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The Power of the Dog

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  3,869 ratings  ·  391 reviews
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 Keller 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 incorruptible Catholic priest. Callan is an Iri
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Hardcover, 560 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Knopf (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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brian
donald, you FUCKING MADMAN! thanks for the recommendation. oh yeah: CIA, DEA, FBI, NSA, NAFTA, irish mob, italian mafia, cold warriors, sandanistas, contras, high-priced whores, corrupt priests, reagan, bush, giuliani, colombian druglords, mexian cartels, campesinos, gomeros, torture, despair, murder, etc... this is one sprawling motherfuck of a great book. this guy leaves lehane and pelecanos and any of his contemporary crime-writers (um, except ellroy) in the dust... i gotta read more of his s ...more
Kemper
This is not my favorite Don Winslow novel. I’d put it at #3 after Savages and The Winter of Frankie Machine. However, considering that Winslow has written over a dozen books and for my money is one of the best and most underrated guys working in crime fiction today, getting a bronze medal is pretty damn good.

Running from the mid-1970s until the turn of the century, Winslow’s historical fiction illustrates the difference between the stated public policy of America’s drug war against the covert ba
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Adam
Power of the Dog can sit next to other books that portray the American Dream as dark bruise, such as Libra, American Tabloid, and Dog Soldiers, but it may feel uncomfortable as it lacks their power of prose, depth of character (none of the characters are cartoons though), and stylistic heights: but it does have their ambition and authenticity in its vision of history as double-crosses, compromises, and bloody spectacle. But this unfair as this is really a thriller at heart (especially its finale ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Damn, Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog is one hell of an ambitious novel. And it came out in 2005 – why haven't I heard about it until now? Obviously, my fault – I blame the usual culprits of isolation and ignorance. I mean I even read the blurb and didn't think much of the premise, but still decided to give it a go. I was dead wrong – the book rocked, I barely put it down. It's got everything an intense retelling of America's war on drugs needs. It aligns so many real and hypothesized events ...more
Ryan
I'm torn on this one because on the one hand, the story is pretty solid. Winslow really unpacks the bureaucracy that makes the war on drugs so snarly. By the time he's through, it's pretty clear which agencies are involved and why and how they're all connected.

Unfortunately, he also writes lines like: "Then the elevator doors slide open and water pours out, like a scene from a bad, grotesque horror film."

And he does it A LOT.

Winslow's good at distilling information, even generating a pretty swe
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Josh
Epic in story and substance, THE POWER OF THE DOG is the crime equivalent of a broad spanning fantasy novel. Told over a thirty year time frame, Winslow's masterful tale of cross border drug running, corrupt cops, and gangsters is much more than a bloody swipe at alphabet agency politicking, with themes comprising vengeance, betrayal, misguided justice, and the illusion of redemption rife.

Through Art Keller, Winslow delivers a rich and deeply satisfying plot driven by a tainted protagonist whose
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Harry
This is not a novel I would compliment for it's stylistic prose, its character development, or it's originality in terms of plot: this is a novel that were it to be true is nothing short of a devastating indictment of the War on drugs. My rating of this book is based on its subject matter and its research and how it affects me as a reader.

Normally, I throw up my eyebrows in quizzical fashion when reading reviews that complain about the lack of verisimilitude, or that the author somehow has inven
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Scoobs
not much i can say that hasn't been said already.

how 'bout:

"Deliver my soul from the sword.
My love from the power of the dog."

don winslow is the coldest motherfucker who ever walked.
Ben
Wow. This is ostensibly "fiction" but knowing the 5-6 years of research Winslow did with drug lords, dealers, DEA, CIA, other agencies, etc, it almost reads as nonfiction. In fact I'm tempted to classify it as such. The characters are a disguise for real life.

I know this because I'm somewhat versed in real life on the issue (though not nearly as much as the author) and I know that what he writes as 'fiction', something that could be construed as an incredulous assertion in terms of government c
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Kathleen Hagen
The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow, a-minus, narrated by Ray Porter, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

Publisher’s note:
This explosive novel of the drug trade 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 incorruptible Catholic priest. Callan is an Iris
...more
Jordan McPeek
Much more than the rise and fall of a drug kingpin story. How does Winslow pack so much history, so much political commentary, so much story into one 500 page thriller? It takes place over about 25 years, tracing the rise of Mexican drug cartels through the eyes of five main characters: an obsessive DEA agent, an Irish hitman for the New York mob, a high-priced California call girl, a maverick yet influential Catholic priest, and the Mexican drug kingpin. Plenty of other fascinating characters c ...more
Giovanni Gelati

