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The Cartel is a page turner, ripped from the headlines book about Mexico and the drug wars. Winslow has written a brutal, heartbreaking novel that leaves the reader depressed at the possibility for any kind of hopeful resolution. The pace is breathtaking and 600+ pages fly by. The brutality is graphic, but there are also strange comic elements. The drug kings aspire to a kind of "normal" life of a wealthy corporate type. This is a story you won't soon forget. A week after I finished the book, "El Guapo" , the head of the Sinaloa cartel escaped from prison. The Cartel opens with the escape from a maximum security prison of Adan Barrera, the fictional head of the Sinaloa cartel. Truth is stranger than fiction.