Home > Book Review > Book Review- “The Force” by Don Winslow

Book Review- “The Force” by Don Winslow

ForceIn his review of Don Winslow’s stunning and powerful drug war novel, “The Cartel,” Michael Connelly said that there’s no higher mark for a storyteller than to both educate and entertain, and that Winslow is a master whose novels do both. I whole heartedly agree. Winslow’s ability to inform and inspire thought while weaving an exciting narrative full of great characters is why he’s one of my favorite authors. It’s also why I was really looking forward to reading his new novel “The Force.” Having finished that book, I’m happy to report that Winslow did not disappoint. “The Force” is another example of an author at the top of his game and an example of how powerful, entertaining, and important crime fiction can be.

While I was reading “The Force” I couldn’t help but think of the classic Nietzsche quote, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

That’s because, in the novel, Winslow tell the tales of a top cop and his colleagues in a elite unit of the New York Police Department. So it’s a very timely tale that examines the insidious and often hard to recognize path to corruption that many law enforcement officers inadvertently stumble onto while trying to serve and protect their communities.

So Detective Denny Malone, the protagonist of “The Force,” and his fellow cops in Manhattan North aren’t really the villains of Winslow’s novel. They’re not the heroes either. Part of the reason “The Force” is so compelling is because of the moral nuance Winslow gives it’s main cast of characters is. They’re capable of being both heroic and utterly despicable both to the communities they serve and the families they’re part of.

However, “The Force” isn’t just a look at corrupt cops and how a police force can don_winslowfail the community it serves. It’s also a look at how communities fail the cops that have sworn to protect it. We see how administrative brass, city officials, and corporate power players create an atmosphere that’s ripe for corruption with their emphasis on convictions by any means necessary, bending the law to suit their own interests, and drafting cops into an unwinnable drug war that forces them to triage parts of the city and transform economically impoverished areas into drug ridden war zones of misery and despair.

Winslow’s examination of his characters and police corruption unfolds as an epic, sweeping narrative with a huge cast of eclectic and fully fleshed out characters where little anecdotes and powerful turning point moments combine to create a narrative with power and momentum. I honestly don’t want to say too much more about the characters and events of “The Force” because I want readers to have the same enjoyment I did by discovering them for themselves.

What I will say is “The Force” is full of organic twists and turns that many readers won’t see coming. They’ll force you to root for and against Detective Denny Malone and his friends. They’ll also glue you to the book as you rocket towards a hell of a climax.

So with “The Force” Don Winslow proves once again that he’s one of the best crime writers working today. The book is one of the best, if not the best, cop novels I’ve ever read.

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Categories: Book Review
  1. August 7, 2017 at 6:41 am

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