Read Savages by Don Winslow Online


Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from their loyal clientele. In the past when their turf was challenged, Chon took care of eliminating the threat. But now they may have come up against something that they can't handle -- the Mexican Baja Cartel wants iPart-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from their loyal clientele. In the past when their turf was challenged, Chon took care of eliminating the threat. But now they may have come up against something that they can't handle -- the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, sending them the message that a "no" is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel escalates its threat, kidnapping Ophelia, the boys' playmate and confidante. O's abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists that will captivate readers eager to learn the costs of freedom and the price of one amazing high....

Title : Savages
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439183366
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Savages Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-01-19 12:45

    If these two wordsmithing masters of dialogue, tone and hip colloquialisms ever had a literary LOVE CHILD… would DON WINSLOW.I loved, loved, loved every single page of this thrilltastic story. Don Winslow has instantly become an author whose next book I will buy sight unseen. His writing, his tone, his slick as shit story-telling are all intelligent, original, hiply sparse and kick-ass coolio. The basic plot is very simple (though the execution of it is anything but). Chon and Ben are the 21st century version of the odd couple on steroids. Ben is a passive, brilliant, Buddhist type (or Baddhist as Ben explains) and Chon is an ex-special forces, "man of few words" killing machine who basically hates everyone (except Ben). Ben has engineered the highest of high grade marijuana and he and Chon sell it in Southern California to upper class, Kardashian type clientele. All is peachy, breezy and OC easy until the Mexican drug cartel wants Ben and Chon to come work for them.....and no is not an option.....yeah, tell that to Chon. Hopefully that sounds interesting. However, even if it does, it really does not give you any idea about how mind-blowingly fresh and ice slick smooth the writing is in the story. Therefore, since I don’t believe I could ever do justice to Winslow’s prose, I thought I would give you a few samples and let you see for yourself, with a brief intro by me to set up the scene. Intro to Scene 1: Winslow is introducing us to Chon via a description of Chon’s special forces tours in Iraq....So when the corporate recruiter looked him up, Chon was available.To go to I-Rock-and Roll.Nasty nasty shit in those pre-Surge days, what with kidnappings, beheadings, IEDs severing sticks and blowing off melons. It was Chon’s job to keep any of that shit from happening to the paying customers, and if the best defense is a good offense, well…It was what it was.And with the right blend of hydro, speed, Vike and Oxy it was actually a pretty cool video game--IraqBox--and you could rack up some serious points in the middle of the Shia/Sunni/AQ-in-Mesopotamia cluster-fuck if you weren’t too particular about the particulars.Intro to Scene 2: Flashback to a few years prior when a biker gang tried to move in on Chon and Ben and beat one of their dealers to death with a tire-iron. This is how Chon responded.... Chon likes to keep meetings short. Learned that in a book, Things They Don’t teach You at Harvard Business School.A short meeting is a good meeting.He drives down to Dago, finds the house in Golden Hill he’s looking for, and parks on the street. Wakes the shotgun up (“We’re there”), crosses said street, and knocks on the door. Tire Iron opens it. Big wooly motherfucker, heavy hairy shoulders showing under the wifebeater. Chon puts the shotgun to T.I.’s throat and pulls the trigger.Guy’s head goes ballpark.(Fun Dog!)Something they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School.‘Savages, How to Deal With.’Savagely.Intro to Scene 3: This is just included for the clever langauge. It is a tirade on Republicans (you can guess who), however, don’t let that turn you off if you’re on that side of the aisle. Ben and Chon take shots at Democrats too…along with everyone else.... (O-BAM-a!) Now they walk around like white frat boys in Bed-Stuy, talking tough to show they aren’t scared as the urine streams down their chinos into their cordovans. Obama has these dweebs so turned around all they can do is get behind some fat junkie DJ, a gibberish-spewing PsychoBimbette from the far North, and a tele-dork who gives adrenaline-crazed, 1950’s-style “chalk talks”(speaking of little white dicks) like some health-class instructor in a sex-offender unit...........Well, hopefully the above gives you a good idea about the book. I really can not recommend it too strongly, but the dialogue above and the brief plot outline should let you know if the book is right for you. If it sounds awesome, than I am confidant that you will LOVE it. If the above completely turns you off, than you will likely HATE it. As for me, I fell in love and give it 6.0 stars. This is on my all time favorite novels and is as good as anything I have read this year. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!P.S. A big goodreads shout out to Kemper for recommending this book to me. Kemper, I can’t promise you any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.

