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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400096936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400096930
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The war on drugs is powerfully dramatized in Winslow's ambitious, dense and gritty latest (after 1999's California Fire and Life). Art Keller is a brilliant DEA agent who sometimes breaks the rules to serve justice. Adan Barrera is an urbane drug dealer whose charm masks his brutality. Nora Hayden is a high-class call girl whose heart is in the right place. And Sean Callan is a taciturn mob hit man, a stone-cold killer who just wants out of the life. Winslow follows these four characters and assorted extras as they cross paths over three decades in the international drug trade, from Keller's first encounter with Barrera in 1970s Mexico, through the drug cartels' corruption of government officials in the U.S. and Mexico governments, to a final showdown on the U.S. border in 1999. 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. Agent, Jimmy Vines. Author tour. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Winslow (California Fire and Life, 1999) once again offers a crime novel with breakneck pacing, a sardonic worldview, and a teeming cast of superheated characters. He also displays bold ambition as he takes on the war on drugs, moving his extremely violent story between the DEA, the Latin American drug cartels, and the Mob. At the center of the novel is DEA agent Art Keller, who makes a fatal mistake as an idealistic rookie. On his first posting, to Culiacan, Mexico, capital of the drug trade, Art befriends the Barrera brothers. Their friendship will eventually turn into a personal vendetta of epic proportions when it is revealed that their uncle, Miguel, a member of the state police, is a drug kingpin. The cast also features an Irish hit man, a call girl, and a priest, as Winslow feverishly indicts the U.S. war on drugs, tracing flawed policies that have cost DEA agents their lives yet failed to stop the flow of drugs across the border. Intricate plotting and manic energy power this page-turner. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Don Winslow (b. 1953) is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen crime and mystery novels as well as short stories and film screenplays. A Cool Breeze on the Underground, Winslow's debut and the first novel in his popular Neal Carey series, was nominated for an Edgar Award. Before becoming a fulltime writer, Winslow worked as a private detective in New York and California.

Customer Reviews

Great story and characters.
A. Parker
I finished a 500 pg. book in a couple of days which, for me and my time constraint, is un-heard-of!!!
The story follows the career of DEA Agent and former CIA operative in Vietnam Art Keller.
G. Lichman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Craig Larson VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Don Winslow's latest book (after _California Fire and Life_), _The Power of the Dog_, is an epic look at the US war on drugs from its earliest beginnings to more recent times. The book is violent and thrilling and heart-breaking, as it follows a large cast of characters from the early 1970s through 2004, showing how the competing interests and agendas of various government agencies (the CIA, the DEA, etc.) get in the way of successfully combatting the problem, and often only served to make things much worse.

Art Keller, the book's protagonist, is a half-Hispanic DEA agent who grew up in the San Diego barrio and saw the effects of drugs on his friends and family firsthand. As a rookie agent, he makes the mistake of befriending Don Miguel Angel Barrera, one of the top Mexican policemen, in an effort to topple the reigning drug kingpin. Barrera proceeds to move into the subsequent power vacuum and sets up La Federaccion, a much more well-organized and deadly organization than previously existed, and run by his two nephews, the intelligent and sensitive Adan, and the flashy and violent Raul.

This sets in motion a 30-year vendetta on Keller's part, as he attempts to take down the Barreras and atone for his mistake, a vendetta that will lead to the deaths of numerous innocent parties along the way, and to Keller's estrangement from his own wife and children.

The book was a very fast-moving, though extremely violent novel. In a little over 500 pages, Winslow does an amazing job of encapsulating a lot of recent history, including the Camarena murder, the Iran-Contra scandal, and other related events, into a very readable and entertaining novel, one of the best I've read recently. If you're not too squeamish, I'd highly recommend the book.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find two varieties of five-star reads. Page-turners both, there are those that hit you like the best action movies - a quick rush, great fun while they last, a lightning shot of adrenaline - and all but forgotten a month or so down the road. And then there are the very special books that deliver all the thrills, the action, all the suspense while at the same searing an unshakable image in your soul that you know will stay with you for a very long time. Don Winslow's remarkable "Power of the Dog" is firmly in the latter camp.

Contemporary history buffs my remember US DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena who, while assigned in Mexico in 1985, was abducted, tortured, and brutally murdered by Mexican drug lords. While Winslow changes the names, the events leading to and subsequent to Camarena's murder play a central role in this epic tale of the violence, corruption, love, betrayal, and vengeance surrounding three decades worth of the trafficking of cocaine and heroine by Mexican drug cartels. So grand in scope, so exhaustively researched, and so authoritative in its delivery of the facts, and comparisons or analogies are strained. But for a starter, consider a role up of "Traffic", "The Godfather", and "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia". Winslow manages to demystify the shady politics and clandestine operations of Nicaragua and the Sandanistas and the Iran-Contra affair, the 1994 assassination of Mexican Presidential candidate Luis Colosio, NAFTA and others in enough detail to qualify as a docudrama, while the unspeakable brutality, depravity, and evil that travels alongside the drug trade is, well, plainly spoken.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"El poder del perro"; The Power of the Dog. This novel delivers a healthy dose of reality, shadowing drug enforcement agencies, from the poppy fields of South America to the Mexican border. Laced with the politics of self-deception and political agendas, much goes unreported and unacknowledged as the US continues indefensible relationships with despots who perpetuate the violence of a drug-related economy.

Against this background, one figure traces the advances of the drug economy. Since Operation Condor in Sinaloa in 1975, Art Keller has been tracking the drug industry's recurring faces. A Company Man, Keller is one of the "lost, the lonely, the cultural misfits with a foot in two worlds and a place in neither, half-Anglo and Half-Mexican". North American fire power and munitions meet South American business-as-usual, a disheartening mix of military power in the hands of the politically untouchable who decimate the country's economy in pursuit of profit. Keller pursues one small corner of this world, but he does so doggedly, revealing the complicated infrastructure and government involvement along the US-Mexican border.

Keller is infected with guilt; he once was duped by the man who is now a key player, Miguel Angel Barrera. But Keller handles most of his business outside of the purview of the government agencies, a lethal alphabet soup of DEA, FBI and ATF, all committed to keeping a lid on the current problems. Art believes all Third World slums are the same, "the same mud or dust, depending on climate or season, the same smells of charcoal stoves and open sewers...malnourished kids with distended bellies and big eyes". At least in Guadalajara, the middle class softens the edge between rich and poor.
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