Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Force

Summary: The acclaimed, award-winning, bestselling author of The Cartel—voted one of the Best Books of the Year by more than sixty publications, including the New York Times—makes his William Morrow debut with a cinematic epic as explosive, powerful, and unforgettable as Mystic River and The Wire.

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true . . .

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a, highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

Based on years of research inside the NYPD, this is the great cop novel of our time and a book only Don Winslow could write: a haunting and heartbreaking story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve. A searing portrait of a city and a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at the edge of its abyss, The Force is a masterpiece of urban living full of shocking and surprising twists, leavened by flashes of dark humor, a morally complex and utterly riveting dissection of modern American society and the controversial issues confronting and dividing us today. -- William Morrow

At BEA, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Jennifer Hart (aka Book Club Girl). Of course, I asked her what books she was excited to be working on for the summer/fall; and she said that one of their big ones is THE FORCE by Don Winslow. She told me my dad would love it, but when I saw the buzz surrounding this novel, I decided that I wanted to read it! (I will pass it along to my dad, though, because he will love it... and appreciate that I'm giving him a novel without the expectation of a review!)

THE FORCE tells the story of Denny Malone, a NYC cop who is "the king of Manhattan North." He is both respected and feared, and he's in charge of "Da Force," the elite special force that pretty much can do anything to fight gangs, drugs and guns in the city. Basically, being a cop has been Malone's life-long dream and no one really gets in his way. The thing is that Malone isn't always clean, and recently he crossed a serious line.

Malone and his partners made a major drug bust and ended up stealing millions in cash and drugs... and now everyone, including the Feds, know something's up. The Feds have given him an ultimatum -- either provide information and help trap other officers or go to jail for a very long time. Malone hates that he's betraying his brothers, but he also wants to protect the city, himself and his loved ones. Malone's actions are definitely blurred between good and bad, but the big question is, "Can he use his life-long skills as a cop to save himself?"

I couldn't wait to share my thoughts about THE FORCE with all of you, and now that I'm trying to write my review, I will admit that it's not going to be easy. It's not a typical read for me, although I used to read novels like this much more in my pre-blogging days. However, I am so happy that I decided to pick up this book. THE FORCE has been, without a doubt, my favorite book of the summer. It's nothing short of a masterpiece, and I'm truly in awe of Mr. Winslow's writing talents!

I hardly know where to begin in telling you about THE FORCE. I feel as if I just want to throw out adjectives like amazing and brilliant, but when it comes to specifics, I'm at a loss for words. THE FORCE is a big novel (almost 500 pages), and I was never bored with the story. (That's saying a lot for me because I usually stay away from chunksters!) Furthermore, not only was I not ever bored, I was enthralled with everything Malone said or did.

Malone truly is one of the most memorable characters I've ever encountered in fiction. The complexity of his character, namely the juxtaposition between his good and bad actions, is fascinating. I've seen comparisons to THE GODFATHER (but with cops), and I have to say I totally agree. Malone has so many layers, and while many of his actions are unquestionably disgusting, I loved him. I don't know if I loved him as a human being, but I definitely loved him as a character.

Another stellar thing about THE FORCE is how many twists and turns there were to the story. I could barely keep up with Malone and many of the other characters, and I constantly questioned who was good versus who was bad. At this point, I'm still asking myself that! What I can definitely say is that this novel demonstrated that we all have the capacity to be both good and evil, and nothing is really black or white. Needless to say, this novel gave me quite a bit to think about even after I appreciated the entertaining aspects of the story.

And finally, I was amazed/impressed/blown away by how well the author brought the New York Police Department to life. I sure as heck hope much of what occurred in this novel was a figment of Mr. Winslow's imagination; however, he certainly made it feel real to me. I loved how he captured the relationship between the cops (both the good and the bad), but I also appreciated how well he described the essence of the city and its inhabitants. Truly, the way he described the police force and the relationship with the city (and the politicians) was something special... and the author's research for this novel is nothing short of outstanding.

I could go on and on about this novel for quite a long time, but I just wanted to tease you with enough to make you pick up this book. Needless to say, I loved this novel and would love to discuss it with others -- think amazing book club pick! As far as I'm concerned, if you even think you might enjoy a novel about a "good" cop gone "bad," then THE FORCE is a must-read book. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I thought I'd read one of his books but I haven't. The fact that this is your favorite of the summer makes me want to drop everything and read it.