  • Ana
    2019-01-18 13:00

    Don Winslow, I'd like to say a BIG THANK YOU for keeping this relatively short. Your books tend to be a bit thick and I can't deal with that right now.Unsurprisingly, the book was better than the movie. What was Oliver Stone thinking? Even Taylor Kitsch himself couldn't save that movie. It's BAD. Not 'so bad it's almost good.' Just bad.(view spoiler)[ She was totally alive at the end of it.(hide spoiler)]Ok, I think I'm done trashing the movie. Let me praise the book. Don Winslow is a master at writing about cartels. Recently I read, and really enjoyed his most famous novel The Power of the Dog. And yet as great as it is, TPOTD's greatest problem is its main character. I couldn't relate to him on any level. Savages has the added bonus of appealing to a younger audience, such as myself. So in other words, Savages win.The story revolves around three characters – Ben, Chon and Ophelia. Let me clarify one thing here. Ben, Chon and O are part of a twisted, yet cute love triangle. So brace yourselves, all ye fans of classic twosomes. They have a hippy, carefree approach to life, and enjoy their threesomes. O likes to go shopping. Chon likes to brood. Ben likes everything. Life is perfect, too perfect. The next logical step is obvious- get mixed up with a drug cartel. Narcos have such a deep admiration for American hippies. So long story short, O is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. Why oh why did this happen to her? She led a boring and innocent life. It's not like she was living with two marijuana dealers. Yeah totally not her fault.Ben and Chon must race against time to save O from the clutches of the cartel- no easy feat considering their ruthless reputation. Is there a happy ending? You have to read it to find out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Kemper
    2018-12-23 12:50

    Ben and Chon are the oddest of odd couples. Ben is a brilliant botanist and liberal do-gooder who spends his spare time in third world countries setting up clinics and schools. Chon (a nickname based on his real name, John) is an ex-Navy SEAL and Afghanistan veteran with a bad attitude and sincere belief that most people are just pretending to be civilized. Despite their differences, the two men are best friends and even knowingly share a girlfriend, Ophelia (also known as O.), who loves sex and shopping almost as much as she loves Ben and Chon.The guys aren’t just friends, they’re also business partners. They’ve been the premier pot distributors in Southern California for years thanks to Ben’s talent with weed and Chon’s ability to discourage any unsavory types who threaten their operation. Unfortunately, the guys just got a video from a Mexican drug cartel showing several people getting decapitated. The message is clear: join up or get the Marie Antoinette treatment.Ben is tired of the dope trade anyhow, and neither of them want to go to work for the cartel so they reject the offer with plans to take their money and disappear overseas. Unfortunately, drug cartels aren’t used to taking no for an answer, and they kidnap O. If the guys won’t keep growing pot for the cartel, O.’s neck is going to meet the business end of a chain saw. Ben and Chon have to play along, but to get O. back, they’ll have to go to war without letting the cartel know who is waging it.Don Winslow is a writer I think has been flying under the radar for far too long. This should be the book that finally gets him some serious attention. This is an incredible story about the lengths that some people will go for friendship. I especially liked Chon with his bleak but amusing view of most people. Despite the gritty and violent nature of the story, the book is also laced with a black humor that has a lot to say about how goddamn silly this country can be at times.I loved the unique writing style of this, too. Winslow has done several books in a conversational So-Cal tone of voice, and he’s also played around with a clipped and brusque style in The Power of the Dog. In this one, he’s fused the two into a unique read that reminds me of James Ellroy mixed with Charlie Huston and a dash of Chuck Palahniuk. Anyone interested should read it and not listen to an audio version because even the layout of the words on the page becomes part of the structure of the story. Dark, funny, violent, tender, tragic, and a story that makes it an obsessive page turner, this has instantly become one of my favorite crime novels.**Movie Update** The movie version was decent but disappointing. Although the basic plot remains the same, a lot of the details and plot points are changed for no real reason related to adapting it. And anyone who thought that Hollywood wouldn't have the balls to do the book's ending was right.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-01-16 13:50

