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  • Kindle Edition
  • The Border
  • Don Winslow
  • English
  • 07 September 2018

10 thoughts on “The Border

  1. says:

    They have not yet invented a sufficient number of superlatives to describe how much I loved this book It s an absolute masterpiece and a very worthy conclusion to the trilogy that Winslow began with The Power of the Dog in 2005 It s a sweeping epic with a huge cast that clocks in at 720 pages, and there s not a single wasted word in the entire book.At the center of the story again is Art Keller who, in one capacity or another, has been fighting the war on drugs for forty years It s taken a very heavy toll on Keller physically, psychologically, mentally, emotionally and morally It s also clearly been a losing battle, and for all the money and effort expended, the scourge of drugs plaguing the United States and its southern neighbors has only gotten worse instead of better By now, though, too many players from the cartels, to the dealers, to the politicians, to the people owning and running the corrections system, et al., have too big a stake in the war and are making far too much money and other capital from it, to give it up.Art Keller has seen this war up close and personal from literally every angle, and as the book opens, he realizes that it s time to fight it on another front As long as there s a huge demand for illegal drugs in the U.S., and as long as there s so much money to be made from trafficking those drugs, the flow will never stop And a border wall is certainly no answer, given that ninety percent of the drugs entering the U.S from Mexico come through legal ports of entry.Keller gets his chance when he s appointed Director of the DEA, and he determines that, instead of going after the drugs, he will go after the money, assuming that if the profit disappears, so will the drugs Keller now mounts his own war, with a few trusted confederates and mostly in secret, to take down those who profit most from the profits of illegal drug sales It s a new front in the war that poses grave dangers to those who would wage it, Art Keller perhaps most of all.Keller s efforts play out against a huge increase in the violence associated with the drug trade and at a time when a new scourge heroin is exploding into the marketplace The Sinaloa Cartel, which had imposed at least a rough order on the drug trade with the tacit cooperation of both the Mexican and American governments, is breaking up Several factions are now struggling to dominate all or at least a part of the trade, and the violence associated with the trade has increased significantly, which will make Keller s task all that much difficult.While Keller is the main protagonist, Winslow tells this story through the eyes of drug lords, undercover cops, crooked politicians, drug users, financiers, money launderers and reporters, as well as the immigrants who are struggling to make their way from Central America to a better life in the United States and who often become collateral damage in the drug war.The story is beautifully written and the cast of characters, though large, contains many individuals who will remain with the reader for a long time to come It also has a great deal to say about the country we ve become in the first quarter of the Twenty First Century, and Americans from across the political spectrum could learn a great deal from it This is a book, along with its two predecessors, that I will be returning to, at least occasionally, for as long as I m still able to read books one of the best I ve read in a very long time.


  2. says:

    THE BORDER is the last book in the POWER OF THE DOG trilogy All I can say is WOW.It was everything I hoped for and Brutal criminals, sometimes even brutal law enforcement, international drug wars, politics, and the absolutely fabulous Ray Porter relating it all in that powerful voice of his At this point I feel like Don Winslow and Ray Porter are a part of my life I ve spent dozens of hours with them both and to be honest I m going to miss them Does Art Keller finally get somewhere in the drug war he s fought his entire life Will he get to settle down and live a quiet life with Marisol What about Eddie Ruiz Callen and Nora Hell, will any of them even survive I recommend you read this ASAP so you can find out Winslow delivered the goods here and Ray Porter performed the hell out of it My highest recommendation


  3. says:

