Books: The Cobra

I checked this out from our library’s “Ready to Read” program which only offers two weeks instead of the usual three, but one week would have been plenty. I was surprised to read some customer reviews of The Cobra that complained it was boring to read. Well, I guess everyone has different preferences when it comes to books. I found it a great read.

Some reviews point out that there’s a lot of information about the cocaine trade. That’s true, but I’ve never found lots of information to be a drawback. Some point out that the characters aren’t well-developed, and I have to admit that’s true. But I didn’t notice it at the time. Usually I want well-developed characters and, in particular, a lead character that I care about. But I was so fascinated by how the man nicknamed the Cobra was setting out to destroy the cocaine trade that I didn’t notice much else.

Like many readers, I found myself wondering, could this be done in real life? If there were sufficient political will to commit the resources to it, and the patience to let the plan work, then perhaps yes. But the most unbelievable part of the novel was that the current resident of the White House (he’s never named but who there are enough details to make it clear) would be willing to let the Cobra wage his war on cocaine on his own terms with virtually no accountability.

Of course, that ends when the war starts leaving corpses by the dozen in American cities, not just in faraway countries. Never mind that the corpses are those of vicious gang members, killed by equally vicious rival gang members. In 2012, the sitting president is more concerned about the upcoming election. Now this I found quite believable.

The ending is not what I expected, but it made sense in retrospect, considering what I knew of the characters and the developing situation. And since there hadn’t been a lead character that I cared about, the death at the end was a surprise but not particularly a disappointment.

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