    Find all of my reviews at: “Dope is supposed to be bad, but in a bad world it’s good, if you catch the reverse moral polarity of it.”That awkward moment when you are incurring a library fine because you’re too lazy to just WRITE THE G.D. REVIEW ALREADY!!! I also noticed today that this is apparently #2 in the series and I had no idea it was turned into a movie a few years ago until my husband not so kindly informed me . . . What can I say? I’m not so quick on the uptake. That being said, y’all should prolly just go ahead and click over to Kemper’s review since he knows how to use his words and I only know how to throw some pictures up in order to make a “review.”For the four of you who are still here, you seriously need to read this book. It’s brilliant. Savages is the story of Ben and Chon. Ben is a do-gooder with a scientific mind and a very green thumb. Chon is a former special ops agent who ain’t quite right in the head. Together they grow and distribute some seriously choice ganja . . . The last time the Sons of Anarchy competition tried to overstep their boundaries, Chon quickly dealt with the problem. This time the threat isn’t coming from some fat bikers, though, it’s coming from South of the border. When Ben and Chon’s gal pal Ophelia finds herself in the wrong hands, the guys are left with only one choice . . .No, that’s not it. In order to guaranty O’s release, twenty mill has to be raised pronto in order to pay off the existing cartel, which leads to . . . .Uhhhhhh . . . things and stuff.I read this in order to get back in Mitchell’s good graces after diving straight into the deep end of the romance pool. Like I said earlier, this was S.M.A.R.T. It’s written at almost a frantic pace that got the adrenaline flowing straight from the jump and didn’t let up until the end. The dialogue was genius, the humor spot on, the stabby oh so very stabby. And while I’m told the movie version was a bit of a turd I’m still interested in watching it because of . . . Reasons.All the stars. Highly recommend!

  • Fabian
    2019-01-04 13:52

    Each paragraph like a stick of dynamite; it's the paragraph, the singular block that comprises the graphic novel that's very much post-YA, post-Ellis punch to the face... & of course it's very amoral & gruesome.This novel was alarming to me because, as a zeitgeisty book, it tells of conspicuous consumption which in the 80's was ultra-cool, but in the 2010's equates the acquisition of material things to a biological process-- a need that's as basic and primordial as breathing.The title and theme of savages excuses the need to feel, as a reader, any type of empathy for any character whatsoever-- vacuous and unreal they are, in their stinky-perfume aura of perpetual hip. It's one fantastic safari of animals, cruelly killing each other... the bombastic often-straying-into-poetry chapters, with bold text that seems to chomp on the pages like a monster. Like some prose-producing evil machine...This has a twinge of "Trainspotting"; a dash of Alex Garland too. (Hey, just a thought: maybe Danny Boyle woulda been a better choice for the cinematic adaptation of "Savages" over Oliver Stone...)Points off for awful Spanish word translations. "Animale" is "animal", if you can believe, & "vamanos", as most people know, is "vaMOnos." & these are but a select ones... the disregard for this just makes it... less cool? Nah, it's pretty fuckin cool anyway. Yeah.i.e."Warning: trying to sleep on speed may trigger a psychopathic episode. Consult your physician immediately. Like, warning: if erection persists for more than four hours, consult a physician immediately and hope you have one fucking horny physician." (170-171)

