Seldom have we seen such universal, unified, overwhelmingly positive response from literary critics to a new novel on the world’s bookshelves as it is the case with Don Winslow’s The Cartel. The long-awaited sequel to The Power of the Dog, the critically acclaimed first installment of the two-part odyssey through the drug wars that plague Mexico and the United States, has finally arrived at bookstores around the globe, and it certainly landed with a bang. The New York Times gave a warm welcome to the “big, sprawling, ultimately stunning crime tableau,” The Arizona Republic went as far as to name it “the most important crime saga of the new millenium,” giving it the nickname of “The Godfather of the recreational-drug generation,” and similarly enthusiastic reaction came from The Herald, which noted that the novel “offers a riveting expose of a modern tragedy” and commended Winslow for offering “an alternative perspective on the accepted history of America’s involvement in the war on drugs.” The Sunday Times, moreover, compared the novel to the modern classic TV show The Wire, which is not only a huge compliment but also tells us a lot about the range, scope and attention to structure and details of Winslow’s latest drug wars exposé.
As much as it’s a delight to read these positive responses given that Winslow put an incredible amount of effort into research required to produce this modern classic, if we were to cite each and every encouraging review of The Cartel published in the last week or so, we could produce a body of text not much shorter than the extremely rich novel itself.
Praises keep on coming, springing out from every corner of the web, but hardly do they come from the literary criticism circles alone. Numerous well-respected representatives of the film and culture community have spoken out on behalf of the novel, urging their online followers to give The Cartel a chance it deserves.
A must read for me was Don Winslow’s THE CARTEL. He’s the best thriller writer around and this is as good As it gets.
— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) June 22, 2015
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) June 2, 2015
Spent the weekend’s nighttime hours sinking into @donwinslow‘s magnificent THE CARTEL. Just as stunning as reviews promised, twice as moving
— Megan Abbott (@meganeabbott) June 22, 2015
100 pages into @donwinslow‘s new one, Cartel. Fucking riveting. Makes other dope war books sound like they were written by Mister Rogers.
— jerry stahl (@somejerrystahl) June 13, 2015
THE CARTEL by @donwinslow absolutely gutted me. Scathing, incendiary, and deeply compelling, it’s every bit as good as POWER OF THE DOG.
— Marcus Sakey (@MarcusSakey) June 14, 2015
— Linwood Barclay (@linwood_barclay) May 19, 2015
. @donwinslow Everyone who finished POWER OF THE DOG and said, “More, please,” may now pick up THE CARTEL and say, “Thank you.”
— Chuck Hogan (@ChuckHogan) May 23, 2015
— Rod Reynolds (@Rod_WR) May 14, 2015
ICYMI: Finished @donwinslow‘s The Cartel. An incredible, gripping, important & phenomenally plotted masterpiece. Easily my book of the year.
— Stav Sherez (@stavsherez) June 15, 2015
If yer lookin for a big fat bloody summer read, I see @donwinslow has dropped an epic with THE CARTEL. One of America's best crime writers.
— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) June 25, 2015
ABOUT THE BOOK
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 Adán Barrera, the head of El Federación, 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.
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