Hype. It seems that every month, if not every week and day, someone is hyping something. This movie is Must See! That show is the BEST! This podcast (well, maybe podcasts don’t get hyped to the same level as movies and shows- although if you’re not listening to Mystery Show, really, I don’t know what to say) And yes, even books- this story is riveting!
In my experience, the product rarely lives up to the hype.
Thus, when I come across something, like a book, that matches and even exceeds the hype, well, that book will be the book of the month.
Books of the Month (yes, books in plural)- Recently, Don Winslow released The Cartel, which is a follow up to his earlier book, The Power of The Dog. I must’ve been hiding under a rock when The Power of the Dog was released, because I’d never heard of it until The Cartel came out.
I can’t recall, at least in recent memory, hearing so much praise for one book. Since it garnered so much praise and was a crime novel, I had to give it a try. However, since The Cartel is a sequel to The Power of the Dog, I started with it, although that’s not necessary.
Taken individually, each book is a standout. Taken together, they are phenomenal. Masterful.
In short (which is a bit of a misnomer, since the two books total over 1300 pages), Winslow tells the story of two men, Art Keller (DEA Agent) and Adan Barrerra (cartel drug lord) over a forty-year period. An early friendship turns into a life-long battle with each man wanting to get the other. The story of these two men is told against the backdrop of the drug wars in Mexico over the last forty years. Graphic and dark in sections, the storytelling is hypnotic.
If I had to compare these two books to anything, I’d liken them to James Ellroy’s LA Quartet (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and White Jazz).
Having been blown away by Winslow’s writing, I delved into some of his other books:
- Savages, The Kings of Cool, and The Death and Life of Bobby Z. How best to describe these two books? Ken Bruen meets SoCal (Or maybe Ken Bruen is Don Winslow meets Galway.)
Other books I read this month include Small Crimes by Dave Zeltersman (noir), The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes by Zach Dundas (an in-depth look at Sherlock Holmes), and The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy by Filip Bondy (an entertaining look at the infamous Pine Tar Game).
TV & FILM
I really should keep an ongoing log of what I watch (which isn’t much), because when the end of the month arrives, I can’t remember what I’ve watched. I gave up on True Detective after episode 3, the story made no sense. I watched the first episode of Rectify– seems promising. That’s about all I can remember.
Except for the Tour de France. I did watch that.
Here it comes, an actual drop-date (or semi drop-date) for my next novel, Taken For Granted. Look for it by mid-September at the latest, if not earlier. Hopefully, I have one last copy edit and then it will be ready.
In case you missed it, this month I reduced the price of the ebook version of Secrets To Keep to .99.