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BOOK REVIEW: The Cartel by Don Winslow

BOOK REVIEW: The Cartel by Don Winslow

Epic. Dark. Realistic.

I was amazed at how true to life this story seemed. I have no personal experience in the cartel world, but what little I know seems to coincide with this narrative. If not for the voice and distinctive style of fiction, you would wonder if this was not a compilation of memoirs.

The ending was satisfying the way I hoped it would be. After a 600 page juggernaut of literary achievement, a clean, plausible, and climactic finale is expected. Few deliver as well with stakes this high.

Publisher’s Description:

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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