The Border By Don Winslow takes the epic tale of DEA agent Art Keller and his war on drugs to a worthy conclusion. The Border is book three in the Power of the Dog series. This series starts in 1975 and takes us all the way up to 2019. The Border mirrors events that happened in real life and tweek them to fit the narrative, making it feel very real and current. The previous books in the series have remained in Mexico, but this book looks at the drug war going on in America. This book reminded me of J. R. Tolkien’s Return of the King when they destroyed the ring, they go back the shire is under siege (that happens in the book not the movie). Art Keller spent so many years trying to destroy drug kingpins in Mexico, that he returns to see that drugs are all around and didn’t stop anything. I did not like The Border as much as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel which were both 5 stars, but this delivered a pretty could conclusion wrapping up the series really well. This book brought back a couple of characters from the first book, that I was curious about what happened to their characters, since they were missing from the first. This is my fourth Don Winslow book, and I plan to read a lot more.
The Plot: In 2012 Art Keller took out Adan Barrera, it was unsanctioned, and he denied to everyone even the woman he loved. This created rumors a sighting of the drug kingpin. The extended Barrera family still ran the drugs, but they all wondered where Adan is? and if he is dead, who takes over? Art Keller who retired is lured back to DEA, by a senator who he has helped in the past, he not coming back as an agent, but as the director. His new job is to stop drugs in America. Adan’s body is found which causes split in the family and breaks out in a turf war. Crazy Eddie just wanted to do his four years and retire after he helped Art Kellar take down Adan by snitching. Prison his hard for him, and he has to make deals to survive putting him right back in the drug game. Art Keller thought he killed the kingpin, the killings and drugs would slow down, but he was wrong.
What I Liked: This series is still hardcore look at drug and their effect. The conclusion wrapped up everything, every dirty little secret was exposed and it was quite something to read. Art Kellar got to keep the girl, Marisol is his soul mate it was nice to see him not destroy one relationship. I liked all of Crazy Eddie’s rise and falls, he’s a fun character that is like a cat always landing on his feet. I liked the war to be the new boss. I liked Ric’s last night out, that’s how you go out. I liked all the double and triple crosses, and some still keeping loyalty that was formed years ago. I loved seeing Sean and Nora come back into the series.
What I Disliked: The Nico storyline, it was interesting at times, but for such a long book, it was an easy cut for me. I felt the storyline barely dipped into drugs, and was more about illegal immigrants. What was done with Chuy’s storyline, since he was in the epilogue, with Art Kellar. He was dispatched too soon, and Art never really found out what happened. Chuy was basically his son for two years, and when he runs away he makes a search party but doesn’t seem to give it another thought after that.
Recommendations: The Border is a hard core narrative that is very hard hitting. The Power of the Dog series has way too many trigger warnings to list, it is for a mature reader. That being said the writing is really good and will keep you very entertained, you will live the lives of drug dealers, cartel enforcers, DEA agents, undercover cops, teenage immigrants, gang members, reporters, and hitmen. I rated The Border 4 out of 5 stars. I rated the full Power of the Dog series 5 out of 5. The Power of the Dog, which was my favorite 5 out of 5, The Cartel a worthy sequel 4 out of 5 and finally this book The Border 4 out of 5 stars. I started reading Don Winslow books 3 years and he is quickly becoming my favorite new author in Crime Fiction.