. He was beat by his dad growing up and spent most of his life in jail or in the marines, but when he has a chance to escape from it all, he goes back for a kid ...more
It's been some time since I watched the movie, before I read my first Don Winslow novel. So far I haven't read any novel of his that wasn't great to excellent. Bobby Z is no exception. Oh, and of course the novel is way better than the movie.
-Noir desde el puro entretenimiento.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. Cuando el ex marine y delincuente de medio pelo Tim Kearney mata en prisión a un Ángel del Infierno, en lugar de empeorar su condena termina por entrar en un plan de la DEA que implica que Tim se haga pasar por el legendario narcotraficante Bobby Z (con el que guarda un increíble parecido) para infiltrarse en una peligrosa y poderosa organización en la que hasta ahora no se han tenido éxitos policiales.

¿Quiere saber más de e
This wasn't my favorite Winslow book... one of the things that I have enjoyed about his other books is that the plot is generally very tight with few or any plot holes. I was going to give this 2 stars but one of the major plot holes was patched up toward the end, though it was left open for way too long and if this had been my first Winslow book I probably would have rolled my eyes and put the book down toward the beginning.

The surf-guy narrative style that he uses in many of his books was way
Raro de Concurso
Pues la historia tampoco es una cosa del otro mundo: el típico antihéroe, un convicto con poco seso y mala suerte, que tiene que hacerse pasar por un traficante de drogas en una operación de la DEA, y que se embarca en una serie de persecuciones con un niño a su cargo :p Luego resulta que no tiene tan poco seso como cree, y además es un cacho de pan, y mejor padre.

El caso es que el autor lo cuenta de una manera trepidante, divertida y entretenida. De hecho, podría ser el guión de una peli de Tar
Joanne Parkington
Loved it ... Don Winslow is my new GOD!! Read's like a screenplay & play's like a film in your mind .. absolutely great character's, no fannying around with the story just straight down to business .. a top, top read .. back catalogue has been ordered!!
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Un Winslow d'Annata che non delude 1 3 Sep 05, 2014 04:13AM  
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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death An
More about Don Winslow...
Savages The Power of the Dog The Kings of Cool The Winter of Frankie Machine The Dawn Patrol (Boone Daniels #1)

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