Don Winslow on Reluctantly Writing Again About Mexico's Drug Cartels

Categories: Main, OC Bookly

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In 2006, after years of in-depth research into the origins of the Mexican drug trade, novelist Don Winslow published Power of the Dog, a saga similar to Tolstoy's War and Peace except with Mexicans instead of Russians and no peace.

Four years after Dog came the hugely successful The Savages, which depicted a Laguna Beach marijuana cultivator, his ex-Navy SEAL pal and their mutual girlfriend; the trio run afoul of a Mexican cartel when they refuse a business offer. (The book led to a 2012 Oliver Stone movie starring Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta).

Fortunately for fans of Winslow's highly-inventive, torn-from-the-Blog-del-Narco account of south of the border carnage, Winslow has just come out with The Cartel, a Dog sequel that chronicles the bloodiest years of the Mexican war on drugs, which has killed well more than 50,000 people since 2006, including dozens of journalists Winslow lists by name in the front of the book.

We recently caught up with Winslow to talk about the true tales behind The Cartel, which comes out in bookstores today.

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How a Memorial Day Tribute Artwork Turned San Clemente Into a Battleground

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Julie Faith
Never forget
On the afternoon of May 24, a painted wooden tissue box appeared at Marine Monument at Park Semper Fi in San Clemente. The 4-cubic-foot-sized box contained a note explaining the artwork was intended "to pay tribute to marines who died fighting for America's freedom." Markers hung from one corner, encouraging people to sign it.

Painted around the base were crumpled red roses, tattered marine boots, and helmets balanced on top of M-16s. One side depicted a mourning wife and child. The other three sides featured crosses with dog tags and the names of 10 fallen marines. Four were locals killed in combat; the remaining six were Pendleton marines killed in the recent helicopter crash over Nepal on May 12.

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OC DA Clears Garden Grove Police in Hostage Taker Shooting

Categories: Main

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OC DA Rackauckas

A married couple got a rude awakening on the morning of November 1, 2014 in their Garden Grove home, when crashing noises woke them up. The husband darted from his bed to confront John Brantley Jr. In his backyard; the man pleaded for safety from gang members who supposedly threatened him at a nearby laundromat.

According to a report released this week by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office, Brantley's story didn't hold up when Garden Grove police arrived minutes later. A brief but tense hostage standoff ensued ending with the intruder dying of three slugs to the chest.


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Missing Since Mother's Day, Cecil Knutson Found Dead, Wife Dianna Bedwell Dehydrated

Categories: Main

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DMV
Cecil Knutson (R.I.P.) and Dianna Bedwell
Perhaps you heard about the elderly Fullerton couple who had been missing since failing to show up at their son's Mother Day gathering. Cecil "Paul" Knutson, 79, and his 68-year-old wife Dianna Bedwell have now been found--under tragic circumstances.

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Whistleblowing OC Doctor Wins Appeal In Lawsuit Against Hospital Chain

Categories: Main

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John Gilhooley
Dr. Michael Fitzgibbons
A panel of judges in California's Fourth Appellate District has upheld a $5.7 million award to a doctor who sued his employer--a major hospital company in Orange County--for retaliating against him after he raised questions about the company's commitment to patient care.

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Laurel House Shelter for At-Risk Teen Girls Reopens TODAY

Categories: Main

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Orange County Rescue Mission
Inside the renovated Laurel House in Tustin
Laurel House, which was a transitional housing facility for at-risk teens in Orange County for more than 29 years before closing last August, reopens today.

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Online Memorial Fund Set Up for Erica Alonso

Categories: Main

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giveforward.com
Erica Melissa Alonso, RIP.
UPDATE NO. 4, APRIL 30, 11:26 A.M.: "As the family mourns Erica Alonso, a memorial fund has been set up on GiveForward," says Jay Foot, the online company's director of communications. Visit https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/3st7.

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Adam Gadahn, American Voice Of Al Qaeda, Killed In CIA Drone Attack

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According to statements by White House officials, Adam Gadahn, the American face of Al Qaeda, and the first U.S. citizen to be charged with treason since World War 2, was killed during a January 2015 CIA drone strike in Pakistan. Officials claim that Gadahn, who had a million-dollar price tag on his head, was not the target of the attack, but rather that he happened to be at a compound in Pakistan's tribal region known to be used by members of Al Qaeda.

Gadahn, who grew up on a Riverside goat farm but whose grandfather was a prominent Jewish doctor in Santa Ana, apparently joined Al Qaeda after moving to Pakistan before the 9/11 attacks. He first appeared as "Azzam the American" in the terrorist group's propaganda videos three years later, covering his face with a scarf and warning Americans that their "streets will run red with blood."


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OC DA Clears Sheriff's Department in After-Jail Overdose Death of Jeremy Lavia

Categories: Main

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While the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office is mired in prosecutorial controversies, its jail death report machine keep a-churnin'. Luckily for them, nothing seems too fishy in the latest investigative letter published this week.

The agency cleared the OC Sheriff's Department (OCSD) of any wrongdoing in last year's death of 35-year-old Jeremy Jason Lavia.

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Orange County Rescue Mission Sees Alarming Rise in Homeless Children and Families

Categories: Main

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Photo by flickr user Snugg LePup
This could be where an Orange County kid sleeps tonight.
Orange County Rescue Mission is currently housing the highest population of children and their families in the organization's history at its Village of Hope transitional living facility in Tustin, according to the nonprofit's president.

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