A Series For The Serious Reader

This Week

The Cartel: A novel by Don Winslow


From the internationally best-selling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog comes The Cartel, a gripping, true-to-life, ripped-from-the-headlines epic story of power, corruption, revenge, and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars.

It’s 2004. DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adán Barrera, the head of El Federación, the world’s most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller’s partner. Finally putting Barrera away cost Keller dearly—the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, the life he wants to lead.

Then Barrera gets out, determined to rebuild the empire that Keller shattered. Unwilling to live in a world with Barrera in it, Keller goes on a ten-year odyssey to take him down. His obsession with justice—or is it revenge?—becomes a ruthless struggle that stretches from the cities, mountains, and deserts of Mexico to Washington’s corridors of power to the streets of Berlin and Barcelona.
Keller fights his personal battle against the devastated backdrop of Mexico’s drug war, a conflict of unprecedented scale and viciousness, as cartels vie for power and he comes to the final reckoning with Barrera—and himself—that he always knew must happen.

The Cartel is a story of revenge, honor, and sacrifice, as one man tries to face down the devil without losing his soul. It is the story of the war on drugs and the men—and women—who wage it.

Next Week

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel by Salman Rushdie


From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.

Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.

Inspired by the traditional “wonder tales” of the East, Salman Rushdie’s novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.

Praise for Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

“Rushdie is our Scheherazade, inexhaustibly enfolding story within story and unfolding tale after tale with such irrepressible delight that it comes as a shock to remember that, like her, he has lived the life of a storyteller in immediate peril. . . . Readers are going to admire the courage of this book, revel in its fierce colors, its boisterousness, humor and tremendous pizzazz, and take delight in its generosity of spirit.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian

“Erudite without flaunting it, an amusement park of a pulpy disaster novel that resists flying out of control by being grounded by religion, history, culture and love.”—Los Angeles Times

“[A] rambunctious, satirical, and bewitching metaphysical fable, perhaps his most thoroughly enjoyable to date . . . fantastically inventive, spirited, astute, and delectable.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A composite of magic realism, mythology, science fiction and straight-up fantasy . . . Like the best Rushdie novels, Two Years is playful and inventive, and also intellectually bracing.”—The Globe and Mail

“Incandescent . . . brilliant, ambitious . . . One cannot escape the feeling that all those years of writing and success have perhaps been preparation for this moment, for the creation of this tremendously inventive and timely novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Translates the bloody upheavals of our last few decades into the comic-book antics of warring jinn wielding bolts of fire, mystical transmutations and rhyming battle spells.”—The Washington Post

Well READ Epilogue

This Week's Guest:

In a ripped from the headlines novel, Don Winslow continues his tale of the horrendous acts of the Mexican drug cartels.  He tells Well READ how he fought writing this continuing story but in the end decided it was a story that needed to told.  Winslow talks humorously about how writing is an addiction and how he sometimes needs an intervention.

Air Date:

Check listings on Public Broadcasting Stations and World Channel

Bookmarks by Mary Ann Gwinn

A Don Winslow Reading List Don Winslow is my kind of writer – he has a passion for research, combined with a vivid imagination and the kind of humor that can embrace the good, the bad and the incomprehensible. New York Times book critic Janet Maslin praised one of his books for fusing “the grave and the playful, the body blow and the joke, the nightmare and the pipe dream.” get the full list >

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