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Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar, the World's Most Wanted Criminal

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The explosive memoir of legendary DEA agents and the subject of the hit Netflix series Narcos, Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña

In the decades they spent at the DEA, Javier Peña and Steve Murphy risked their lives hunting large and small drug traffickers. But their biggest challenge was the hunt for Pablo Escobar in Colombia. The partners, who began their careers as small-t
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Maureen Carden
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña's own version of their hunt for Pablo Escobar begged to be written after Netflix aired the hit series Narcos, their story of the hunt for Pablo Escobar. Although from what Murphy has said, as advisers they were able to keep the Narcos on the rails of accuracy. It’s such an amazing story the Netflix writers didn’t really need to do much enhancement..
Manhunters begins with Steve and Javier writing their alternative chapters of their early lives and then their beginn
Valerity (Val)
This book recounts the careers of DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena as they learn the job by just being put to work after their training. Eventually they work their way up to the more serious targets, until one day they are going after the big one, Pablo Escobar, when they get assigned to work in Columbia. They find the country in a state of turmoil with the drug lords and cartels killing people to try to prevent themselves from being extradited to the United States and put on trial for al ...more
Vicki Willis
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, z-2019
While the 2 DEA heroes in this book are definitely 5 star, the book was just a 3 star read for me. The writing and details felt rudimentary which made me feel like I was reading cliff notes of the events of that time. I wasn't able to get a real sense of the participants in this dark history of Columbia. All of the different agencies, however, deserve praise and thanks for the sacrifices they made to do their job.
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
Copy received from St Martin's Press for an honest review

I have grown up knowing the stories of the Colombian drug cartels, of Pablo Escobar, and I remember the news stories when he was killed.

We always hear the story of the criminal. It gets romanticised for movies, they get turned into "heroes" of sorts, and all their evil doings get pushed to the side.

We see the jackets with the big yellow letters on them across our TV screens, but we never hear about the people wearing them.

Manhunters gives
Armand Rosamilia
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The backstory of the two very different DEA agents and how they ended up together is worth reading alone, never mind the twists and turns of trying to capture the elusive Escobar. They don't try to act like they were the entire operation, giving props to so many others around them. A thrilling and harrowing story.
Susan The Book Dragon Campton
Welcome back my fellow Book Dragons. It is once again Throwback Thursday. This week we go back to the 1980’s when Cocaine was King and Miami was his Palace. Our Gem this evening is powder white, it’s crystal’s catching the light, it’s veins of red seem to pulse and glitter with each facet. The longer we look at it the more enticing it becomes. Let us remove it from it’s box. It feels heavy and foreboding. The smell, oh what is that smell? Death my friends.. death is in the air around this Gem th ...more
Shell Hunt
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, true-story
The real story from Season 1 & 2 of Narcos.
When I saw Manhunters on Net Galley, I definitely danced in my seat.
My husband and I love "Narcos" on Netflix and I've been dying to read more about Pena and Miller and their experiences with the Pablo Escobar crisis.
This book did not disappoint.
I enjoyed the format. Each chapter went back and forth between Pena and Miller. Their different perspectives and positions in the DEA and the case provided a more personal and bigger picture of their experien
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you’re a fan of Narcos, or just true crime in general, this book is a definite must read.

I’m usually hesitant to pick up any kind of true crime/non-fiction crime novels, because a lot of them tend to focus heavily on technical details and get a bit too long and wordy to remain interesting to me. But, I’ve seen Narcos — the show based on these men’s work in Colombia — three times over, and as somebody who loves that show a lot (like, a lot a lot), I knew this was a must read as soon as I disc
Tony Nielsen
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
For decades the name Pablo Escobar was associated with drugs and death, not just in his native Colombia, but throughout South America and the United States. He was the undisputed boss of the drug cartels that ruled pretty much every aspect of life in Colombia and beyond.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, had Pablo Escobar as their number one target. His approach was ruthless, not a second thought was given before having cops and politicians killed if they impeded his business in any
Diane Hernandez
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Fans of the Netflix series Narcos will be enthralled with this true-life story by the two Escobar Manhunters in their own words.