  • Lou
    2018-12-28 11:57

    “Something they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School.‘Savages, How to Deal With.’Savagely.”The Good, The Bad and the Ugly an infamous trio the three amigos and the three stooges funny trios. When it comes to threesome there are many.One trio you will soon be taking note of are the likes of Ben, Chon and the wonderful O or her real name Ophelia, in this Drug cartel solid thriller from Don Winslow.The story is about lucrative money making with a specially brewed drug herb that the trio or really Ben and Chon deal and solely profit from. Others want a cut of this market and Ben and Chon are just not having it. They have more than enough money and want to get out of the drug world and retire on sunnier sands. As always with a woman involved matters can get personal and you are taken to the knife-edge of showdowns. The boys need to have their killing skills at full capacity to keep what they love. The other big boy in the drug cartel is really one big girl Elena the last line of a drug mafia family who is just as brutal as any man. She also has something precious in the swing of matters a daughter Paqu.I just discovered that this highly charged full throttle drama is to be released as a movie in 2012 directed by Oliver Stone and has a full cast of good actors with Pulp fiction team Travolta and Thurman acting the part of Dennis and Paqu. It will make one hell of a movie, I heard Oliver stone was writing the screenplay before the book was published. Another of Winslow’s books that I hope to read soon that is to be adapted is Satori and will have Di Caprio starring in it.The novel is written with the right pace and flows well, easy to read not a mind storm to get through, I cant fault it at all. There is, for those who would like to know, plenty of dark humour and explicit situations. You do get to learn a lot about cannabis in this novel. What that really makes it so good are the characters Don has created and the trio that will forever be a bond to remember. You will take away a lesson on savagery and savages from this story and oh yes how to make, Mucho Dinero.There is a good Profile video done by OpenRoadMediaVideos found on my website here“O knows that Chon is seriously twisted-no, she knows Chon is seriously twisted-but not like day-old-spaghetti-in-a-bowl twisted, like getting off on guys getting their heads lopped off, like that tv show about the British king, every cute chick he f**** ends up getting her head cut off.”“Ben is a self-described Baddhist, i.e., a ‘bad Buddhist,’ because he sometimes eats meat, gets angry, rarely meditates, and definitely does consciousness-altering substances. But the basics of Buddhism, Ben is down with-Do no harm.Which Ben articulates asDon’t f*** with people.And he doesn’t think the Dalai Lama would argue with that.”“They became almost cult like figures.There developed such a devoted following with such a religious loyalty that they even gave themselves a name.The Church of the Lighter Day Saints.”“Elena knows that love makes you strongAnd love makes you weak.Love makes you vulnerable.So if you have enemiesTake what they love.”“Chon has always known that there are two worlds:The savageThe less savage.The savage is the world of pure raw power, survival of the fittest, drug cartels and death squads, dictators and strongmen, terrorist attacks, gang wars, tribal hatreds, mass murder, mass rape. The less savage is the world of pure civilized power, governments and armies, multinationals and banks, oil companies, shock-and-awe, death-from-the-sky, genocide, mass economic rape. And Chon knows- They’re the same world.”“Chon like shooting guns.He likes the feel of metal in his hands, the kick, the blowback, the precision of chemistry, physics, and engineering mixed with hand-eye coordination. Not to mention power-shooting a gun projects your personal will across time and space in a flash. I want to hit that and that is hit. Straight from your mind to the physical world. Talk about your PowerPoint presentations.”Review also here

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-06 15:42

    "There is nothing so small that it does not save its life if it has the courage to defend itself against those who would lay hand on it." - Brasidas of Sparta, quoted by Plutarch.Perhaps, one star for the story, one star for Don Winslow (I really, really liked The Cartel, The Power of the Dog, and The Winter of Frankie Machine), one star for its boldness, etc., but I'd almost like to remove a star for the awful sex writing. I'll leave it at 3-stars because almost no one can write about sex well, but if you are going to wade into threesomes with two guys and a gal, well, you better have your pound-prose (nasty-narrative, shag-slang, bone-brogue?). Granted, we can't all be Joyce, Chopin, or Lawrence, but ugh. Anyway, this might just be a book that is made better by Oliver Stone. Dear GOD, did I just write that? I don't know. It feels like there is a place near the border where even Cormac McCarthy shouldn't write about drugs and sex (see The Counselor: A Screenplay).Anyway, if you haven't read any Don Winslow, I would go read his better books first.

  • Travis
    2018-12-28 18:06

    There's a good story here, and it's told in a blisteringly fast manner that would work really well if the author weren't so obsessed with showing how "hip" he is by making up pretend slang that no young (or non-young) person has ever used. The corny wordplay and ridiculous geographic nicknames peppered throughout the book are just painful to read. There was much cringing. It's what you would get if you put Diablo Cody's "Juno" character into a movie about a brutal drug war in which a bunch of people, including children, are killed. The quirk overload just doesn't fit.I think this is the first crime novel I've read since, I don't know, high school? It's definitely not my genre, so maybe I'm a little out of my element. And hell, I ripped through it in two days, so it obviously entertained me. And Winslow obviously has a deep knowledge of Southern California, and he really puts you there. It just could have been so much better if the author had more faith in his story and worried less about being cute.