    They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result So maybe America should start questioning its war on drugs which is almost 50 years old now Nah Let s just keep doing the same thing we always have It s gotta work eventually.Art Keller s story began in The Power of the Dog when he was a young DEA agent dispatched to Mexico in the 70s There he got into a feud with Ad n Barrera who becomes one of the most powerful cartel kingpins, and their bloody fight would go on for years Keller s efforts to bring him to justice were complicated by the US s covert support of the drug trade to fund anti communist operations in Central and South America The war between Keller and Barrera goes on past the turn of the century in The Cartel when a power struggle in Mexico leads to stunning levels of violence and corruption.Now America s dependence on opioids has created an expanding market for heroin and fentanyl, and Keller has been appointed head of the DEA to try and stem the tide Keller s strategy is to adopt a tolerant attitude to low level users and dealers while going after the high level money men profiting from the trade Unfortunately, a loud mouthed presidential candidate accuses him of being soft on crime while pointing the finger at illegal immigration and Mexican government corruption, and Keller has to beware of right wingers in his own agency trying to sabotage him Then Keller gets evidence indicating that the candidate s son in law is about to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in cartel money under the guise of a real estate deal, but just trying to investigate it will mean being smeared by the alt right even as he fears that the cartels have just bought the White House Meanwhile, there s another vicious war for control of the drug trade going on in Mexico, and host of people like a small time junkie, an undercover cop, the son of a slain DEA agent, a young boy fleeing gang violence in his own country, and a retired hit man are all caught up in the chaos in various ways.Don Winslow has been researching and writing about the Mexican drug trade for years now, and he s got a lot to say about the ultimate futility of trying to stop it with cops He s also not shy about pointing out the hypocrisy of how America is the biggest customer of this trade while blaming other countries like Mexico for it Winslow s trilogy makes these social and political points while also delivering an epic crime tale with Art Keller at its center These aren t just entertaining books, they feel like important books.Unfortunately, this one was a little hard for me to read because it all too accurately mirrors current events with the character of John Dennison, a liar racist fraud criminal asshole who somehow becomes president of the United States that was obviously created as a stand in for the real thing For the purposes of this book Winslow has shifted the dirty dealings from Russian oligarchs to Mexican drug lords, but honestly, if we found out that the orange shitbag had taken cartel money, would anyone really be surprised Since reality is such a bummer these days it made reading this even depressing than the other books It s relevant and good, but it is tough to read a fictional version of America destroying itself in ways that are really happening.


  4. says:

    This was one of the most epic reading experiences I ve had in a very long time This is the massive conclusion to Don Winslow s Border Trilogy, THE definitive piece of fiction that focuses on the War on Drugs Throughout these three big books, Winslow leaves no stone unturned in this subject and passionately challenges what you know about the Border Crisis and the American Mexican Drug War But even importantly, he tells the great story of the tumultuous, decades long personal war between DEA agent Art Keller and Sinaloa Cartel patr n Adan Barrera After the big turning point in the finale of the previous book, The Cartel, Art Keller is now the head of the DEA and is trying to fight the Drug War from the very top levels of government But at the same time, a new breed of cartel leaders are threatening a new level of violence in Mexico With this book, Winslow expands his focus ten fold, the same way The Wire did with each of it s episodes, and begins to focus on every conceivable corner of the Drug War and all its players from the cartel leaders, to a NYPD undercover officer, an aging hitman who comes out of hiding, a 10 year old Guatemalan illegal immigrant, a tormented young Staten Island junkie, and finally a reality show host and real estate mogul running for president with a love of Twitter and a desire to build a bigger wall along the Mexican border This large cast of characters shows how far reaching this war is and helps give the story it s epic scope Winslow also brings back storylines from the previous novels and brings it all to a satisfying end There s no other writer quite like Don Winslow This book shouldn t have worked for me It s filled with documentary style focus on detail and sometimes feels like a political essay But it s so goddammned entertaining that it never bothered me His writing is so readable that I could ve kept reading happily for 500 pages I don t want to talk too much about the story but there are so many exciting moments, and even one moment that made me actually shout and clap, and then stop in embarrassment because I shouldn t be cheering at an inanimate object The book isn t the most subtle, with it s blatant and inelegant, but spot on Trump avatar character and a final speech that s basically Winslow s Drug War dissertation, but I had such a great time reading this and was so engaged by the riveting, horrifying, sometimes amusing, and always important story that I can t give it anything but 5 stars This was fantastic and exhilarating and would recommend it to anyone who s enjoyed the previous books, except maybe sensitive Trump fans.


