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Neal Carey Books In Order

Publication Order of Neal Carey Books

A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Trail to Buddha's Mirror (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Way Down on the High Lonely (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Long Walk Up the Water Slide (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
While Drowning in the Desert (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The Neal Carey (Series by Don Winslow) is simply a breath of fresh air. Neal has proven to be a strong character and one that is around to stay. Neal begins as street urchin that has lost the mother struggling to survive. Neal encounters a life changing experience after he tries to pick pocket Joe Graham; an easy looking target thanks to his one arm and dwarfed stature. It is the best mistake Neal does. Joe is a well seasoned detective with a list of credentials under his belt. Joe busts Neal and in a turn of events decides to take Neal under his wing both as a trainer and guardian. Joe is not your everyday detective as he works for a group of wealthy individuals belonging to the Kitteridge family bank. Joe decides to bring in Neal as a protégé in the family business also known as Friends of the Family’. He soon realizes that Neal is a natural.

The shadowy organization known as friends of the family has unique tasks all offered to the wealthy members of the bank. The rich families need the organization to sort issues for them that will otherwise not go away with a simple payment. These include missing family members, run away loved ones and the likes. The organization in turn offers Neil what he wants most, a good education. Neal is a bookworm and is studying ancient literature, a subject matter he loves. The father-son relationship between Joe and Neal is perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of the series due to the fact that it is not usual. Neal’s studies are however interrupted by phone calls from his handler once in a while needing him to put his talents to work. He has been trained by Joe on the art of following people without being noticed and leaving an inspected room without any trace of him being there. Neal seems to use his talents to get through school while Joe seems to use the same to get work done for his clients.

The Neal series begin with A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1990), The Trail to Buddha’s Mirror (1992) and Way Down on the High Lonely (1994) among others. The series of books are set all over the world making them an intriguing path to follow: Right from New York, China to London. The fact that all the books are set in the 70s has also provided a really huge opportunity for the books to spread their wings. One of the best notions about the series is the realistic way the characters are woven into the plot. A vast knowledge of the era provides the reader with a sense of noir mixed with a fresh breath of cultural revolutions that were taking place in the years. Neal’s background from the streets seems to keep him alive in many situations which is one more reason why Joe graham took him in. A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1990) has also been produced as a movie by New Line Cinema. The movie done in 2008 was directed by Eric Bess and Nick Stahl played Neal Carey.

A Cool Breeze on the Underground (1990 starts with the usual phone call from Joe Graham instructing Neal about a case. The usually reluctant P.I has no choice but to put his studies on hold and work. The year is 1976 and Jimmy Carter looks likely to win the presidential nomination for the democrats. All is well except that he needs a running mate. The best he can find is the Rhode Island senator, John Chase. The glitch however is that the senator’s problematic daughter has run away to London. Neil’s job is to bring her back in time for the convention. The seat is otherwise at risk. Neil embarks on the journey feeding the reader a series of streetwise remarks and banter to take in. Neil arrives in London to begin his search. The age brings forth the birth of punch rock along with the anarchy of youth. The senator’s daughter has dropped into the darkest London alleys thanks to drug use and immoral obsessions. This brings about dangerous encounters that Neal has to us his trained and streetwise survival skills to deal. The Senator’s teenage daughter seems to have a mind of her own even after being found. She is unwilling to go back home. It is book full of intrigue and twists that only the reader can appreciate; one of the reasons why Don Winslow is a respected writer when it comes to investigative novels.

The Trail to Buddha’s Mirror (1992) is yet another intriguing book by Don Winslow. The book doesn’t carry as many flash backs as the first. Neil gets a phone call from Graham that takes him all the way to china in search of a biochemist. The organization has special interest with the biochemist and wants him to get back to work. Robert Pendleton aborted his job as a biochemist and Agro fertilizer expert to pursue love. This is something Neil does not understand until he meets the luring and intriguing Li Lan.

What seemed to be a job for the golden gates of the city takes him to the dangerous backyards of Hong Kong. The writer gives us a detailed picturesque look of China during the Cultural Revolution. It also brings to light the Chinese overpopulation and pollution issues to light. The CIA, Maoist separatists and Chinese triads are not left out. Neal soon realizes that the couple is also on the run after an attempt on their lives. He ends up trapped in the walled up slums of China only to be saved by Li Lan. The story takes a dangerous turn proving that there is more to Pendleton than his expertise on chemicals. He will have to find a way of bringing back the reluctant scientist while dealing with undesirable characters from the slums of Hong Kong. The snappy conversations have not been left out keeping the readers intrigued by the plot. The book is full of impressive twists that make Don the intelligent writer that he is today.

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