Friday, January 25, 2013

The Cartel

The Cartel by A. K. Alexander
CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2012
Hardcover, 494 pages
ISBN-13: 9781466219403 
What began as an innocent love affair for one young woman, Marta Peña, in Costa Careyes, Mexico in 1969, sets in motion a series of events that spans the next thirty years. This is the story of South American drug lords Antonio Espinoza and Javier Rodriguez, and their violent quest for power. In a sweeping family saga, we meet the women who love them and the children they vow to protect at any cost. With a complex web of interconnected families, this gritty novel delves into the lives of a power hungry clan, following the rise of their business, the destructive path of their torrid and erotic love affairs, and the struggle to balance intense greed with devout family loyalty. Strong women face tragedies that test their will and their commitment to the men they passionately desire. As young girls grow into women, their traumatic pasts will drive their actions and force them to make gut-wrenching decisions. With murder, drug trafficking, dirty politics, illegal gambling, prostitution, obsessive love affairs, and family strife, The Cartel is a whirlwind in the vein of Mario Puzo's The Godfather.
My Thoughts:
The Cartel by A. K. Alexander follows the lives of Antonio Espinoza and Javier Rodriguez, South American drug lords, and their families. The novel covers their lust for power and women, and the brutal lengths they will go to in order to succeed in business and life. This is a melodrama in narrative form - and like any soap opera has multiple characters with connections to even more characters and all of them are entangled in various dramas.
I thought I would enjoy The Cartel, especially since it was compared to The Godfather and described as a "sweeping family saga." It is a sweeping family saga, but the key to a successful novel in this genre is having the readers yearn to discover what happens to the characters they love or hate as they become more and more invested in the story. For me, at least, The Cartel fell short in that area. I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters, which made following their power struggles and family dramas even less appealing. And, quite frankly, I wanted to tell some of the "strong" women to snap out of it. Perhaps this wasn't a good combination of action and romance for me; I like action novels, but avoid romance.
On the plus side, there was a lot of action and some twists that were unexpected.
A. K. Alexander also writes mysteries under the name Michele Scott.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Netgalley for review purposes.

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