Sam Radford

May 25, 2021

Book Notes: “The Power of the Dog” by Don Winslow

I while ago I put a request out on my Instagram Stories asking for fiction recommendations.

My fiction pile was down to nothing, and I was struggling for inspiration.

Thankfully, friends and followers came through and my fiction pile has been thoroughly reestablished.

One of the recommendations was The Power of the Dog. It’s actually the first in a trilogy by the author Don Winslow.

Overall, I enjoyed this. A lot.

But it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

First off, it’s worth stressing this definitely fits into the category of a long read. Well over five hundred pages and the font was small too.

The story itself is a riveting, three decade long journey through America’s war on drugs, starting in the mid-seventies. A DEA agent, a Mexican drug lord, a New York gangster, and a prostitute are the main characters whose eyes the story is seen through. It’s a fascinating and brutal look at the drugs trade, wading into the realms of politics, religion, and business.

I will say there were a lot of threads to keep track of throughout the novel! And some of those threads were more engaging than others. I found myself switching off slightly in some sections.

I did learn a good lesson while reading this though: Don’t have your phone with you while you’re reading.

(I’ve learnt this a while ago with TV too. I noticed I wasn’t enjoying many of the shows I was watching. But, on reflection, I realised I was always half on my phone at the same time.)

Watching or reading something semi-distracted is a great way to enjoy nothing!

Truth told, I started getting into the story far more as soon as I engaged with it wholeheartedly.

I guess I’m saying though that, for me at least, with this book, I had to be fully focussed or else it became a struggle to stay with the story.

But, by the end of the book I was completely engrossed, and am eagerly planning to read book two at some point soon.