Review: Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden

I bought this book because of the series Narcos on Netflix. I wasn’t very familiar with Pablo Escobar and the series made me very interested in him and his story. This is the reason why I was prompted to buy the book and learn more about him.

Killing Pablo

A tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar’s criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented access to important players-including Colombian president Ceasar Gaviria and the incorruptible head of the special police unit that pursued Escobar, Colonel Hugo Martinez-as well as top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar’s intercepted phone conversations, Bowden has produced a gripping narrative that is a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world. “The story of how the U.S. Army Intelligence and Delta Force commandos helped Colombian police track down and kill Pablo Escobar is a compelling, almost Shakespearean tale.” (“Los Angeles Times”) “Absolutely riveting. . . . Mark Bowden has a way of making modern nonfiction read like the best of novels.” (“The Denver Post”) – Goodreads

I was expecting a history book but Bowden did an amazing job in keeping my attention and left me turning to the next page. It was written in a way a fiction book would. There was an introduction, proper growth, climax, and of course the killer ending. Pablo, his accomplices, crimes, and dealings were carefully written and laid out to give the reader a chance to create their own picture of him. To be honest, there were too many characters in the book especially when the Americans got involved. It was hard to keep up but all these details show us how much of an influence he was in the drug world. It was an all-out war against him and everyone wanted to be involved.

One thing I liked (and was mind blowing) about the book is how it would make you think of how America has changed and adapted their policies because of this guy. This guy could have made America do under the table dealings. It also gives us a glimpse of how America is when it comes to dealing with their enemies and what they will do to win.

The Columbian government is also another star in this book. The author has somehow narrated what happened but also raised enough doubts and questions as to how Columbia handled the whole thing. I’m not going to get all political and state my opinion about this but believe me when I say this book covered all the bases!

It also went over and beyond the series Narcos. It gave more information and detail about Pablo’s life. Personally, when watching it, it made me idolize him. I was in awe of how he thrived and ruled the drug world. He was the ultimate businessman. I knew this shouldn’t be the case and the book clearly depicted that.

Overall, this book was a great read and definitely showed the other side of the coin when it comes to Pablo Escobar. It not only depicted Pablo for who he truly is but also showed us the real color of his enemies (Columbian government, American government, other narco groups). It’s a very interesting read especially since it is based on true events. People died and suffered during this time.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? How about the series Narcos? What are your thoughts?

Favorite Lines from the BookKilling Pablo Quote 1

Killing Pablo Quote 2

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To keep it short and simple: I'm thirty years old. Still plenty young, but not as young as I used to be.


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