The Force

  • by Don Winslow
  • Narrated by Dion Graham
  • 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.
He’s the king of Manhattan North, a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.
What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.
The Force is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve. A searing portrait of a city and a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at the edge of its abyss, it is a masterpiece of urban realism full of shocking twists, leavened by flashes of dark humor, a morally complex and utterly riveting dissection of modern American society and the controversial issues confronting us today.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator Dion Graham sounds like a native of any of the neighborhoods that make up the Manhattan North police special operations area. He does white, black, and Latino cops and Staten Island, Harlem, and Bronx accents - all so smoothly you never notice the transitions but also never lose track of the character he's voicing. The nonstop drama and violence are perfectly choreographed through his impeccable timing. It's hard, it's violent, it's dirty, but you won't put it down." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Best Thriller of 2017, so far

If you could sum up The Force in three words, what would they be?

New York Blue

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Force?

There were a lot! No spoilers.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

Amazing performance, more below

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

All Denny Malone ever wanted to be was a good cop

Any additional comments?

Bestselling and award winning author Don Winslow is without a doubt one of the best thriller writers out there. I listened to many of his books, including The Cartel, The Power of the Dog, California Fire and Life, Savages and The Dawn Patrol. I am always blown away by the way he writes, by the characters and by the awesome stories he tells… When I found out that he will release a new book, called The Force, this June, I pressed the Pre Order button on Audible with no hesitation, because I knew it will be another great narrative experience.

Well, I finished The Force yesterday and took a day to think about it, to let it settle, to see if my enthusiasm will ebb away, but no, I am as hyped now as I was when the last words in The Force left me hurting and wanting more… More of Don Winslow, more of Dian Graham, more Denny Malone and more of that dark, beautiful New York.

The Force opens with our main character, NYPD detective sergeant Denny Malone in federal custody, tagged as a dirty cop, a disgrace to his fellow officers and most of all to himself. How could a highly decorated, policeman go that low? What happened to his oath, to his principles, to his life?

All that Denny Malone ever wanted was to be a good cop, but now he has to find a way to redeem his sins, to make something good after all the bad he did in his 16 years on the job. He was part of The Force, the most renowned and celebrated task force in the NYPD! Denny and his team were like brothers, more than family, they were heroes, they were kings among men, and they are all in big trouble now.

All that I’ve written above you’ll find out in the first couple of minutes with The Force and I felt it necessary to put it in here, in order to give you an idea of what this book is about and how it starts. From this point on we will take a trip down memory lane, we get to know Denny, exactly the way he is. With his problems, with his thoughts and with his good heart!

Like I did with The Sopranos and with The Godfather, I find myself rooting for Denny, although he was not a role model in any way. I mentioned one excellent movie and one amazing tv series above, those are cult classics now, but I think that The Force has tremendous chance to become a fantastic mini series if it’s picked up by HBO, Netflix or other big company! They have their work cut out for them, the story is thrilling, unpredictable and just when you think that it’s over it kicks you in the face with a steel towed cop boot!

The characters feel real, lifelike in their humanity, in their faults and flaws. This is a dark book, the sad story of a good cop doing bad things, the story of a corrupt New York administration… There are drugs, addicts, weapons, parties, hilariously funny jokes, deeply dramatic stories, call girls, crimes, executions, chases, gun fights filled by adrenaline, bribes, tap wires, indictments, cops, feds, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, bangers, mobsters, riots brought on by agony and hope!

Dion Graham, a talented actor from The Wire, Law and Order and Madame Secretary delivers a stunning, spellbinding performance bringing the city of New York and his citizens to life in the audiobook version of The Force. Dion switches with ease between voices and accents, from whitemale, to afro American female and to little latino kids. He takes us from New Jersey to Harlem and to the Bronx. He is a whirlwind as he reads, he acts, he lives The Force with his entire being! He does cops, wise guys, drug dealers, ”brothers”, latinos, snitches and flirty ladies, delighting the listener with such a huge variety and creating complete immersion from the first word to the last!