  5. says:

    The Final Book of the TrilogyThe Border is the final concluding chapter to Winslow s magnum opus, his trilogy about the long running drug war Like the first two lengthy chapters in the trilogy, The Power the Dog and the Cartel, The Border is a broad, sweeping epic telling multiple storylines However, unlike the first two books, along with the glorious rich characters and history, Winslow included thinly veiled political smear attacks which were unnecessary to the story and cheapened his art In any event, the Border continues the decades long sweeping epic begun in the first two books It is the story of the drug cartels, their formation, their evolution, and the seemingly insurmountable and insidious problem they have become, eating away at both American life and life south of the border If anything, the rise of the drug cartels has had a far devastating effect in Mexico and Guatemala than here in the States as wars between the different factions have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, brutality on a scale barely imaginable, corruption, and devastation What Winslow does so skillfully in this book and the previous two is he personalizes the drug war both in the person of Art Keller, the DEA agent and the that of the warring drug kingpins Adan Barrera is now dead and gone and the young Turks, the young Hijos are now rising It s a new generation born in drug wealth and power who all party together and are best friends But, power and money corrupt And, there s no way out They either have to claw their way up or go down in a blaze of glory The young princes are trapped no different than the kid in the Barrio And eventually even Art Keller sees that taking out one drug kingpin, even Adan Barrera, only leaves an empty seat for another to fill Taking down one cartel only leaves an opening for another cartel to move in The result is an endless war with no end in sight.Winslow is a master at diagnosing the problem but not much at prescribing a solution He uses the trilogy to argue that meeting the cartels with force will not work and that legalization of drugs not just marijuana will take the profit motive out it And he argues that a wall will not stem the tide But, he offers no solutions to why so many want to drown themselves in drugs Why so many want to drop out of modern life And, in places where hard drugs are legal, don t we just end up with an army of zombies Surrendering to despair is no Solution And, the extraordinary violence coming over the border no matter its ultimate roots is unacceptable.


  6. says:

    4.5 stars The first two books in this trilogy were perfection, I removed a half star from this one because there were two or three chapters that I felt did not fit into the overall flow and were a bit unnecessary That being said I feel that these books deserve a place amongst the very best of crime fiction More happens in any given thirty pages of these books than in most four hundred page books by anyone else Gigantic cast of characters, non stop action and drama, and real life tie ins to actual events, although the names have been changed in some instances I raced through this one and read it during most of my free time and while I was bummed it ended, it s good to know that Winslow is a pretty young guy and probably has a lot good books in him because I love reading his work He has a way of keeping everything in focus and even with all the characters and locations I was able to keep who was who and where they were clear in mind even though it had been years since I read the first two novels I recommend these books to anyone and everyone because of how entertaining and informative they are as well as being relevant to the current status of our communities, rich or poor.P.S I m a substance abuse counselor so the topic hits close to home.


  7. says:

    A superlative ending to the Power of the Dog trilogy, The Border is a perfect blend of the first two volumes The epic sprawl of The Cartel is cut back, though we see a broad swath of the people affected by the drug war, from a migrant child fleeing gang violence, an addict struggling to get clean, dealers and cops and narcos and crooked politicians and bankers who launder money While it is still entertainment, it is not police state fan fiction Winslow asks the tough questions of why Americans consume painkillers than the rest of the world combined and why we fight a 50 year war that cost over a trillion dollars and leaves countless dead on both sides of the border This is THE crime fiction novel of 2019, and the trilogy is as epic a portrait of America both continents as painted by Ellroy in the L.A Quartet, Dos Passos, or any other Read it and weep.


  8. says:

