Friday, July 17, 2015

Don Winslow

Don Winslow's latest novel is The Cartel:

From his Q & A with Terry Gross for Fresh Air:

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross back with Don Winslow, author of the new novel 'The Cartel." He wrote an earlier novel called "The Power Of The Dog" that was also about the Mexican drug wars. He researched the subject for 10 years drawing on his experiences as a private investigator. The main character in "The Cartel" is a DEA agent obsessed with taking down the head of the Sinaloa Cartel who has escaped from Mexican prison. That character is based on the Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo who escaped from a Mexican prison last weekend.

Art Keller, your main character, the former DEA agent who returns to the DEA - he says the so-called Mexican drug problem isn't the Mexican drug problem; it's the American drug problem. There's no seller without a buyer. I think that represents your point of view too.

WINSLOW: Well, it really does. You know, I think I put my words a little bit into Art Keller's mouth. You know, again, this is not a political book. I'm not trying to make a point. It's a thriller; it's entertainment. But I really do believe this, you know, that we are the largest drug market in the world. We're 5 percent of the world's population. We consume 25 percent of the world's illegal drugs. Mexico has the misfortune to share a 2000-mile border with the largest drug market in the world.

GROSS: But you've also said that the cartel's product isn't the drug, it's the control of the trafficking routes. And if for instance marijuana was legalized here, there'd be another product.

WINSLOW: It will exactly. But listen, at the end of the day, they'll run out of products. It's the illegality that makes those territories so valuable. If you criminalize anything, only criminals can sell it. If only criminals can sell it, there's no recourse to law. If there's no recourse to law, there's only recourse to violence; that's created the cartels. It's our simultaneous appetite for and prohibition of drugs that...[read on or listen to the interview]
--Marshal Zeringue