Don Winslow’s novel The Force is to 2000-era NYC cops what Serpico was to the city’s corrupt gatekeepers of the 1970s. The difference, some will cite, is that Serpico was nonfiction. But this is where Winslow (Savages, The Power of the Dog) surpasses the average writer, spending an inordinate amount of time shadowing real-life inspirations for his characters and finding heavy emotional anchors to connect his fiction to reality. Det. Sgt. Denny Malone is the antihero of The Force. The self-proclaimed King of Manhattan, North is living the question: How to stare down chaotic violence and insurmountable suffering without forfeiting one’s humanity? For Malone and his men, the move from idealistic hero cops to those on the take proves effortless, with lines crossed barely noticed, not knowing exactly when or where they sold their souls. Winslow’s books tackle the ambiguities between the good and the corrupt much in the same manner as James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential), and likewise attract the attention of filmmakers, with The Force having already been optioned by Ridley Scott.