The only reason I picked up this novel was a suggestion by a Mark Greaney, he of the Gray Man novel and soon to be released on Target (Sept. 28th,2010, sorry I had to get that in there; I am looking forward to it). I think highly of Mark and his opinions, so I tried to get The Power of the Dog a.s.a.p., figuring that this is going to be a hot read. I got it, I looked at the back cover for the synopsis of the novel, and I was totally intrigued. Here is what is on the back cover: “Art Keller is an
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Andrew
Apr 22, 2008 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Andrew by: Brandon
This book is a far-reaching epic that covers over 25 years in the lives of numerous characters who start out having nothing to do with each other and in some cases never do encounter each other. The thing they have in common, the reason that this book tells all of their various stories, is the drug war. This is an ambitious chronicle of America's War On Drugs, beginning with a successful covert effort to take out Mexico's reigning druglord in the wake of the Vietnam War. At this point, the gover ...more
Nick Sweet
I enjoyed The Power of the Dog. It has strong characters and transcends the genre in the sense that, beyond telling a good story, Winslow also gives us a portrait of what was--and still is--happening, as he sees it, in parts of South America and down around the Mexican border.

The dialogue is sharp and there is plenty of action, all credibly described. Many of the characters are just plain nasty or dangerous, and the good guys don't really win out in the end--which is realistic, of course, becau
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Alberto
No soy un habitual de estas avenidas literarias donde confluyen el best seller, el thriller político y la novela negra, pero estoy lejos de arrepentirme de haberle dedicado tiempo a 'El poder del perro'. En un estilo ágil, a ratos periodístico, el autor va entretejiendo una historia espeluznante, sórdida, diría que increíble si no fuese porque la realidad que conozco confirma muchas de las claves que se van exponiendo al lector.
En mi opinión, el punto más débil del libro estriba en que aunque se
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Mark Samojedny
This is the second Don Winslow book I've read, the first being SAVAGES. All I can say after reading it is there is no way Don Winslow writes without a serious outlining system (and I mean that in a very, very good way). The book has a large number of characters and weaves them in and out of the plot throughout the 560 pages. I totally enjoyed this book and its ability to entertain while also making a point, which, to me, was, "There's no way we will ever win a war on drugs." I was a little shock ...more
Robert
It takes a skilled writer to keep a complex storyline with multiple characters moving at such a fast pace without throwing the reader into a land of confusion. Wilson has done a terrific job with this book. The book does contain numerous depictions of graphic violence, but hey the book is dealing with the business of drug trafficking. I don't believe these are the types of people that would settle their business differences with just a pillow fight.
orsodimondo
TUTTO FINISCE NEL SANGUE
Psicologia ridotta all’osso (un osso molto rosicchiato).
Grandi descrizioni di quelle che mi viene da definire scenografie (interni ed esterni). Si tratta di un autore e di un libro che sono entrambi in forte prossimità cinematografica.
Dialoghi curati.
Azione, azione, azione.
Violenza, crudeltà, sangue, torture: Tony Montana in confronto è un chierichetto.

Winslow è stato un investigatore privato, consulente per studi legali e compagnie di assicurazione, esperto di tecniche
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Rex Fuller
Thoroughly entertaining. Deftly disguises a lot of fiction with a few facts. So completely trashes the war on drugs you want to take shower after reading it.
Paola
Essere uomini é uno sbaglio. Karl Kraus

A salti e balzelloni sono riuscita ad arrivare a metà del libro, certe scene erano di intollerabile lettura, quindi tralasciate, poi a pg 400 circa, ho dovuto smettere. Abbandonato. Il vecchio boss del contrabbando della droga é in prigione, una prigione dorata, con tanto di povera ragazza campesina che lo “accudisce”, viene incaricata dal boss rivale e vendicativo, di cuocergli una bella e buona tortina infarcita di stricnina, (la versione sud americana d
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Paul
This is a big novel, epic in scope, The Grapes of Wrath of the Mexican drug empire and America's halfhearted fight against it. The Power of the Dog is a thinly-novelized history of the rise of Mexico's drug cartels and the consequent corruption of its society, government, and law enforcement; the involvement of American organized crime families in the drug trade; the look-the-other-way policies of American government and military leaders seeking to preserve the business-friendly status quo in Me ...more
Alonzo
This is a long book, but the length (as Jane Smiley writes about in 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel) is a promise, not a threat.

