Monday, July 21, 2014

Returning to the scene of the crime: POWER OF THE DOG by Don Winslow

The Power of the DogFrom the back of the book
Drug lord Miguel Angel Barrera is head of the Mexican drug cartel, responsible for millions of dollars worth of cocaine traffic into the US and the torture of those who stand in its way. His nephew, Adan Barrera, is his worthy successor.

Art Keller is a US government operative, so determined to obtain revenge for a murdered colleague that his pursuit of the cartel veers dangerously towards an obsession outside the law. This is a world characterised by its brutality, yet all Winslow's incredibly varied cast - including a high class prostitute, an Irish hitman and a charismatic Catholic priest - are all in their own ways searching for salvation. 
My Review
Epic in story and substance, THE POWER OF THE DOG is the crime equivalent of a broad spanning fantasy novel. Told over a thirty year time frame, Winslow's masterful tale of cross border drug running, corrupt cops, and gangsters is much more than a bloody swipe at alphabet agency politicking, with themes comprising vengeance, betrayal, misguided justice, and the illusion of redemption rife.

Through Art Keller, Winslow delivers a rich and deeply satisfying plot driven by a tainted protagonist whose moral compass is as skewed as the fractured blue line that policies the borderline war on drugs.

One of the strengths of THE POWER OF THE DOG is the mutli faceted characters. The reader gets to see them grow with each predicament they face. Be it Nora or Callan, who they start out as is vastly different from the person they grow to be. As a reader it's nice to go on a journey with the characters irrespective of the setting.

From the bowels of the Mexican drug cartel to the sunny blood encrusted sand on US soil, Art wheels and deals in the lives of innocents and gangsters alike in his quest for vengeance. It's a violent ploy that is the catalyst for many plot threads, all culminating in an entertaining and wholly addictive read that truly is unputdownable.

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