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The author I'm most excited to read in 2017: Don Winslow

Don Winslow is no rookie. A veteran writer who's been penning his own particular brand of crime novels for years, I only discovered him when I began thumbing through a friend's copy of his cartel epic The Power of the Dog. I was immediately struck by his spare prose and amazingly authentic dialogue. From reading only a few pages, it was clear that Winslow was an expert at creating compelling, flawed and realistic characters along with thrilling and visceral stories. Equal parts Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy, I can't wait to read Don Winslow in 2017.

The Power of the Dog

Drug lord Miguel Angel Barrera is head of the Mexican drug federacion, responsible for millions of dollars worth of cocaine traffic into the US and the torture of those who stand in its way. His nephew, Adan Barrera, is his worthy successor. Art Keller is a US government operative, so determined to obtain revenge for a murdered colleague that his pursuit of the cartel veers dangerously towards an obsession outside the law. This is a world characterised by its brutality, yet all Winslow's incredibly varied cast - including a high class prostitute, an Irish hitman and a charismatic Catholic priest - are all in their own ways searching for salvation. Don Winslow's masterpiece is not only a page-turning thriller but also a rich and compelling novel in the league of an Ellroy or Delillo.

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The Cartel

From the internationally bestselling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog comes The Cartel, a gripping true-to-life epic, ripped from the headlines, of power, corruption, revenge and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars. It's 2004. DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adan Barrera, the head of El Federacion, the world's most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller's partner. Finally putting Barrera away costs Keller dearly - the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, the life he wants to lead. Then Barrera gets out, determined to rebuild the empire that Keller shattered. Unwilling to live in a world with Barrera in it, Keller goes on a ten-year odyssey to take him down. His obsession with justice - or is it revenge - becomes a ruthless struggle that stretches from the cities, mountains and deserts of Mexico, to Washington's corridors of power, to the streets of Berlin and Barcelona. Keller fights his personal battle against the devastated backdrop of Mexico's drug war, a conflict of unprecedented scale and viciousness, as cartels vie for power and he comes to the final reckoning with Barrera - and himself - that he always knew must happen. The Cartel is a story of power, corruption, revenge, honour and sacrifice, as one man tries to face down the devil without losing his soul. It is the story of the war on drugs and the men - and women - who wage it.

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The Winter of Frankie Machine

Frank Machianno is the guy, a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. That's when he's not juggling any of his other three part-time jobs or trying to get a quick set in on his long board. He's a beloved fixture of the community, a stand-up businessman, a devoted father to his daughter. Frank's also a hit man. Well, a retired hit man. Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast mob, he was known as Frankie Machine. Years ago, Frank consigned his mob ties to the past, which is where he wants them to stay. But a favour called in by the local boss is one Frank simply can't refuse, and before he knows it he's sucked back into the treacherous currents of his former life. Someone from his past wants him dead, and he has to figure out who, and why, and he has to do it fast. The problem is that the list of candidates is about the size of his local phone book and Frank's rapidly running out of time.

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Savages

Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from their loyal clientele. In the past when their turf was challenged, Chon took care of eliminating the threat. But now they may have come up against something that they can't handle-the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, sending them the message that a "no" is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel escalates its threat, kidnapping Ophelia, the boys' playmate and confidante. O's abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists that will captivate readers eager to learn the costs of freedom and the price of one amazing high. Savages is an ingenious combination of adrenaline-fuelled suspense and true-crime reportage by a master thriller writer at the very top of his game.

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The Kings of Cool

In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twentysomething best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Now, in his high-octane prequel, Winslow reaches back in time to tell the story of how Ben, Chon and O became the people they are. Spanning fifty years, from 1960s Southern California to the recent past, it is a tale of family in all its forms - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and lovers. As the younger generation does battle with a cabal of drug dealers and crooked cops, they come to learn that their future is inextricably linked with their parents' history. A series of breakneck twists and turns puts the two generations on a collision course, culminating in a stunning showdown that will ultimately force Ben, Chon and O to choose between their real families, and their love for each other.

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Book lover, movie buff. Marketing copywriter for Bookwitty. A cat-person, a dog-person, and a person-person.

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