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Issue 17; Power of the Dog Trilogy, The Review

by T W Coombs esq.

A story that spans decades and took fifteen years itself to write has come to an end, with three epic novels of true life events turned into a fictional world.  Welcome to Mexico and the Drug Wars.

*I have tried not spoil anything, info is available on descriptions of the books*

I had no idea I was walking into such an epic story of death and destruction which is more frightening due to the fact as many of what happens in this story actually happens, small parts of the story are taken from stories of real life.  The characters are exactly that, made up, but are based on many over the years of the drug wars that happened and are on going across Mexico.

It all started with Power of the Dog.

Not a title I would automatically gravitate towards but due to the my recent Netflix love of Narcos I thought a book on drugs was one to delve into.  And delve I did, head first in fact, into Don Winslow’s epic story of power and death. He really keeps it simple not rushing through it all but goes into enough detail you feel the world you are in, you are slowly introduced to people and place so you follow the different story arcs without confusion, and watching the ups and downs at every turn.

Starting off with the initial work to stop drugs it soon becomes a one man's story of revenge.  

We are there at the start of the Mexican drug cartels and Miguel Angel Barrera who is head of the Mexican drug federaciĆ³n. Soon taken down from outside and within, we follow his successor and nephew, who is the friend of one Art Keller. But with the death of Arts partner after their already ongoing work to stop the drugs trade Art Keller sets out on a mission to take down an old friend who has taken over. But along with the Art Keller's story, you also get an in depth look into the Narcos themselves, and follow Adan Barrera’s rise to power and the terrible things were done in his name to do it and orders to get there.

It is hard to right too much about the story without giving so much away but remember this is based on real life events, set in the late 70’s and 80’s and the Reagan years in the US and his hope to destroy this drugs trade in Mexico curbing the epidemic in the United States.  It is a story full of corruption at all levels and countries involved. And runs from the creation to the so called arrest of many and the death and double crossing that the DEA and in this case Art Keller do to get to there goal.

But this 562 page epic novel is just the beginning and not the worst of the war on drugs.

The story continues in The Cartel.

It’s 2004. DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adan Barrera, the head of El FederaciĆ³n, the world’s most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller’s partner. Putting Barrera away costs Keller dearly – the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, the life he wants to lead.”

That is what the story is about, but Adan is released from prison in the US back to Mexico and subsequent “escape” and then goes on a mission to rebuild his empire.  Also we meet back up with a very burnt out Art Keller who returns to the war he thought he had stopped and to get the man he thought he had had his revenge on by putting him in prison.

This story is a lot more brutal, if you can believe it, with different groups proving they are more powerful, the Zetas being one, with be-headings, torture, burning people alive, the atrocities that were done by these insane individuals with horrific.  We follow the players on both sides of the war and some that in a grey area in the middle.

We meet the security companies used to wage the war in the dark from the US government, it really sheds light on the more recent war that we never hear about.

This is all comes to close in The Border, Keller had his revenge but now he lives with the chaos he created.

A power struggle is kicked off with the events that ended the previous story, all hell has broken loose and anything now goes.  Art if promoted from retirement and is now in the cross hairs of everyone. We follow Art and ongoing operations in the USA, with new characters introduced along with old ones still fighting or trying to.

Unlike the other two books we have a couple of stand alone stories within the main story, it shows who the war effects, what the drugs do, it is a hard hitting but gripping story of a war no one can win and the casualties of this war and and the trade creates and not just the dead Mexican cartel people. The good and bad find they don’t come out well.

Set much later and in a time we can now all see, it just shows that this war has been going on for 40 years and will continue.

These three novels are epic and gripping thrillers from the start to finish, they don’t slow down and they are action filled.  With really well written characters from the small and big we feel for them when there lives take a certain root. Sometimes when they are not really the good guy.  I think this was Don Winslow's point, that everyone is affected by this and they are all human, well most of them.

Available now over on Amazon Kindle and all good and evil booksellers.