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The Force

By: Don Winslow

Publisher: HarperCollins Trade

Imprint: Morrow

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780062664419

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio | Trade Paperback

On Sale: | Pages: 496

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From 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 -- comes 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 carte blanche to fight 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. What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself 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. This is the great cop novel of our time and a book only Don Winslow could write: a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption, a story that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve. A searing portrait of a city on the edge of an abyss and of a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at that edge, The Force is a masterpiece of urban realism 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 us today.
Don Winslow dedicates his outstanding crime novel, “The Force,” to law enforcement personnel murdered in the line of duty during the time he wrote his book.... Suspenseful as “The Force” is, this reader put it down with a few quibbles. At nearly 500 pages, the book is overlong, particularly in its early chapters, which contain a lot of backstory. A glossary of street and cop argot — terms like “skel,” “slinger” and “rips” — would have been useful, even if the context eventually clarifies meaning. And with scores of characters moving through the action, a list of them, and how they function in the plot, would have helped. These matters still don't detract from the fascination of Denny Malone. A complex Everyman, he holds the tale together and may earn our sympathy and even empathy.
—San Francisco Chronicle
I have mixed feelings about THE FORCE. It's an unwieldy account (see below), with almost as much to dislike as to love. In that latter sense, it is much like the character who is the central topic of the book and who is complicated in the best and worst ways. His story, in the hands of Don Winslow, is mesmerizing, even if the author's method of telling it occasionally (but not fatally) gets in the way of the narrative.... It is inconsistently written but contains a spellbinding story with characters you will never forget from first page to last. And, in the end, isn't telling a story what writing should be --- and is --- all about?
...a riveting ride-along with the Manhattan North Special Task Force, an elite NYPD unit commissioned to battle drugs, guns and gangs in upper Manhattan's mean streets and projects.... Malone's not a murdering racist, he's a murdering realist. In the end, squeezed by the Feds, this dirty hero cop is disturbing proof, Winslow makes clear, that graft and corruption leak down to the street from the highest levels of a broken justice system. As in The Cartel, a poignant non-fiction baseline threads through this novel, leaving readers to wonder how much of it is tragically true. That's what Don Winslow does.
—USA Today
For all the lip service Winslow pays to the boys in blue, make no mistake “The Force” paints the police in a very unflattering light.... Set against a backdrop in which all of New York waits for a grand jury to weigh in on the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop, Winslow expertly ratchets up the tension. His mastery over his material makes the novel compulsively readable in spite of its epic scope. But what makes “The Force” unique among police procedurals is that it's not the story of a rogue cop with a code or a bad apple who spoils the barrel, but a sneakily subversive post-Ferguson thriller.
—Los Angeles Times
...a big, fat book of fast-moving fiction.... The action — a lot of it related in one- or two-sentence paragraphs that rocket you through the tale — is, as you might expect, cinematic. It's often funny, ironic and tense. Malone's mind-set was the only thing that slowed me down. Malone's mind-set, though, may be the most disturbing element at work.
—Washington Post
Set against the all-too-familiar backdrop of a white cop killing a black man, and a $50 million heroin bust that puts Malone on Uneasy Street, “The Force” is gripping and, in Mr. Winslow's magisterial and raw deployment of vernacular, often unquotable. If it occasionally seems clichéd...it always maintains interest. The plot is a typically Byzantine Winslow affair, this time focusing on who controls the precinct's heroin trade; yet the author's ear is flawless, his rhythm catchy.... Besides the salty language, Mr. Winslow packs “The Force” with colorful characters... Navigating Mr. Winslow's complicated storylines leads the reader to this book's curiously satisfying and open-ended conclusion. While “The Force” isn't quite as inventive or operatic as “The Cartel” and “Power of the Dog,” it's a hell of a timely read.
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
...a fast-paced but fairly long book.... "The Force" has a lot of exposition to get through in its initial pages. Denny's background is kept deliberately incomplete, because key parts of it are needed for the book's cinematic denouement. There are many characters and locations and illicit police habits to introduce. But the pace is kept up by the Winslow way with words, which almost entirely defies being quoted here, either because of the slang (Elmore Leonard league) or because of the everyday obscenities that lace every funny line.
—New York Times
...a big, fat book of fast-moving fiction.... The action — a lot of it related in one- or two-sentence paragraphs that rocket you through the tale — is, as you might expect, cinematic. It's often funny, ironic and tense.
—Washington Post
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