This was my first experience with Dion Graham as a narrator, but he became an instant favorite and I’ll look for more audiobooks performed by him. For The Force he is the perfect choice and I had an amazing time listening!

The Force is, for me at least, the best book of 2017 and I’m sure that although there are a lot of new releases left, I’ll be hard pressed to find a better one in the upcoming months! If you like Don Winslow, you’ll love what he did with The Force! I really hope it will be made into some great movie!

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Thank you,

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- Victor @ theAudiobookBlog

Climb in; Buckle Up; and Hold on!

Hero Cop. Son of a hero cop. Brother to a fallen 9-11 fireman hero. The last man anyone would ever expect to find in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Big bad Danny Malone sits in jail wondering, “How do you cross the line?” Sure, it happens .... cops go bad, but not the leader of the most elite Manhattan North Special Task Force. How did he become the antithesis of what he set out to become, what he was destined by blood to become.

"…he started out with his eyes firmly on the guiding star, his feet planted on the path, but that’s the thing about the life you walk—you start out pointed true North, but you vary one degree off, it doesn’t matter for maybe one year, five years, but as the years stack up you’re just walking farther and farther away from where you started out to go, you don’t even know you’re lost until you’re so far from your original destination you can’t even see it anymore."

Step by step...

Winslow is at the top of his game right here, giving readers the kind of novels that not only reflect the true naked pulse of our country in regards to the losing battle against drugs, corruption, and poverty, but sometimes even foreshadow the very path we are heading down. Armed with a firsthand witness of things that go on in the darkest places, Winslow seems to be almost prescient with his writing. While our government was wondering how the drug cartels spread their tentacles through our country like veins and arteries, Winslow was telling us they were here, how they got here, and that they were without ethics. With The Force, is Winslow possibly giving us the same kind of insight into another problem that also seems epidemic in our current culture? It is the kind of question that seems to follow his novels, echoing after the impact of the events.

Only a handful of writers has been able to capture the grit and authenticity of the underworld of corruption, drugs, and money: Peter Maas [Serpico, The Valachi Papers], Joseph Wambaugh, James Ellroy, to name a few. I don't know any author that has the street cred to write so assuredly, and so well; a study that took him to the streets and back alleys of the drug cartel wars doing research for his books The Power of the Dog, and The Cartel. Winslow has rubbed elbows with the men behind both sides. He has had the rare glimpse at both sides of the conflicts and understands the live-or-die realities that before now, have been seen through the kind filter of fiction and the lens of black or white justice. It's not only fans that know Winslow's work is more than first class fiction; he is admired for his in-the-trenches research and knowledgeable opinions. He's not blowing smoke anywhere.

The Force is itself a force. A ride along that puts the reader in the passenger seat on a trip that exposes the dirty underbelly of a city that runs on the unspoken policy of "you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours" with a cop that, as journalist Jim Ruland of the LA Times put it, is "dirtier than the water in a Nathan's hot dog cart." (Easy for him to say -- he probably prefers the west coast's Pink's dogs.) Denny Malone and his force (Da Force) are the kings of the street, handing down their own justice in a system where everything is corrupt. But when Da Force commits a murder and walks out with a couple million dollars in cash and 70 kilos of Mexican cinnamon heroin -- that's where he crossed the line.

If you can't take the heat, or in this case, the continuous banter of police procedurals and smack talk dotted with language that might melt your ears -- forget this! The accompanying soundtrack is NWA. The criminal clichés, the racial epithets....Yeah, plenty of them. Da Force is Danny, the arrogant and idealistic Irishman, Montague is the impeccably dressed black member, Levin the Jew...Winslow covers the spectrum with a *heave-ho up yours* to political correctness. Not meat for the gentle reader.

The book reminded me of Tiller Russell's documentary, *The Seven Five* that documented Michael Dowd and one of the largest police corruption scandals in New York City history in the 1980's. That was what could be put on film, the "reel deal" -- The Force is being there, it feels like the "real deal" in 2017. If you got any closer to the action, you'd probably be in prison!
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- Mel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-20-2017
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.