  • Rachel
    2018-12-29 10:47

    Um, we're not squeamish, right book club? No one minds that I recommended a book whose opening chapter includes graphic sex, decapitation, and quasi-free verse prose poetry? Look, I DIDN'T KNOW.First of all: Ooooh. Don Winslow also wrote The Death and Life of Bobby Z. Hence, the stiking similarities in tone, setting and subject matter.Secondly: glad I read this for book club-- I mean, aside form subjecting your sweet little eyes to to such vulgarities, my dears-- because I honestly haven't yet decided whether to be fascinated, repulsed, or both by this novel. So, by three stars, I mean one but also five.

  • Brandon
    2018-12-29 11:11

    Ben & Chon are two Southern California dope dealers who manufacture and distribute some of the most potent pot available. Ben, a Buddhist and Chon, a gun-toting ex-US solider run into trouble with an invading Mexican drug cartel. When their mutual girlfriend, O (short for Ophelia), is kidnapped - all bets are off. Ben and Chon must do whatever it takes to ensure her safe return, even if it means risking their lives to do so.Absolutely incredible.I tried listening to the audio version of this book but was seriously turned off, immediately. I almost just about gave up but picked up a copy from the library instead. What a mistake that would've been. Geez.Everything. From the prose, to the story, to the characters to the ending. All of those elements blend together to create an intriguing and fast paced thrill-ride. Also, I've yet to experience an ending that had my heart pounding as quickly as this one.Where did this author come from? I've never heard of him before reviews started popping up on Good Reads declaring this novel an instant-classic. I definitely need to get my hands on more of his material and soon; he's that damn good (forgive me, I appear to be thinking out loud).In closing, Winslow has written one of my favorite passages I've ever read. Here is that passage:We reinvented ourselves every day, remade our culture, locked ourselves in gated communities, we ate healthy food, we gave up smoking, we lifted our faces while avoiding the sun, we had our skin peeled, our lines removed, our fat sucked away like our unwanted babies, we defied aging and death.We made gods of wealth and health.A religion of narcissism.In the end, we worshiped only ourselves.In the end, it wasn't enough.READ THIS. NOW.

  • LMM
    2018-12-22 16:00

    What's with the hype? This book was a snooze. A hatchet job. A pastiche of Tarantino, Roger Avary, Ritchie, Brett Easton Ellis etc. My advice...stick to those guys because chances are you've seen it & read it all before only much, much better.Savages, Schmavages. A totally played out story line (which was unbelievable BTW), with recycled storytelling, featuring snappy, hipster dialog that tries SOOOOOO hard to have pop cultural significance in the vain attempts of being ingratiated into those too-cool-for-school kidsters everyday lexicon. This was such a blatant suck up to prove how down he is, I kept picturing Winslow skulking at the back of the class going, "oh! Oh! Me! Me! I know! I KNOW! Pick me! Pick me!" Then getting all pissed off because he was overlooked AGAIN so he goes on to continue writing his, "I'll show them" novel where he proves he's SO tapped in, the kids who never gave him the time of day now wish they did. The characters were 2-dimensional. The action short & boring. The storyline trite. I completely understand why Winslow kept having to remind the audience that the title of the book was called Savages because really...what was the point this was so tepid? There was nothing Savage about it. Redundant? Yes. Savage? More like Average. In some ways I was amazed Stone chose this to reintroduce his proof of cultural zeitgeist (long gone are the days of Wall Street & Natural Born Killers especially thanks to Alexander & Wall Street Never Sleeps). Like I said, not only does this book have a been there and done that's not even good. However, it's easy to understand that its glossed over snap, crackle and flop dialog was enough for Stone to have read it & re-imagined his glory days. See? Redundant.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-01-01 11:42

