Crime novelist has soft spot for local libraries


“My father was a sailor who loved books. My mother was a librarian who loved to sail.” So said best-selling author Don Winslow in his opening remarks on March 11 at the Rancho Santa Fe Library. He was there to talk about his latest book, The Border, the final installment of his “Cartel Series” crime novels. And while he did speak expansively on the themes of his book—drug trafficking, Mexican cartels—he gave equal time to tout the importance of libraries.

“Anyone, no matter economic status, gender or class can walk in to a library,” he said. It was a message well-received by the crowd, who murmured in agreement as he reminisced about his childhood, when books transported him to other places and times.

“Years before I could afford to go anywhere, I could go anywhere,” he said.

Winslow grew up in Perryville, Rhode Island, has lived in New York, Kenya and China, and now resides in Julian, Calif.

The Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe hosted Winslow as part of its partnership with Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla. Guild Executive Director Sara Shafer said she was delighted that he took the time to highlight community libraries. The guild is in the midst of its “Redo the Roof” campaign, to raise funds for a new leakproof roof. Winslow’s talk took place right outside the children’s library, where many books have been damaged or destroyed from rain.

“It was wonderful to have Winslow speak, and especially wonderful that he spoke about his love of libraries,” Shafer said.

The guild has so far raised $75,000 of a needed $100,000 for the new roof. To donate, please go to