The Force, Don Winslow 2017
This is a very big book in every sense. Weighing in at 482 pages, charging forward unceasingly with continuous plot twists and turns, filled with memorable characters, and filled with details about policing, crime, and politics that surprise and enrage, Winslow has created a memorable work in this, his 19th novel. NYPD Detective Sergeant Denny Malone is the King of Manhattan North. The son and grandson of NYPD cops, Malone and his partners, Russo and Montague, Billy O and Levin, spend their days and nights trying to keep the bad guys at bay, the heroin off the streets, and the gangs from killing innocent people. An idealist and a pragmatist, Malone step-by-step becomes a crooked cop, though still trying to do the right thing. Eventually cornered by IAB, the Feds, and the FBI, he turns ‘rat’ but before he’s through, he does the right thing and brings down the mayor, the commissioner, and the rich guy in the Central Park South penthouse along with him. An exhausting and tense read, this was fine piece of work in the tradition of Serpico, the Godfather, and the Sopranos. My guess is that it’s Winslow’s finest work, so reading back through his other novels is not going to happen. A great one-off.