Don Winslow’s The Cartel: Chronically Weird Timing with El Chapo’s Escape

So I just finished reading Don Winslow’s The Cartel, which came out a couple of weeks ago, apparently to make El Chapo’s most recent escape from his comfy home in a Mexican prison comically perfect for some serious book marketing.

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Essentially, The Cartel‘s main character, Adan Barrera, is based on the life and fun times of Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo), among others (all good characters are amalgamations, duh), who’s got his own Wikipedia page here:  serious research.  Funnily enough, El Chapo’s job, under Wikipedia, is that of “Drug Lord”, in case the world needs a perfect definition.

This isn’t really a book review or anything, because really, who the hell reads books?  For the most part, it struck me as perfect in some kind of cosmically fucked-up way that El Chapo would escape so recently after Winslow’s book was released (like two weeks).  He might have actually planned it this way, as in Winslow’s book , Barrera is keenly aware of how the public views him as a drug lord–again, you’ve got to laugh here, especially when the guy gets on Twitter to defend himself against, and threaten Donald Trump.  There is no comedian or Hollywood script hack who can get away with writing shit this ridiculous (or ridiculously coincidental) . . .

To clarify and explain how El Chapo might have been (be, actually) a fan of Don Winslow’s writing, one must realize that The Cartel is the long awaited sequel to The Power of the Dog, which came out about 10 years ago.  When the first book came out, El Chapo, in real life, was in the midst of his long-term (business/money-building/life-improving) escape from prison (“maximum security”) in 2001.  During that time, he became a billionaire, a position that was cemented, reported, and respected in the totally respectable Forbes magazine in 2011 or so.  Then, in 2014, El Chapo was put up in prison again.  The dude had a shower in his cell.

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To conclude on the point of infotainment, one must realize that there is no better entertainment than that which is based on real life.  Don Winslow has a very apparent fascination with Mexican drug cartels, and he did a considerable quantity of research in writing about them (fictionalizing), so much so that he had leftovers/crossovers in The Death and Life of Bobby Z and Savages, among others.

Read some entertaining shit.  Learn from it.  Amaze your friends.  Notice things.

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