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The Cartel (Paperback)

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JB Recommends:

Don Winslow’s books are always terrific. But there are two that are a step above terrific, and he’ll be here to sign them.

Back in 2005, he published The Power of the Dog, an opus about the bloody drug violence along the US/Mexico border. He concentrated on three figues – Art Keller of the DEA and the Barrera brothers who run the most powerful cartel south of the border.  It was a heartbreaking book, following these characters as stand-ins for larger horror of the drug war. The toll the war takes on them and their loved ones mirrors the toll it has taken on the countries.  One reviewer refered to it as a ‘biblical’ saga, and I think that’s right. If it were to have been filmed, it would have to have been tackled by Lean or Coppala.

Now he’s returned to this despoiled and destroyed land with The Cartel, and the personal war between Keller and Adán Barrera. Both carry on a crusade to stop the other with any means possible and to kill the other in the end. Can they? The book is filled with scheming and maneuvering, with double-crosses and duplicity, as they dance toward one another, lying to themselves and deceiving anyone they need to to meet their ends. Around them swirls the corruption and infighting endemic to such a battle. As the leaders take their worlds into warfair, the collateral damage is catastrophic, inevitably.

The wonderment of the book is that these two figures are neither angels nor demons. It is a remarkable achievement that Winslow has crafted such fully sculpted humans out of words. And his words are clear and cutting, leaving no one – not Mexico and not the US – spared of guilt for the death and horror. About a narcothug’s send-off he writes:“Alberto’s funeral was ridiculous, a display of hypocrisy that would have made a Louisiana televangelist blush.”

The Cartel covers the last decade of the border’s war on drugs – the kidnappings, the beheadings, the bombings and firefights. Death and destruction and doom. Storylines will sound familiar to you if you’ve been paying attention to the news. There’s a nauseating déjà vu to the book in that as bad as things are as the novel opens, you know it is going to get much, much worse. No one can get out of the horror. No one can escape.“Satan can only tempt you with what you already have.”  There is just too much money at stake, too much power, and too much hatred.

Winslow spares no one – not the gunmen, not the cartel lords, not the DEA, not the police, the governments, the users, and not us readers. He shows us what has happened and, inevitably, what will continue. There’s no past or future, in The Cartel, there is just whatis.“He’s heard it said that life is a river, that the past flows downstream. It isn’t true – if it flows, it flows through the blood in your veins. You can no more cut yourself away from the past than you can cut out your own heart.”

Read The Cartel, it’s a killer of a story, beautiful, bloody and belligerently brave. It will be in your face and in your head where it deserves to be. But read The Power of the Dog first. Read it now so you can start reading The Cartel as soon as he’s signed your hardcover.

— JB



A New York Times Critics' Pick * The Seattle Times * The Denver Post * The Washington Post * Publishers Weekly * Amazon * National Post (Toronto) * The Guardian * New Statesman * The Telegraph * The Sunday Times (London) * The Daily Mail * The Mail on Sunday

It's 2004. Adan Barrera, kingpin of El Federacion, is languishing in a California federal prison. Ex-DEA agent Art Keller passes his days in a monastery, having lost everything to his thirty-year blood feud with the drug lord. Then Barrera escapes. Now, there's a two-million-dollar bounty on Keller's head and no one else capable of taking Barrera down. As the carnage of the drug war reaches surreal new heights, the two men are locked in a savage struggle that will stretch from the mountains of Sinaloa to the shores of Veracruz, to the halls of power in Washington, ensnaring countless others in its wake. Internationally bestselling author Don Winslow's The Cartel is the searing, unfiltered epic of the drug war in the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Bestselling author Don Winslow has written nineteen books and numerous short stories, as well as writing for television and film. A former private investigator and trial consultant, Winslow lives in Southern California. www.don-winslow.com
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101873748
ISBN-10: 1101873744
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Publication Date: May 31st, 2016
Pages: 640
Language: English