Working up the Drug Enforcement Agency’s power structure in the 1980s as an undercover agent in Austin and tracking illegal shipments of cocaine in Miami. Javier and Steve, respectively, are soon tasked with rooting out the Medellin Cartel chief, Pedro Escobar, from the depths of Columbia. With hefty bounties on their heads and only the Columbian National Police as thei
Dec 08, 2019 marked it as to-read
Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

By: Steve Murphy, Javier F. Pena

*REVIEW* 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Manhunters is the story of how infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar was taken down. It is nothing short of amazing and fascinating. I was totally riveted from beginning to end. I love true stories that read like fiction. Sometimes reality eclipses any story you can possibly imagine. Pablo Escobar was THE guy, like the founder of a mul
Ann T
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for this ARC.

I am always interested in reading true crime / Law Enforcement books especially when they bring down the worlds biggest targets. I found this a fascinating read into Columbia, the drug war and how Escobar was finally taken down. A great job by the LEA’s that worked tirelessly for this to happen and thank you to the agents for sharing their story. I cannot imagine the celebrations that occurred after all your hard work.
Susan Graves
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Manhunters follows the thrilling true story of a hunt for a legendary crime lord. This book read like fiction thriller and was fast paced at times but every page kept me wanting more. I am so thankful I was given the chance to read this early. Excellent research and even better storytelling.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC for this book from the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited when I did! I am a huge fan of the Netflix show Narcos, so I knew the basics of Pablo Escobar, Steve Murphy, and Javier Peña. This book made those stories more personal to me and told more of the truths that TV usually exaggerates and changes. The only reason I took away one star is that because of the changing points of view between Murphy and Peña, the timeline sometimes confusingly jumps around and b ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh this was so good!!!! the writing style was a little basic, e.g. not going into much detail, it was kinda like oh yeah and then there was a bomb attack! quite non-descriptive at times which is why I cant give it a five star. although, javier peña *chefs kiss*
David Wasley
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The authors comment that the TV series "Narcos" took poetic licence with their story but I think it wasn't far from the key facts in the book. While Colombia gave them proper recognition for their work, that from their home country, the USA, was strangely muted. A good read with relevant photos.
Brian Miller
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book but it turned out just ok for me. Going from one author to the other each chapter didn't really work for me but may work for others. I remember Pablo Escobar and how much he intrigued the world years ago and thought this would translate into a great book but possibly too much time has passed for it to end up being a great page turner. It was well written about an engrossing subject matter but something just didn't work for me.
Thank you Netgalley, Steve Murphy; J
Mairead Hearne (
Manhunters:How We Took Down Pablo Escobar by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña is published on 12th November with St. Martin’s Press/ Headline.

Having watched the Netflix Narcos series, I was really delighted with the opportunity to read this new memoir from the individuals whose lives became part of mine as I sat completely engrossed in the series. Although the series was partially fictionalised, the underlying story remained the same

Murphy and Peña were lead DEA agents in bringing down the po
Randal White
Excellent reading on the hunt for Pablo Escobar, told through the eyes of two DEA agents assigned to his case. The book switches back and forth between the two agents, Murphy and Pena. I have read other books about Escobar, but this one really resonated with me.
It starts with the background on both men, covering their early careers. This part alone was fascinating reading! Some of the exploits they relate were incredible.
The book then goes into how the authors found themselves in Columbia, and
Kelli (what_kel_reads)
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The full title is Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña. This was released by St. Martin's Press on November 12, 2019. I was lucky enough to get my copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Y'all. Y'ALL. I finished the audio about 15 minutes before my lunch and I was DYING to write about it. Okay, let's go.

For the first time ever, Murphy and Peña tell true stories from each of their lives, and the events that lead up to their take down of Pablo
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar, the World’s Most Wanted Criminal by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña is a memoir of the two Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who spent decades hunting drug traffickers. The two authors are the subject of the Netflix show Narcos, which follows their hunt for Pablo Escobar in Colombia.