The action is quick, the tension is high and the conflict is believable. There are neither purely good guys, nor completely evil bad guys. It seems like Winslow covered everything from family to feigned friendship, from faith to agnosticism, from obsession to oppression.

The War on Drugs plays a major role in this novel, as does the U.S.'s use of that travesty and failu
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Jim
This is a cracker of a novel, ambitious in its scope and multi-layered in plot and characterisation. It's quite retro in it's subject matter, recalling the days of Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, the Cold War communists, the American Mafia and then throws the Irish, the Neo-cons, the Mexican banditos and even Opus Dei into the mix. The plot thunders along and the violence levels are acute, recalling the worst excesses of James Ellroy or James Lee Burke and sometimes verging toward horror as opposed ...more
Maddy
RATING: 4.25
PROTAGONIST: Mexican drug family, DEA agent, prostitute, rebel priest and a hit man
SETTING: Mexico and California

THE POWER OF THE DOG is an astonishing work from the acclaimed author of the Neil Carey Series. Don Winslow has written a book of epic scope that deals with the drug trade in Mexico over a 30-year period.

The cast of characters includes a Mexican family whose father establishes a drug operation and is later succeeded by his two sons; a prostitute; a rebel priest; a US DEA a
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Chris
An epic violent yarn. I'm not sure Winslow's book and the movie Savages can top this book which came first. Why didn't they make this into a movie or even a mini-series? Probably because it's so disturbing. If this were a movie it would be like The Godfather meets Scarface meets The Winds of War. So many different characters meeting each other over the course of two decades. It's about obsession and vengeance and once it's over you are left pondering if anything even changed. Was it worth it? I ...more
Torben
Wenn ich dreieinhalb Sterne vergeben könnte... Vier waren mir dann aber doch zuviel, da ich (bis auf die letzten Seiten) nie reinkam ins Buch. Zuerst liegt es am Protokollstil im Präsenz, was ungewohnt ist und mich bis zum Schluss eher irritiert hat (Aber so ist man näher dran, zu nah?). Ständig glaubt man, am Schreibtisch der DEA zu sitzen und eine Polizeiakte zu lesen oder den Tatsachenbericht über den Drogenkrieg. Doch so etwas ist es ja auch.
Viele Ortswechsel und Personen verwirren mich da
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Ubik 2.0
C’erano una volta l’America e il Messico

Sergio Leone mi è venuto in mente soprattutto mentre leggevo l'ultima sfida al rallentatore che (a parte un breve post-finale) chiude questo potente romanzo: pare quasi di sentire le note di Morricone mentre l'inquadratura passa da un personaggio all'altro, ognuno col suo pesante passato imbrattato di sangue, con il suo odio incomprimibile, con la mente tesa all'imminente estremo tradimento che molti dei sette personaggi (gli unici sopravvissuti...) che co
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Bücherplanet
Fünf Sterne sind zu wenig! Wenn dieses Buch nur 5 Sterne bekommt, kann ich keinem danach gelesenen Buch mehr die volle Punktzahl geben. Um es kurz zu sagen: Für mich das beste Buch der letzten 2 Jahre!!
Hammermäßige Geschichte mit zahlreichen Handlungssträngen und fantastisch beschriebenen Charakteren. Im Mittelpunkt des in der Druckausgabe knapp 700 Seiten starken Buches steht der US-Drogenfahnder Art Keller, der es sich zur Lebensaufgabe gemacht hat, einen Teil der mexikanischen Drogenmafia von
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Gary
I am full of admiration for Don Winslow's writing and this book continues his record of excellent reads. If you like James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard then you will like Mr. Winslow. More later...

A bit of a tour de force here - more than you usually get from Mr Winslow in terms of the scale of the plot i.e involving international conspiracy to maintain governments and drug lords etc and also a swinging indictment of the US Government agencies that we all know and love to throw mud at i.e. CIA, DEA
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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death An
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More about Don Winslow...
Savages The Kings of Cool The Winter of Frankie Machine The Dawn Patrol (Boone Daniels #1) The Death and Life of Bobby Z

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“You don’t let them knock you out, you make them knock you out. You make them break their fucking hands knocking you out, you let them know that they’ve been in a fight, you give them something to remember you by every time they look in a mirror.” 18 likes
“The Americans take a product that literally grows on trees and turn it into a valuable commodity. Without
them, cocaine and marijuana would be like oranges, and instead of making billions smuggling it, I’d be making pennies doing stoop labor in some California field, picking it.”
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