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The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog (2005) is an action-packed crime novel by Don Winslow. I really got into this one—the perfect read while on vacation. Winslow put together a long, complex plot with remarkable precision, interweaving umpteen story arcs shared at various points by a slew of strong, memorable characters. Centered around the DEA's involvement with the War on Drugs, it follows several main characters: DEA agent Art Keller, drug trafficker Adán Barrera, sophisticated prostitute Nora Hayden, Irish mobster Sean Callan, Cardinal Juan Parada, and some others. Winslow masterfully blends historical events with fiction, so well that you might be left wondering which is which at times. He's also a master at building up toward thrills, many of them extremely violent; it feels like waves coming at you in the pitch dark, each with a swell and a peak. You can sense them, and know they'll keep coming, but you have to wait to find out how big they'll be and how much of a crash they'll make. With a mere handful of words, or even a line of just three or four, the plot can twist and snap. It's lengthy, at around 500 pages, but at the end I immediately wanted more. Looking forward to reading The Power of the Dog's sequel, The Cartel (2015), and apparently there are plans for Ridley Scott to direct a series based on the two novels. Awesome.


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