    Savages by Don WinslowMy rating: 5 of 5 starsBlurb: The smash hit thriller about two young marijuana dealers who are blackmailed into a partnership with a Mexican cartel."Baditude." Bad attitude. Ben, Chon, and O have a bad case of it, but so would you if you were the twenty-something, Laguna-cool producers of the best hydro on the Left Coast and now a powerful and vicious Mexican cartel wants in on your business. Ben's a genius botanist out to save the world. Chon's a former SEAL with a "Lack Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." O is a South Orange County slacker girl who loves them both. When the cartel kidnaps O to keep the boys in line, serious baditude breaks out in this twenty-first century thriller that blasts through all the old rules and blows the lid off the genre. But that's baditude for you.Thoughts: F*ck you.That is the entire first chpater of this book. And the baditude doesn't let up for a moment.I really had no idea what to expect with this book. It's been recommended to me for months by Goodreads as something similar to James Ellroy but if that is the case then it is a stripped back raw Ellroy for the 21st Century. The closest comparison I had was Nobody Move which had the same urgent feel and post Tarantino dialogue to it but none of the subtleties that leaves Savages as fantastic unputdownable achievement. I literally hated putting this book down for even a second.In theory I couldn't care less for reading about drug cartels and turf wars but what Winslow does so well is to tell that story through the lives of such incredibly well written and interesting characters as Chon, Ben and O. They're not fully fleshed out people who share their life stories (as in some of those really tedious popular novels that seem to get churned out) but they are recognisable as people we all know with all the hallmarks of humanity and very unique voices. The same can also be said of Don Winslow. He just rips up the rule book for writing a black as night crime novel."Whatever happened to morality?""Same thing that happened to CD's, replaced by newer, faster, easier technology."It's not just the snappy believable dialogue that makes the ride so much fun it is the constant playing with words, formatting, the justification on the page, that increases the enjoyment. To know that every word is placed in it's exact position for a reason gives the text an extra layer of subtlety and meaning and the pleasure that Don Winslow takes in words (even adding a love of words as a character trait for Chon) is infectious. Should you really be laughing out loud in a book that features mass killings, hostage taking and beheadings? For these reasons I might suggest that Savages shares a lot of it's attitude (amongst other things) with another of my recent loves Shoplifting from American Apparel.This is an American novel that analyses post 9/11, post Obama America in such a way as to bathe it in bright flourescent light, all it's failings and weaknesses shown as plain as day. It is a bold move for an American to write this stuff, almost constantly bashing every little detail of the 21st century American dream gone wrong.Click here for my review of the movie adaptation.Additional reading: The Blonde by Duane SwierczynskiPariah by Dave ZeltsermanMoney Shot by Christa FaustOriginally posted at blahblahblahgay

  • James Thane
    2019-01-16 10:58

    Don Winslow scores again with Savages. Two Laguna Beach buddies, Ben and Chon, operate a top-of-the-line marijuana business. Ben is a laid-back environmentalist and philanthropist; Chon is an ex-Navy Seal and former mercenary. They grow their own product, which is much desired, and they have a loyal and exclusive clientele. Both Ben and Chon are in love with the beautiful Ophelia, a spoiled local rich girl who loves both of them in return. There have been occasional minor threats to the business, but they have been quickly dealt with by Chon. Now, though, a Mexican cartel has decided to take over Ben and Chon's operation and the Mexicans also insist that Ben and Chon continue to grow the product for them, effectively becoming the cartel's employees. When Ben and Chon refuse, the cartel kidnaps Ophelia, insisting that they will hold her captive until Ben and Chon agree to the cartel's "offer." Should they continue to refuse, gruesome things will be done to Ophelia. Ben and Chon, determined to rescue Ophelia and to preserve their independence, declare war on the cartel."Savages" is, by turn, very funny and extremely violent. Winslow who wrote perhaps the best fictional account of the drug trade ever published, the classic The Power of the Dog, is in great form. As usual, he captures brilliantly the Southern California lifestyle while at the same time skewering the misadventure that is the "war" on drugs. This is not a book for the faint of heart, but for anyone who might not yet have discovered Winslow, it's a great place to start.

