The Power Of The Dog

The Power of the Dog

I’m hooked on this book.

And you could be too, maybe.

It’s not the kind of thing I read, the “Baltimore Sun” called it a “thriller,” and I don’t read genre books, no mysteries, nothing plot driven, I’m looking for a volume to touch my soul, but I started reading this and it keeps calling to me, chewing up my evenings, making me mad I have to turn out the light at night.

Steve Martin messengered it over. No, not the famous actor/writer/musician, I don’t know him, funny how you can live in the same town and not ever come across somebody but there are those who live thousands of miles away that you see all the time, like Steve Martin of APA. We were at dinner, talking about reading, and he started raving.

And the very next day there was a messenger at my door, with a package from Book Soup. How much did that trip cost? Couldn’t Steve just send me a Kindle version?

I hate the book business. Because they made Kindle books as expensive as the physical versions. In this case, the paperback “Power Of The Dog” costs LESS than the Kindle take and that makes no sense, there’s no printing, no shipping, no returns… but you can’t stay in the way of people inured to the old game, until it all collapses and they wonder where their lunch went. Ten plus bucks for an album of files is ridiculous, and now it’s all about streaming, and don’t blame Spotify, don’t even blame YouTube, they’re saviors, before that it was all piracy all the time and you didn’t get paid at all.

And what I love about Kindle books is I always have a device with me, I don’t have to schlepp the book around. In a stolen moment I can read the same damn book on my iPad or iPhone, it’s always in reach, today’s all about access, who’d want to sacrifice that?

And despite this being the golden age of the written word, hell, it’s king on the internet, there’s so much bad writing that when you encounter something good it’s a pleasure, you don’t want to put it down.

Don Winslow can write.

But despite getting the book back in February, I didn’t crack the cover until last weekend, when I finished Angela Duckworth’s “Grit,” don’t read it, it won’t quite put you to sleep but it’s close, she may be a good researcher but she’s a mediocre writer. I only opened “The Power Of The Dog” so I could tell Steve I tried. But it cut like butter, I was immediately involved.

In a twisted tale of dope dealing.

There’s the hooker with the heart of gold, the young punks who mess with the Mafia in NYC. Even the cocaine cowboys of Colombia. But what makes “The Power Of The Dog” work is the history, of Mexico, Central and South America. Because we in the U.S.A. are clueless, we’re lucky if we know what’s going on in the next town, George W. Bush was elected President and he’d never even left the country! But his father was involved in the shenanigans in Central America…

That’s where the CIA operates, fighting communism, and on so many sides of the coin that you cannot spend it, it won’t fit in the slot machine, it will only bring you tsuris instead of winnings.

What really happened in Nicaragua? Which side were the Sandinistas on? And guns for hostages with dope in the middle…

“The Power Of The Dog” explains it all.

And I’d whip out some great quotes if I read the digital version, where you can highlight and collect them quickly.

And I don’t want to reveal the plot, like every lame reviewer extant.

I just want to give you the vibe. What if you got caught up in something you couldn’t get out of, knowing it would all end badly, but enjoying yourself along the way? What if in your travels you encountered politics and dealt with so many players you were no longer sure which side was right or wrong? Then you’d be involved in the story in this book.

It’s a long tome. I still have a hundred pages to go. And there’s a sequel, “The Cartel.” And it’s not everybody’s piece of candy, but if you like a long hard slog, if you like a dope or Mafia movie, you’ll go down the rabbit hole and think this is what life’s about, story.

Some of the descriptions go on too long. Some of the characters are two-dimensional. Sometimes there’s too much plot. But when you read “The Power Of The Dog” you suddenly understand what all the shooting and the addiction and the government programs are about. You get a feel for the miasma. You examine motivations, wonder if we can ever get along, if there are any solutions.

Books are interesting. In that you can’t sample them, you’ve got to read them. Someone can tell you about a track and you can immediately check it out and get it. A movie only takes an hour or two. But a book is a commitment.

And you never know what to read and you never know if you share the same taste, you’re stumbling in the wilderness for something that resonates and then you devour it and it’s over, you’re hungry for more but there isn’t any.

If you’re going on vacation. If you’re looking for something to eat up the long nights. If you want to know more about a life you never lived.


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