Killing Pablo, by Mark Bowden, is the story of Pablo Escobar, a narcotics kingpin responsible for the murder of hundreds of people. Unfortunately, this story is true. Pablo was notorious in the 1980s and early 1990s for his brutal reign over the Columbian cocaine industry. He was the foremost trafficker during the height of cocaine’s popularity. He feared no one and struck out mercilessly against any who stood in his way. No one was beyond his reach, whether politician, police officer or civilian. His wanton use of violence to control the drug industry drew the attention of governments around the world, most importantly the United States. With the help of the United States Special Forces, Pablo Escobar’s reign came to an end in 1993 with his death.
Mark Bowden’s book covers Pablo’s rise to power as well as the events leading up to his death. It is not as powerful or intense as Bowden’s most famous book, Black Hawk Down, but like that book does tell the story in amazing detail. At times the reader almost has the feeling that the author is telling the story as the omniscient narrator. I’m left to assume this is because of the large volume of documentation he consulted. Nevertheless, it makes for a good read.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the story of Pablo Escobar or those who are a fan of Mark Bowden’s writing. Those unfamiliar with Mark Bowden would likely be better off reading, Black Hawk Down. It packs more of an emotional punch and is written with more intensity.