    Twice now, Don Winslow believed he was out.After finishing 2005 s The Power of the Dog, he d felt he said his piece on the war on drugs Then, nearly a decade later, he sat down at a keyboard and started typing what would become his follow up to The Power of the Dog, The Cartel After that, he was positive he was finished.Then came Trump All the talk about walls Mexicans as rapists and the never ending opioid epidemic pushed Winslow back into the world he swore he d left behind Hello darkness my old friend. I ve come to talk with you again..The Border takes place everywhere but the novel s namesake We re all over the map in this story Some of it takes place in Washington, DC as it follows Art Keller and his new role as head of the DEA Other parts of the story take us to New York City, where we follow an undercover operation to stop the flow of heroin into the Big Apple We re also taken to Mexico as the power structure of the drug cartels has fractured following the death of undisputed overlord, El Patron, Adan Barrera Other smaller stories make up the overreaching story including revisiting former mob hit man Sean Callan as well as a look into the journey of a boy from Guadalajara as he makes his trek to the United States.There s a lot I could go into, but I m fearful of spoilers.Unlike its predecessors, The Border is focused on the inner workings of the drug trade rather than the heavy focus on violence you saw in both The Power of the Dog and The Cartel Don t get me wrong, there are still scenes that will blow you away but they re to do with the unimaginable depth of corruption on Wall Street and inside Washington, DC I found this endlessly fascinating Winslow basically swaps out Russia for the drug cartels in Mexico and ties them up with the current administration He cleverly swaps out Donald Trump and Jared Kushner for John Dennison and Jason Lerner but changes very little about the way they operate and speak at least for Trump I absolutely loved this the last one hundred pages or so belong strictly in the un put downable category.As for the other aspects of the story, Winslow spotlights the very real impact of the drug trade on the vulnerable This includes both addicts as well as impressionable youth who get caught up in dealing through street gangs I can t go too deep into this without giving away some major plot points, but there are than a few thrilling moments along with some heartbreaking ones as well.In closing, Don Winslow s Cartel Trilogy is an achievement It is a trilogy of pulse pounding action and unflinching violence coupled with deep, intense research showcasing an uncompromising look at the widespread effect of the never ending war on drugs.And he saved the best for last.


  9. says:

    This is the concluding book of Don Winslow s well researched trilogy on America s longest running war the war on drugs, with a primary focus on Mexico, and especially, the Sinaloa cartel For maximum enjoyment, read The Power of the Dog 2005 and The Cartel 2015 first, and be prepared for anti Trump bias not for the faint hearted.After a brief introduction to an active shooting situation at Maya Lin s Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C., the book goes back in time to events following The Cartel and the disappearance of the Mexican drug kingpin, Ad n Barrera, following a truce meeting in Guatemala with the rival Zeta gang The main character, Art Keller, is waging his personal war on the drug trade, and is recruited by a U.S Senator from Texas to become head of the DEA, where he worked as an operative for many years Keller leaves Juarez, onetime murder capital of Mexico, marries the activist Marisol, who had been badly injured in an attack by the cartel, and moves to Washington With no interest in politics, he decides to attack the problem north of the southern border, aligning himself with major city law enforcement primarily NY City and the money men profiting from the drug trafficking One of the great storylines, among many, is the undercover NYC detective, seeking to topple a rising black drug dealer, who is a puppet for the Mexicans.Meanwhile, things in Mexico are seriously deteriorating, in the void left by Ad n Barrera Turf wars are everywhere, led by some members of Ad n s generation and to a large extent, the younger generation, dubbed Los Hijos, who partied together when united and are now at each other s throats Recently released from Supermax, after 20 years, is Rafael Caro, who seems to be the only one able to broker peace In fact, he is the Lord of Chaos, and is manipulating the various rivals to kill each other.The 720 pages breeze by, with memorable characters and stories, the good, the bad, the manipulators, the manipulated Every time Art Keller gets close to toppling the U.S power infrastructure, he loses a key witness or a prosecutor gets cold feet, until he is forced to put himself on the line to get some closure.


  10. says:

