Picture 'The Godfather' meets 'Dallas' meets 'Miami Vice', and you're only half way adequately describing this generational masterpiece. After listening for 20 some hours all I could think about is this needs to be an HBO miniseries (to do it justice), it can't be over (I want more), and what a wonderful cast of characters were created and fleshed out (It felt like I knew some of them by the end).
A generational story that spans the 1970's through the 2004, Don Winslow stitches together almost an episodic tale that follows the career of DEA agent Art Keller and his involvement on the war on drugs, specifically against the Barrera family of Mexico as their one time seemingly innocent aquaintencies turn sour and then deadly.
This novel covers the territories of Southern California, New York, various locals of Mexico and other south and central American countries. Along the way the listener is taking on a journey of back door politics, the Iran-Conta scandal, New York Italian/Irish mobsters, religion, strained family relations, power, sex, and of course, bloody and action packed gun battles, deals gone bad, and personal struggle for power. Similar to a Tom Clancy novel, there are multiple threads that all seem disconnected at first but then the fuzzy lines start to become clear...an epic soap opera ala Godfather.
As time marches forward, we see brothers scheming Adan and viloent Raul Barrera fill a power vacuum left behind by aging Don Miguel Angel Barrera (or did he lose power after all?) and their exploits of consolidating the Mexican trades into America. Art Keller has a personal vendetta and uncovers a larger plot that tickles various facets of U.S. covert operations and seedy government officials. Sometimes the lines are blurred on who is the good guy and who is the bad.
And I can't say enough about rarrator Ray Porter. He does an incredible job voicing dozens of characters and assigning them each their own unique accents and styles. Bravo.
Winlsow's book traces the rise of the Mexican cartels and their ascendence over the Columbians in a gripping, well plotted story with believable vivid characters - a DEA agent, a young Mexican rising through the ranks of the cartels, a Hell's KItchen Irish-American hitman, and a high class call girl (a hooker with a heart of gold, but it works), and an activist Mexican priest who rises to become a bishop. The book weaves facts into the story - the Kiki Camerena (sp?) case, CIA complicity in the drug trade, the Contra connection, etc. I like to read non-fiction about the same issues, especially Charles Bowden (Down by the River). I don't read as much fiction, but I'm glad I read Power of the Dog.
Like a reviewer a few years ago, I hesitated purchasing this book. I normally stick to Science Fiction (space operas) and horror. This book reminds me why I like books of that sort. The kind of savagery that human beings are capable of makes the stomach churning worlds of Scott Sigler, Clive Barker, and Alastir Reynolds seem tame.
The writing is first rate. The characters and magnificent. The narrations is....well, this is Ray Porter we're talking about.....nuff said.
I am a blessed man!
...and I've listened to over 300 books through Audible! I can't remember when I got so completely caught up in a story that I caught myself praying for a character in distress. The action is non-stop, but what makes this book so great is the character development.
There is no super secret agent here, only hard core, realistic DEA agents. The book is remarkably accurate historically, the only exception being the author's foray into Roman Catholic politics. The Opus Dei conspiracy he installs is completely made up, as is the idea the Church would sanction a hit on one of its bishops. Nevertheless The Power of the Dog has to be my favorite book through Audible.
I can't believe that this is fiction! The detail in this book and the narrator are simply amazing! The book is long and keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat and questioning how man kind can sink to such lows?
thinly veiled historical fiction based on iran contra activities of the cia. Craig is obviously Oliver North. Anybody who questions whether this stuff really happened has obviously not been reading their newspaper. A great story. I couldnt turn it off.
Lots of reviews of the book on Amazon so I tend to focus on the narration. It's a passionate story about the efforts of the US to stop narcotics leads to more narcotics, narcoterrorism and more.
The narrator does a strong job of keeping the story lively and moving, and brings many characters to life.
I am an entertainer...so I spend a lot of time on the road. I take my audio seriously. I appreciate great writing and outstanding narration.
Way too many characters doing way too little of interest for way too long.
The book really needed an editor because it droned on and on and on. It could have easily been two hours shorter.
I found myself wondering what it was actually about. A slice of life story of the drug trade?
Lacked one central focus and flits around from viewpoint to viewpoint like a butterfly with ADD.
It's not all bad. Much of it is quite listenable...but those loooooong bits in between? Nope. Didn't work for me.
By the end of the book found I really didn't care what happened to the characters...which is probably the most telling component of all.
I'm a crippeled old warrior with difficulty typing/writing etc. I used to love reading books, and have read many. I now love audio books.
I've listened to over 500 audio books and I must rank Winslow about mid range. He develops a good story line, but doesn't come close to E.R. Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, T.S. Eliot, E.A. Poe, Mark Twain, Hemmingway, Carroll, Yeats, and many, many more Authors who can and did paint litterary pictures without the utterance of one off-color word. These guys told classic tails with humor, elligance, character, and class.
No, I need to sleep a little.
If language bothers you, don't waste your money. Ray Porter is a master narrater with great range. He does the best Gerold Rainy I've herd. He brings a great story to the ear.