The Cartel

The Cartel

Book - 2015
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It’s 2004. DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adán Barrera, the head of El Federación, the world’s most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller’s partner. Finally putting Barrera away cost Keller dearly—the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, the life he wants to lead. Then Barrera gets out, determined to rebuild the empire that Keller shattered. Unwilling to live in a world with Barrera in it, Keller goes on a ten-year odyssey to take him down. His obsession with justice—or is it revenge?—becomes a ruthless struggle that stretches from the cities, mountains, and deserts of Mexico to Washington’s corridors of power to the streets of Berlin and Barcelona. Keller fights his personal battle against the devastated backdrop of Mexico’s drug war, a conflict of unprecedented scale and viciousness, as cartels vie for power and he comes to the final reckoning with Barrera—and himself—that he always knew must happen.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101874998
1101874996
Branch Call Number: FICTION WINSLOW
Characteristics: 615 pages : illustration ; 25 cm

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h
hamerkop
Jul 14, 2019

This is pulp fiction at best. While it traces the actual history of the Mexican civil war over control of the drug trade, and somewhat notes USA complicity; that is, the violence is a consequent of the misguided USA led "war on drugs", the novel wages war on Mexico and Mexicans. Is this depiction typical American racism? Or is it a fair account of the mayhem that has occurred? While the American agent hero, Art Keller is presented as a cold blooded killer, the only survivors of this tale are this agent and an American drug dealer. Won't waste my time reading more of this author's propaganda.

d
dsw3914
Jun 28, 2019

Wow. So much killing! If the very descriptive telling of human slaughter in various forms might bother you, better skip this one. One might think it is all made up but one would be wrong. The author even says that while it is fiction, it is based on many actual events. In fact, I just finished reading a story in the June 2019 issue of Texas monthly that told of a mother trying to find her disappeared daughter that vanished back in 2010 I think in the midst of many of the events told in this book. The missing daughter and mother are both Mexican citizens. She disappeared from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas which borders Texas for about 200 miles. I will read the 3rd of the series but have to take a break I think. Curious to see where it goes as several of the main characters of the first 2 of the series have died.

b
birdonthehorizon
Nov 19, 2018

Reads like both a documentary and a potboiler. The violence, the human cruelty--it would be impossible to measure just how depraved a picture of human nature rises from these pages. Not recommended for the bedside, that's for sure. Winslow's research seems thorough and penetrating. The violence and depravity do not, alas, seem at all inflated or gratuitous. One is convinced that, yes, this is the world human beings have made. And as the author makes clear, it is not the Mexican or Colombian drug lords or their minions alone who are responsible for this hell on earth. They exist because there are markets for their products, and no need guessing where those markets are. It is a gruesome read that demonstrates how vulnerable is the veneer of humanism at various social levels and clarifies, if that needed clarifying, why so many of the poor to the south of our borders risk their lives to escape.

k
kennethek
Mar 04, 2018

Reader Dannnn got this right. You want beaucoup violence? You got. This reader made it half way, nada mas. Winslow is however, a very clever and good writer, and great dialogue -ist who weaves his stories very well. "The Force" "less" violent and better character development.

d
dannnn
Sep 10, 2017

This will be my last read by Winslow. It is compared to the Godfather but it doesn't compare. It is somewhat like the movie scarface, but doesn't get there either. Way to long. It reads more like a detail history but is fiction trying to copy history. Develops characters to just have them butchered. I almost just dropped it several times, kept thinking it would get more complex and interesting, but didn't, just more of the same blood and guts. At the end who care what happens to the main character? No one.

I think he wanted to have a novel that was turned into a movie. Why didn't he just write a screen play. I won't see the movie. If I want blood I'll watch the news.

s
seeker472
Jun 20, 2017

A novel about the brutal Mexican drug wars. Winslow spares no sensibilities in the brutal
descriptions of the violence and treachery. One of the best novels I have read recently.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 22, 2016

This is an intricate, devastatingly brutal novelization of the 'War on Drugs' with Art Keller and Adan Barrera representing each side. Spanning 10 years this is a sweeping epic unlike any other I've read.

7
7626dee
Jul 31, 2016

You owe it to yourself to read this book to try to understand what this endless war on drugs has created. This is a work of fiction but the facts are probably worse. Columbia and Mexico have been effectively destroyed as nations by the drug culture and the developed nations of the world are the consumers. Without the consumer there is are no drug cartels!

l
lino_coria
Jul 19, 2016

What an exciting read. It is obvious Don Winslow did a lot of research before writing this book: most of the incidents are based on real events (sadly). He is also very familiar with Mexican culture beyond the typical Day of the Dead stuff. He knows how people think, behave... he knows where they hang out. The characters are three-dimensional, all believable. The Cartel is also a very exciting thriller. I only have very minor issues (some misspellings in Spanish and the epilogue).

k
kelliyfults
Jun 19, 2016

Like the present-day cartel wars, there is so much redundant violence in this book... (I read both books in this series). I had my heart broken and my stomach turned. The killings just go on and on. The senselessness of one-up-man-ship and payback are clear... My favorite characters were NOT the antagonists, but the 'normal' working-class Mexicans who get caught in the crossfire. And most-of all, the brave journalists who fight patriotically with their pens and their voices...

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lino_coria
Jul 12, 2016

lino_coria thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over

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