Winslow’s most ambitious yet, though its irony and pathos work better in individual episodes than across the whole broad...

THE POWER OF THE DOG

From the Power of the Dog series , Vol. 1

A sprawling, old-fashioned saga focuses 25 years of Mexico’s violent drug history through the interlocking loyalties, obsessions and vendettas of a DEA agent, a drug lord, a courtesan and a killer-for-hire.

Winslow (California Fire and Life, 1999, etc.) starts with Art Keller, a DEA adviser who wants so badly to take down Don Pedro Aviles, the Patron of Sinaloa, that he makes what turns out to be a bargain with three devils: rising drug power Miguel Angel Barrera and his nephews Adan and Raul. Sean Callan, meanwhile, grows up overnight in Hell’s Kitchen when his sudden resolve to save his friend O-Bop from mob intimidation turns them both into teenaged killers on the run. And California girl Nora Hayden, who’s always enjoyed her power over the older men hitting on her, decides to turn pro under the tutelage of a San Diego madam. President Nixon, showing that like Art Keller he’s consistently two steps behind the Barerra family, declares war on drugs, and the policy of throwing money at interdiction ushers in an era of related real-life disasters. Crack cocaine makes its debut. American forces back freedom fighters in Central America. An earthquake rocks Mexico City. The Catholic Church resumes normal relations with the Mexican government. Heroin makes a big comeback. Along the way, Nora misses true love with Callan and becomes Archbishop Juan Parada’s best friend and Adan’s mistress; mounting casualties in the War on Drugs cause Art to break with the Barreras and swear revenge against Adan; and countless deals between warring drug factions and governments are torpedoed by double-crosses. Few members of the large cast will survive the final curtain, and you’ll need a scorecard to keep track of the quick and the dead.

Winslow’s most ambitious yet, though its irony and pathos work better in individual episodes than across the whole broad historical canvas.

Pub Date: May 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-375-40538-0

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 44

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more