    My review of THE BORDER can be found at High Fever Books.Thanks to political connections made during the Guatemala raid at the climax of The Cartel, Art Keller is named head of the Drug Enforcement Agency to combat America s burgeoning heroin epidemic His efforts at combating the flow of opioids opens an investigation that takes Keller, his agents, and a host of author Don Winslow s secondary and tertiary characters from the poppy fields of Mexico to the financial barons of Wall Street, and into the heart of the darkest corridors of power in Washington, D.C As the 2016 presidential election campaign heats up, Keller soon learns that despite now being nearly two thousand miles away from Mexico, the border and the influence of notorious drug cartels is closer than ever.As with the prior two novels, this final book in Winslow s Power of the Dog series is a labyrinthine crime epic, one that approaches its subject in a mosaic style, offering a large number of subplots, points of view, and characters that weave in and out of the narrative and intersect in surprising ways The Border closes out Winslow s examination of the last forty years of America s War on Drugs, fictionalizing plenty of dramatic real world occurrences and high profile figures as he tackles a broad view of the illegal drug trade and its various players Winslow takes us from Keller s office as director of the DEA to the junkies on the street, exploring the connections between federal and local police forces as an undercover investigation is launched to connect local drug traffickers to their Mexican cartel suppliers, and the money laundering that occurs on either end With an investigation focused on following the money, Keller eventually finds himself mired in an unholy level of corruption that could not only destroy him, but the country as well Casting a large shadow over Keller s investigation is in coming president, John Dennison Dennison is transparently the Donald Trump figure of The Border, to the point that Winslow had to do very little creative juggling to develop this character and simply transcribed Trump speeches and tweets In short, then, Dennison is every bit the amoral, loudmouthed, obstructive, and corruptive influence as his real life counterpart, only with Mexican drug cartels swapped out with the Russians as the primary colluding figures As Keller s investigation heats up, Dennison takes to Twitter to call him weak and decry the DEA s work as a witch hunt, in between demands to Build The Wall The November 2016 election results propels Keller to stand against not just the Mexican cartels but against his country as well, turning him into a patriotic pariah Winslow absolutely nails the feelings of depression and despair that washed over the majority of American voters in immediate wake of Trump s election as we helplessly watched as our country was handed over to a repugnant, immoral racist, sexist, bigot and con artist who rode into the highest office in our land on a wave of hatred and fascist rhetoric Keller wakes up November 9, 2016 to the disheartening realization that his country is far different than the one he thought he knew Winslow is on record as having thought he was finished with his story on the War on Drugs with The Cartel, and in so many ways that book felt like a definite conclusion Of course, the story dictated otherwise, and the result is The Border, the definitive conclusion to a story that began with The Power of the Dog in 2005 Winslow has been writing about the American War on Drug and all the various facets such an operation has entailed for than decade, fictionalizing so much of reality, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all The resulting books are absolute must reads, and Winslow has created a powerful and necessary trilogy about one of the US s longest, bloodiest, and most morally compromised wars in its relatively short history as a nation The Border is an epic of its time, and it just so happens that its time is so heavily influenced by the orange, idiotic, 800 pound tweeting gorilla in the room, Donald Trump It s impossible to avoid a figure like Trump in a contemporary American crime novel about US drug policy, drug trafficking, and the porous nature of the Mexican border and US ports, particularly a figure that routinely shoots his mouth off about building a wall, dehumanizing Mexican immigrants, and belittling Mexicans as nothing than rapists and murderers Winslow, and Art Keller, are left with little choice but to face all this head on It would be unfair to characterize Winslow s depiction of Keller s investigation as little than wish fulfillment, because let s face it if it were actually wish fulfillment, the manchild Trump Dennison would have never been made president in the first place Instead, any wish fulfillment is left to the readers hoping for a lone American patriot to win against a corrupt government and a twisted, morally bankrupt leader Those who have read Winslow s prior two Power of the Dog novels know full well that any such victories are not easily won They come at a cost, and never without deeply personal loss And Winslow, master that he is, makes you feel each and every inch of this grueling, challenging, hard fought war.


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The BorderFor Over Forty Years, Art Keller Has Been On The Front Lines Of America S Longest Conflict The War On Drugs His Obsession To Defeat The World S Most Powerful, Wealthy, And Lethal Kingpin The Godfather Of The Sinaloa Cartel, Ad N Barrera Has Left Him Bloody And Scarred, Cost Him People He Loves, Even Taken A Piece Of His SoulNow Keller Is Elevated To The Highest Ranks Of The DEA, Only To Find That In Destroying One Monster He Has Created Thirty That Are Wreaking Even Chaos And Suffering In His Beloved Mexico But Not Just ThereBarrera S Final Legacy Is The Heroin Epidemic Scourging America Throwing Himself Into The Gap To Stem The Deadly Flow, Keller Finds Himself Surrounded By Enemies Men That Want To Kill Him, Politicians That Want To Destroy Him, And Worse, The Unimaginable An Incoming Administration That S In Bed With The Very Drug Traffickers That Keller Is Trying To Bring DownArt Keller Is At War With Not Only The Cartels, But With His Own Government And The Long Fight Has Taught Him Than He Ever Imagined Now, He Learns The Final Lesson There Are No Borders


About the Author: Don Winslow

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