Home Books The Force Review

The Force Review

by Charles Trapunski
4 out of 5 stars

Just in time for #SummerNoir is the release of Don Winslow’s The Force, which is a big book in the tradition of his previous thriller The Cartel. But the West Coaster has made a significant move in bringing the story to the heart of the city, Manhattan North in The Force. It’s all about Denny Malone, who is about as gritty a main character as you will find. He’s a bad cop, and though we know this information from the beginning, we don’t know how bad or the extent of his action until the white-knuckle Part 3.

It’s a tough book to read in a few senses, first of all, its massive size at almost 500 pages. It’s not slow by any means, but it is dense with facts and anecdotes, so it’s going to be advised to resist skipping ahead and to dive right in. But if a reader is going to do so, be prepared for a deep dive. There’s plenty of swearing, some very graphic violence, explicit descriptions of gore, dismemberment, bodily functions and drug abuse. Oh and there is heavy discrimination on a lot of accounts.

It’s not pleasant by any means, and please don’t be sensitive, but a reader willing to explore some dark themes will have a lot to think about afterwards. It’s really timely and explores some relevant subjects, (except for the New York Rangers, who aren’t as terrible as they are portrayed in the book). One scene in particular that will test the mettle of a reader of The Force is an extended tableau in the early mid-going of “Bowling Night”, in which Malone’s new colleague Levin clearly does not want to attend. The joke of course about Bowling Night is that no actual bowling takes place, and Winslow lets the reader know at the start of what a man’s night on “Da Force” actually consists of. If you enjoy reading about a descent into the seediest of underbellies and to not have moralizing, this section of the book is extremely captivating. Also there is a surprising relevance and it’s a heavily foreshadowing scene, a sort of end of innocence (not that there ever was some), by Malone and his buddies.

Essentially if we read to this point, it’s clear that the inner world of Malone is going straight to Hell, and that we are going with him. May The Force be with you.


The Force was provided by Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.

You may also like

Brief Take