THE POWER OF THE DOG

Don Winslow, Author . Knopf $25.95 (539p) ISBN 978-0-375-40538-9

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)

Reviewed on: 04/04/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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