The Force

A Novel
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,069 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He’s the king of Manhattan North, a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

The Force is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve. A searing portrait of a city and a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at the edge of its abyss, it is a masterpiece of urban realism full of shocking twists, leavened by flashes of dark humor, a morally complex and utterly riveting dissection of modern American society and the controversial issues confronting us today.

©2017 Don Winslow (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Dion Graham sounds like a native of any of the neighborhoods that make up the Manhattan North police special operations area. He does white, black, and Latino cops and Staten Island, Harlem, and Bronx accents - all so smoothly you never notice the transitions but also never lose track of the character he's voicing. The nonstop drama and violence are perfectly choreographed through his impeccable timing. It's hard, it's violent, it's dirty, but you won't put it down." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Force

Average Customer Ratings
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The Force: not for the squeamish

Would you listen to The Force again? Why?

The story was great and the narrator was perfect, but I don't listen to audiobooks more than once.

What other book might you compare The Force to and why?

I don't read a lot of crime novels, though that may change now. I will check out some of Winslow's other work.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

I don't think they could have found a more perfect narrator for this book. Graham's voice is gritty and fits the bleak Harlem, NY setting.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was too long for that, but I continued to want to turn it back on when I wasn't listening. I got through the book in about 3 days, which is fairly quick for me on a book this long.

Any additional comments?

If you like crime novels at all, listen to this recording. Even if you don't, listen to this recording. It's a very good book, no matter the genre you prefer. It's well-written and the narration is fantastic. This audiobook comes highly recommended from this reviewer. 5 stars all the way across.

41 people found this helpful

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Winslow continus to amaze

This is my 6th or 7th Winslow book, and is possibly one of his best. While shorter than his other works, it's captivating, fast paced and sprinkled with enough nonfiction to make it hard to turn off.

56 people found this helpful

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One of the all-time great audiobooks

This book starts, not slowly, but with a good deal of background and setting of the scene. About a quarter of the way through, I wondered whether that was going to be the whole book, but whew! This thing picks up and gains speed until it hurtles you into the conclusion. The writing is simply terrific, putting us squarely inside NYPD Detective Denny Malone's head and life. Winslow has created a totally believable and up-to-date NYC noir, with a large and well-drawn cast of characters.

Dion Graham narrates this to utter perfection. His voices and characterizations are varied and superb. He strikes exactly the right notes, and we are there, for every scene, as Denny Malone's life disintegrates. This is one of those audiobooks where the narration adds so much that it's hard to imagine "just" reading the book, as excellent as the prose is.

I bought this as a Daily Deal, but I would have been very happy to use a credit for it. I am hugely impressed by both the book and the narrator. Get it, stick with it through the backstory, and you'll be glad you did!

14 people found this helpful

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The Fire THIS Time

This would have probaly just been another very good cop thriller without Don Winslow's race nuance (sometimes clunky, sometimes heavy-handed) and the novel's final act. Overall, 'The Force' is not as good as his Cartel series (The Power of the Dog, The Cartel), but in my opinion better than Savages. I'll detail this a bit later, but Winslow doesn't pull many punches when dealing with drug dealers, dirty cops, dirty politicos, etc. He really does get some major props from jumping right into the Black Lives Matter, Blue-on-Black dynamics. The novel's characters are arranged in such a way that the issues of Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, LA, etc., are inescapable from the novel's narrative. You can't really tell a story about NYC cops and corruption and NOT step into issues of race. Winslow doesn't flinch.

He is also a helluva story teller and a decent, nice guy. I met him a couple weeks ago at a lecture and book signing and his reputation for being kind to his fans was evident. The publicity grind (books signings, lecturs, readings, etc) that all writers do more or less appears to be mostly grind, but Winslow was cheerful, funny, kind, patient, and carries a natural gift for engaging people and a real curiosity about humanity. In his work it is obvious that he is seeking first a good story, but he is also very interested in people. He doesn't give a shit if it cop or criminal, he likes finding the bends, the cracks, and the dark corners.

I did get to ask him a questions: "Which contemporary writers intimidate you? Make you feel like hanging it up? Question why you even write because they are THAT good?"

Winslow's answer:

1. Dennis Lehane
2. Richard Russo
3. Jim Harrison, RIP

134 people found this helpful

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If you liked The Shield ...

Simply put, a day (or month) in the life of a crooked cop who wanted to do the right thing. If Dark Blue, Training Day and the Shield sous you, you'll enjoy this.

24 people found this helpful

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Amazing book

Any additional comments?

Well, where do I start? I saw that The Real Book Spy gave this book their first 10/10, so I had to check out Don Winslow. I first listened to Power of the Dog then The Cartel, and both are phenomenal. This book, somehow, even tops them. It is a story of corruption and crime, and I feel gives an all-too realistic look at what the primal justice system can actually look like.

As for the audiobook, Dion Graham helped make this book for me. His New York accent and vocal variation made it so enjoyable. I finished this book in two days, because I couldn't stop listening. I listened at work, in the car, walking, all of the time.

Great book Winslow, great narration Graham.

11 people found this helpful

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Like Training Day x 20

Classic Don Winslow. A bit more moralistic than The Power of the Fog and the Cartel, but just as intense. The characters are full fledged and believable, mostly. As in his other books, he does have a problem in fleshing out his female characters.

The narrator was very good. I do believe that he is a native New Yorker as he is able to mimic the dozens of accents that New Yorkers display

19 people found this helpful

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complex and exhilarating

I loved this book and the reading of it. Graham perfectly captured the feel and grittiness of New York City. Ranks among Don Winslow's best. not for the faint of heart, though less graphic than his last book, The Cartel.

27 people found this helpful

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Best of the best

I don’t usually write reviews – however this book and this performance deserve it. I’ve always liked the Winslow books but I have to say this seemed like the very best. It’s great on so many levels. And the performance is unbelievable!

24 people found this helpful

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Gritty, realistic and a compelling listen

Another tour de force by Don Winslow! A crackling good story and well narrated! The story pulls you in and doesn’t let go. Made it hard to leave the car and go to the office. I'm looking forward to his next novel. I hope Audible will be able to get some of his earlier works back in the lineup.

31 people found this helpful