This is a fascinating look inside the DEA, how they worked this famous case, and their
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
On paper, it *appears* like this took me nearly two months to read. But what really happened was that I started it at the end of February, shelved it for all of March and then picked it back up mid-April.

I think this book was just a meeting of bad circumstances for me. I started it in February and enjoyed the 100-ish pages that I read. Didn't touch it for all of March due to my women-author-only month. April comes around and I am DETERMINED to finish this book. But now the quarantine has happene
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am not sure why I am fascinated with the Colombian Drug Cartels and he story of Pablo Escobar, but I am hooked. I watched the Netflix series Narcos and have read other books about Escobar, including one written by his son. So, when I saw "Manhunters" displayed on the library shelf, I grabbed it! This is the account of the hunt for Escobar as told from the two DEA agents primarily responsible for his capture and death. The authors,Steve Murphy and Javier Pena, were the DEA agents portrayed in t ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I binge watched Narcos and absolutely loved it. Suddenly, I’ve found myself being fascinated by the Medellín Cartel and drug trafficking.

I think everybody has heard of Pablo Escobar but I never knew what he did in order to stay in power. I wasn’t aware of the murders and the corruption taking place in Colombia for all these years. I never knew that Pablo Escobar was considered some kind of Robin Hood figure in Colombia, and I’ve never even heard of Los Pepes. Yet I think what fascinates me
Anne Marie
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank You St. Martins Press for this ARC.

I have to be honest this is not my typical read. But when I saw that it was the same to DEA agents that were featured in the Netflix series Narcos I was more than willing to give it a try.

I felt like watching the TV series prior to reading this book was quite helpful. When I was reading certain parts of the book I could envision what they were describing better that way. This book gets into a lot of the background behind Steve and Javier’s life prior to
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Much as I admire these two guys and what they achieved, I think they should stick to chasing criminals as opposed to writing books about it. If you've watched Narcos, you'll have a fixed image of the authors, which doesn't do them any harm as you read through it. For me though, as the story switched between the authors, I began to suspect that the book had been penned by a ghost writer instead of the protagonists. The two "voices" were just too similar, even as to where they stuck in exclamation ...more
Angel Hatfield
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good book. It was very detailed and gives you a great history of the men determined to bring down a criminal drug lord. It was very well written with a lot of great information. I think the only issue I had was, while I thought it was great that it was in chronological order, for someone born as this was happening (or someone much younger than me), the only thing I really know about Pablo Escobar was a few references in movies years ago and haven’t watched the Netflix show abou ...more
John Davis
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Impressive. Terrifying. You'll find it all here: Tracking the sources of vast amounts of drugs, dealing with every type of drug hustler and kingpin, tactics, and shoot outs. Murphy and Pena tell a rapid fire, informative, and pulsing story of their adventure in bringing down Pablo Escobar, arguably the most dangerous man in the drug cartel world. Well paced, clear and truly unsettling, these law enforcement officers show what we commit our people to in an attempt to stop the drug flow into Ameri ...more
Book Him Danno
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of Government Three Letter agencies History. This book is a can not miss book about the men and women who brought down Escobar. The story will show what this case meant to the men and women as well at what happened after the take down and how their lives changed.

Readers will be seeing life thought the eyes of these Manhunters. This is a can no miss story at readers will be hooked by the true events.

Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of Steven Murphy and Javier F. Pena copy of Man
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
It’s a nice read into the thought and work process into the two real life agents behind the capture of Pablo Escobar, whose doings were glorified in Narcos
I think what stuck out to me was the constant appreciation that Javi and Steve showed for the CNP and DEA, and for all the other people who worked with them to capture Pablo Escobar
It’s graceful, that’s what it is
Gotta say though
Like all real life events
They lose some of their shine without a TV camera and a slick scriptwriter to pull it a
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