Thursday, July 27, 2017

Don Winslow Serves UP the Summer's Best Book

This is another brilliant novel from Don Winslow, author of The Power of the Dog and The Winter of Frankie Machine. At the heart of the story is Detective Sergeant Denny Malone of the N.Y.P.D, a deeply flawed character in a corrupt and brutally flawed system.

Malone runs a small elite task force charged with chasing down drug dealers, gun runners, gang members and other such scum. He thinks of himself as the "King of Manhattan North," and to Malone's way of thinking, the ends almost always justify the means. He and his team often act outside of the law in order to "police" the city, and for the most part, their superiors and the Powers That Be turn a blind eye. In a city riven by race and class, the P.D.'s brass want good statistics and the citizens just want the criminals kept away from their doorsteps. How that happens is not much of a concern to any of them.

Denny Malone comes from a long line of policemen, and all he ever wanted was to be a good cop. But from almost the moment he left the Academy, Malone allowed himself to be slowly corrupted until now, he's not any better than and not much different from the thugs he's supposed to be chasing. He and his team administer justice as they see fit, and along the way they rip off cash and drugs, making themselves a fortune in the process. They live like princes, but the day of reckoning is surely coming and when it does, Denny Malone will be sorely tested.

Malone is one of the most compelling figures in crime fiction to come along in years, and Winslow's indictment of the police force, the prosecutors, the lawyers and the politicians who run New York City is searing. This is one of the most depressing stories you'll ever read, and one of the most beautifully written. It's like watching a train wreck unfolding in slow motion. You can't take your eyes off it, and once you pick up this book you cannot put it down until you've reluctantly read the final page. This is easily the book of the summer and one can only wonder where Don Winslow might go from here.

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