Top critical review
Good But Editor Required !
19 March 2019
I had really mixed feelings about this book.
It’s difficult to comment on ‘The Border’ (TB) without referencing ‘The Power Of The Dog’ (TPOTD) and ‘Cartel’ (C). Together they’re a trilogy and each is virtually a direct continuation of the other. To read TB first, or in isolation, is virtually pointless.
First off, is a cast of characters as long as a Chinese menu, most of which have Latino names. This, together with the complexity of the history behind the the cartels, would leave the uninitiated not knowing if they were Arthur or Martha !
You therefore have to commit yourself to a 3 volume 2200 page drug opus to really get it and one that should definitely be read in order. This is a big commitment on anybody’s reading time so, the question has to be - is it worth it ?
The short answer is yes. Nobody has addressed the ‘Drug Wars’ with the depth, intensity and understanding of Winslow.
He informs and entertains in equal measure and these books are visceral thrillers and deliver as such.
That said, whilst TPOTD is a five star masterpiece and C is a very creditable four star sequel, TB stumbles and it stumbles for the reason that it is way too long and highly repetitious. Halfway through I found myself thinking ‘For God’s sake just get on with it’. The body count is huge and there is a limit to how many misogynistic drug cartel orgies any man or woman would want to attend. Furthermore, everything is described in the most minute detail and the whole thing is riddled with sub plots, not all of which work.
Winslow also starts to preach a bit towards the end and apart from the fact that the tone grated , I don’t actually agree with his conclusions about the war on drugs.
That said, the trilogy as a whole is well worth while. It’s just a shame that he didn’t have a more fierce editor. If ever anything needed cutting back it is ‘The Border’