The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is an incredible complex novel detailing the rise of the Mexican drug cartels and their impact on life in Mexico and the United States. This is a page turner, but it is also a thought provoking book. Several themes dominate throughout including a meditation on the destructive seduction of revenge. In the novel, revenge is on the mind of each of the four, interwoven, main characters. They are, in no particular order, Art Keller (a DEA agent waging war with a Mexican cartel due to the torture and murder of his partner); Nora (a hooker who forms a complicated bond with a kingpin); Adan Barerra (the aforementioned drug kingpin who takes the drug trade in Mexico to amazing heights with his genius and brutality) and Callan (an Irish gun for hire who drifts through the carnage of the drug world).
Ultimately, the journeys of these characters is what makes this novel a deeply satisfying read. There is more of course, as we witness the drug trade from a unique standpoint - the winning side. These are criminals who are making hundreds of millions of dollars and have become so engrained in politics and society it is virtually impossible to root them out. "Good guys" or "heroes" is a lax term in this book and the characters are rich, vivid and perfectly drawn. This book is impossible to put down and stays with the reader long after the final page is turned.