  • Anthony Chavez
    2019-01-04 13:02

    Ben and Chon are best friends who have different views on life and how to live it, almost yin/yang opposites, but have two things in common: they share a gf, (O)phelia, and are in the business of growing and selling primo hydro mary jane. When the Baja Cartel wants them to do business for them, and they decline, the downward spiral begins.Explicitly violent, explicitly sexual and explicitly... well one of the most entertaining books I’ve read this year. It was a radicalized and ripping rush of a read through the southern California drug culture that succeeds on the strength of "savage" characters on both sides of the California-Mexico border. On one side there's "Chon," the literally too-cool-for-school jock who dropped out and became a Navy SEAL, finding that the skills he picked up in "StanLand" and "I-Rock-and-Roll" (AKA Iraq/Afghanistan) have served him well pushing high-grade marijuana to a well-heeled Orange County customer base. His partner, Ben, champion of third world causes, is the product of a liberal up-bringing by a pair of psychologist parents. Forming a neat little love triangle is dyed and tattooed "O," the spoiled offspring of the stereotypical SoCal diva who jumps from husband-to-husband while flitting from the latest pop culture answer to self-actualization to the next with ADD-like precision. So life is sweet for the drug-trade made multimillionaires - until the feared BC (Baja Cartel) proposes a business deal - via a web video of seven heads separated from their bodies hanging from meat hooks. Chon prefers to fight while "peaceful" Ben would rather run, but when Baja raises the stakes, both boys are sucked into a wild and fiendishly brutal ride worthy of the title.I have not yet seen anyone write Southern California quite like Winslow here. In his stripped, tragically hip dialogue and convention-be-damned prose - definitely keep your Urban Dictionary handy - Winslow at the same time skewers and venerates San Diego's culture, it's citizens, and the love/hate symbiosis between those south-of-the-border who produce the drugs and their el Norte clientele who provide the demand. Winslow isn't here to preach but, excepting some misplaced Oliver Stone-like political rants, but to entertain. He succeeds beautifully in spinning a bare-knuckled, blistered-pace drama of crime, suspense, and passion that explodes in a climax fitting of the carnage and emotion that precedes it. Don Winslow is an under-appreciated writer - a talented and consistent storyteller with a very unique style, backed by the authority that only comes from living the life of what you write. Fast and furious, yet paradoxically poignant. Don't miss it. Savages has a panache, I have heard the style here is different then his other books, but as I read it I felt that it was the mark of a writer finding his style. I see how someone could find it irritating, such as his frequent use of acronyms; however, I love the acronyms, switching to script form, nickname etymology, and other devices Winslow used for this story. The reason why the book didn't get 5 stars is because I still had some issues with it. Sometimes the writing appeared a bit elementary. I realize that some books are supposed to be a simple perspective style, but with all the visual writing and the almost 290 chapters in an only 302 page book, I almost felt like it was meant to be a movie, with each chapter being a new scene.In the end, I recommend this book to anyone who isn't sensitive to sex and/or violence. It is a gritty, violent romance, sure to leave you hating and loving the book at the same time.

  • Jim
    2018-12-23 18:53

    Younger folks might rate most of this book as a 4 star book liking the language more than I did. I was hovering over 3 most of the time, pretty good, but very close to the edge & a bit much pretty often. It's different, quirky, & fun with a choppy, irreverent, & down right hilarious style that really worked in places, but got a bit wearing in others. The names for people, places, & things were fun. O's mother is Paqu - Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe - perfect!The characters were well sketched out well, very believable, as was the situation. Again, it was quirky & different, but it made sense & poked a lot of fun at everyone involved & many who weren't.I HATED the ending & almost gave this 2 stars because of it. Not only didn't it make any sense to me, I don't think it could have happened that way. (view spoiler)[- I can't see Chon giving O the fatal shot so easily. Once that was done, taking one himself wasn't a huge leap. - The length of time it took them to go out seemed long, though. The one time I had morphine, it was in my butt & seemed to work instantly. AGONY -> woah, instant golden glow. I'd think mainlining it would take a few seconds to run them into no where. - And he had enough on him to OD 3 people? The doc had given him a few hits to manage his own pain. (hide spoiler)]I wouldn't want to read many books like this, but I'm glad I read one.

