Hey Jazz Dogs! It's The War and Peace of Dope War Books!
Once again, while my family was enjoying the sun and sand, I read about drug wars and torture: The Cartel is part two of Don Winslow's magnum opus on the Mexican drug trade; when I reviewed The Power of the Dog (part one), I described Winslow's writing as "Ellroy-esque," and now, on the back cover, Ellroy himself pays Winslow the highest of compliments . . . he calls the novel "The War and Peace of dope-war books" and then he goes on to say, "it's got the jazz dog feel of a shot of pure meth!" and while that quotation is certainly Ellroy-esque . . . and I'm not sure what a "jazz dog" is, I highly recommend this book (though you should read Power of the Dog first) and while I admit that it's an undertaking, it is worth it-- there's plenty of action and there's even a map, so that finally --after reading five or six books about the Mexican drug wars-- I am starting to understand the how the cartography and the politics fit together . . . and at least it's a real map of actual Mexican states, not a fictional map, like at the start of Lord of the Rings . . . so that when reality mirrors fiction and the real person after whom Adan Barrerra is modeled: "El Chapo" Guzman, escapes once again, you know where he is headed to hide-out (Sinaloa) and while I am always suspect of fiction that requires a map, Game of Thrones has made me change my tune on this rule of thumb, and I am always grateful when non-fiction includes a map because I am spatially challenged.