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The Power of the Dog

Cover of The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

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From the bestselling author of Savages (now an Oliver Stone film). An explosive novel of the drug trade, The Power of the Dog, takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and...More
From the bestselling author of Savages (now an Oliver Stone film). An explosive novel of the drug trade, The Power of the Dog, takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and...More
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Description-
  • From the bestselling author of Savages (now an Oliver Stone film).

    An explosive novel of the drug trade, The Power of the Dog, takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge.

    Art Montana is an obsessive DEA agent. The Barrera brothers are heirs to a drug empire. Nora Hayden is a jaded teenager who becomes a high-class hooker. Father Parada is a powerful and uncorruptable Catholic priest. Callan is an Irish kid from Hell's kitchen who grows up to be a merciless hitman. And they are all trapped in the world of the Mexican drug Federación. From the streets of New York City to Mexico City and Tiajuana to the jungles of Central America, this is the war on drugs like you've never seen it.

Excerpts-
  • From the book Badiraguato DistrictState of Sinaloa
    Mexico
    1975


    The poppies burn.

    Red blossoms, red flames.

    Only in hell, Art Keller thinks, do flowers bloom fire.

    Art sits on a ridge above the burning valley. Looking down is like peering into a steaming soup bowl--he can't see clearly through the smoke, but what he can make out is a scene from hell.

    Hieronymus Bosch does the War on Drugs.

    Campesinos--Mexican peasant farmers--trot in front of the flames, clutching the few possessions they could grab before the soldiers put the torch to their village. Pushing their children in front of them, the campesinos carry sacks of food, family photographs bought at great price, some blankets, some clothes. Their white shirts and straw hats--stained yellow with sweat--make them ghost-like in the haze of smoke.

    Except for the clothes, Art thinks, it could be Vietnam.

    He's half-surprised, glancing at the sleeve of his own shirt, to see blue denim instead of army green. Reminds himself that this isn't Operation Phoenix but Operation Condor, and these aren't the bamboo-thick mountains of I Corps, but the poppy-rich mountain valleys of Sinaloa.

    And the crop isn't rice, it's opium.

    Art hears the dull bass whop-whop-whop of helicopter rotors and looks up. Like a lot of guys who were in Vietnam, he finds the sound evocative. Yeah, but evocative of what? he asks himself, then decides that some memories are better left buried.

    Choppers and fixed-wing planes circle overhead like vultures. The airplanes do the actual spraying; the choppers are there to help protect the planes from the sporadic AK-47 rounds fired by the remaining gomeros--opium growers--who still want to make a fight of it. Art knows too well that an accurate burst from an AK can bring down a chopper. Hit it in the tail rotor and it will spiral down like a broken toy at a kid's birthday party. Hit the pilot, and, well . . . So far they've been lucky and no choppers have been hit. Either the gomeros are just bad shots, or they're not used to firing on helicopters.

    Technically, all the aircraft are Mexican--officially, Condor is a Mexican show, a joint operation between the Ninth Army Corps and the State of Sinaloa--but the planes were bought and paid for by the DEA and are flown by DEA contract pilots, most of them former CIA employees from the old Southeast Asia crew. Now there's a tasty irony, Keller thinks--Air America boys who once flew heroin for Thai warlords now spray defoliants on Mexican opium.

    The DEA wanted to use Agent Orange, but the Mexicans had balked at that. So instead they are using a new compound, 24-D, which the Mexicans feel comfortable with, mostly, Keller chuckles, because the gomeros were already using it to kill the weeds around the poppy fields.

    So there was a ready supply.

    Yeah, Art thinks, it's a Mexican operation. We Americans are just down here as "advisers."

    Like Vietnam.

    Just with different ball caps.

    The American War on Drugs has opened a front in Mexico. Now ten thousand Mexican army troops are pushing through this valley near the town of Badiraguato, assisting squadrons of the Municipal Judicial Federal Police, better known as the federales, and a dozen or so DEA advisers like Art. Most of the soldiers are on foot; others are on horseback, like vaqueros driving cattle in front of them. Their orders are simple: Poison the poppy fields and burn the remnants, scatter the gomeros like dry leaves in a hurricane. Destroy the source of heroin here in the Sinaloan mountains of western Mexico.

    The Sierra Occidental has the best combination of altitude, rainfall and soil...
About the Author-
  • Don Winslow has worked as a private investigator in London, New York City, and elsewhere in the United States, and as a consultant to law firms and insurance companies for more than fifteen years.


    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Reviews-
  • James Ellroy, author of The Cold Six Thousand

    "An express train of a thriller that cannot be put down. . . . One of this year's finest novels." --The Baltimore Sun"A pit bull of a book. Once unleashed, this thriller . . . charges and attacks without mercy, shredding anyone in its path. . . . A well-tuned plot, driving rhythm, intelligence and a touch of politics. . . . A page turner." --The Washington Post"Powerful. . . . A heartbreaking chronicle of the drug wars between the U.S. and Mexico, which is biblical in its dramatic scope and in the classic beauty of its prose rumbling in the background like heavenly thunder." --The Chicago Tribune "A rippingly good thriller. . . . It fumes, it smokes, it burns; it soars, it pitches, it cascades along." --The Dallas Morning News"The war on drugs is powerfully dramatized in Winslow's ambitious, dense and gritty latest . . . Winslow's depth of research and unflagging attention to detail give the story both heft and immediacy, and his staccato, present-tense prose shifts easily among wildly disparate settings and multiple points of view. A complex plot, well-drawn characters and plenty of double-crossing make this a thinking person's narco-thriller."--Publishers Weekly"This book comes at you like a champion boxer, deft and probing, and bristling with menace. Aiming for both the head and the gut, it connects solidly with every punch."--Dan Fesperman, author of The Warlord's Son"The Power of the Dog is the most compelling crime novel I've read in several years. It's sharply written, vertiginously fast, and best of all it's about something. In the unholy trinity of narcotics, dollars and politics Winslow has located our heart of darkness. This is a spectacular novel, disturbing and unforgettable."--T. Jefferson Parker, author of California Girl"With an epic's scope and a freight train's rush, The Power of the Dog is an absolute page-turner. I couldn't put it down and I was sorry when it ended. As always, Don Winslow delivers!"--S.J. Rozan, author of Absent Friends "From the heart-wrenching very first sentence I was hooked. A soaring, blazing saga of the real drug world, it is masterly, moving, and compassionate: an instant classic. It's been a long wait since Winslow's wondrous California Fire and Life. Was it worth the wait? Was it ever, and then some."--Ken Bruen, author of The Killing of the Tinkers "Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog is a great read. Intricate, powerful, and fierce, it takes the reader into the moral labyrinth of the international drug trade and the men who lose their souls along the way. Winslow's knowledge and insight have never been more fully realized. I believed every word of it."--Robert Ferrigno, author of The Wake-Up "The Power of the Dog is a steaming cauldron of crime, corruption, and cabals, an epic of Godfather proportions with just enough fact sprinkled into the stew to make this one fabulous fable."--Andrew Vachss, author of Down Here "The Power of the Dog is the first great dope novel since Dog Soldiers thirty years ago. It's frightening and sad, with a superbly sustained intensity. It's a beautifully compressed vision of hell, with all its attendant moral madness."

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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