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The Cartel (Hardcover)

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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



From the internationally best-selling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog comes The Cartel, a gripping, true-to-life, ripped-from-the-headlines epic story of power, corruption, revenge, and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars.

It's 2004. DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adan Barrera, the head of El Federacion, the world's most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller's partner. Finally putting Barrera away cost Keller dearly--the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, the life he wants to lead.

Then Barrera gets out, determined to rebuild the empire that Keller shattered. Unwilling to live in a world with Barrera in it, Keller goes on a ten-year odyssey to take him down. His obsession with justice--or is it revenge?--becomes a ruthless struggle that stretches from the cities, mountains, and deserts of Mexico to Washington's corridors of power to the streets of Berlin and Barcelona.
Keller fights his personal battle against the devastated backdrop of Mexico's drug war, a conflict of unprecedented scale and viciousness, as cartels vie for power and he comes to the final reckoning with Barrera--and himself--that he always knew must happen.

The Cartel is a story of revenge, honor, and sacrifice, as one man tries to face down the devil without losing his soul. It is the story of the war on drugs and the men--and women--who wage it.

About the Author

Don Winslow is the critically acclaimed, award-winning, internationally bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Power of the Dog, Savages, The Winter of Frankie Machine and The Cartel. A former investigator, anti-terrorist trainer and trial consultant, Winslow lives in Southern California. www.don-winslow.com
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101874998
ISBN-10: 1101874996
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Pages: 640
Language: English