  • Josh
    2019-01-08 13:50

    The Baja Cartel want Ben and Chon to grow exclusively for them, so much so that they send a rather confronting video to Chon for his viewing pleasure. One could say Ben, Chon, and O have got themselves over their heads… And so starts a non stop thrill ride of drugs, sex, violence, and big business cartel warfare. When I first read SAVAGES, I was blown away by how engaging the characters were and the second time round is no different. O is unique, funny, and deeply in love with her boys, both of whom freely share her heart and bed. She's the innocent victim of the Baja Cartels greed and thirst for expansion. Ben and Chon, now having read THE KINGS OF COOL are that much cooler - if possible. Winslow is really onto a winner with this semi odd couple - one a violent and take charge through violence, the other, a negotiator with a Zen-like outlook on life.As for the story, Winslow doesn't miss a beat. There's enough back-story to make the characters feel real while the action clocks breakneck speed. I love the approach Ben and Chon take to raise enough money to meet the cartels requirements. It's a blood romp through California sun, shine and drug warfare. My original take was much less comprehensive but remains true: Great characters, fast moving story and non stop action. The Bruen-like prose was well executed - Winslow has adopted this style and made it his own. (Jan 2011)This review appears on my blog along with my thoughts on the movie adaptation: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

  • Karina Halle
    2019-01-10 12:51

    Amazing. Unputdownable. Off to buy every single book Winslow has written. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Review to come in August.

  • Michael
    2018-12-31 12:05

    This comes adorned with so many over-the-top raves and blurbs that you'd be forgiven for thinking that the novel is unlikely to live up to the hype. And you'd be unsurprised to discover that you're right.This is a speedy read, and it is pretty much gripping once it gets going, and it does have funny bits, but something is lost: we never feel a lick of genuine interest in these characters, and they never feel like more than types being pushed around in something made for the movies. It's just awfully thin, is all. The telegraphic, faux-blank-verse-y style of the writing, with lots of linesthat break in the middle, I suppose to mimic how the prosehits, andhits, andhits the reader—makes for blazingly fast reading (like a movie script, yes, and there are pages in script form mixed in with the prose here as well, though to what end its hard to say). Though once you slow down, there are lots of easy-to-punch holes in the plot. And ultimately the style is also kind of annoying, and achieves any effects by skipping past those other things that a fuller style achieves: developed character and fully realized scene and so on and so on.A passable read for a long plane ride, but that's about all. I immediately threw it in the resale box on getting home. Wouldn't recommend it.

  • Kyle Pennekamp
    2018-12-26 10:53

    Read a lot of good reviews of this, heard Oliver Stone was adapting it, made some best-of-crime-fiction year-end lists...And I don't get it. I will say that pages 175-250 were good, insofar as things actually happened. And quickly. The rest of it...Don Winslow inserts his (or the narrator's) voice between the reader and the character, as a character of its own. But that character is indistinct. That character thinks he is incredibly clever and funny. And after he makes a funny, clever comment, he takes pains to explain to you why it was clever and funny. What he doesn't seem to realize is that if it has to be explained, it's neither funny nor clever.The world is great: two dudes making great hydro. Hydro so great they come into competition with a Mexican cartel in SoCal. But the two dudes are not much more than that. One is a Iraq vet who likes violence. The other is the peaceful one. Mostly so he can be different than his partner.If this set up had just been written straightforwardly, with unaffected prose... basically, if it had been written more "hacky," I weirdly would have enjoyed it more. It was really the style of the writing mixed with the shallowness of the characters that got me.You can skip it.

  • Gary
    2019-01-22 12:41

    I found Savages because of the movie trailer for Oliver Stone's adaptation of this book. My philosophy is that the book is always better than the movie. The book is quick-witted and hilarious but its also about an escalation of a drug war. From the very first page I was hooked.I can say this with all honesty...I dare you to put it down after the first page. It's such a intriguing intro that wills you to read more. Then its a snowball down the mountain and before you know it you've finished it.It's probably the first book I spent more time laughing, at it, than actually reading the book. This isn't a PC book but when you're talking about drugs and kidnapping PC really does fall by the waist-side.Don Winslow's Savages is instantly one of my favorites. 6 July 2012 can't come fast enough. It will be interesting to see how Oliver Stone handles this novel.

  • Cristobo De
    2019-01-21 17:09

    Don, what have you done?

  • Randy
    2019-01-11 11:50

    It starts with a two-word chapter. One of the words is an obscenity. That ratio of obscenities to non- pretty much holds up for the rest of the book. What do you expect in a story about some Orange County yuppies who dabble in the drug trade until the BC gets all real with them? Yeah that BC. BajaCartel. Some feelings get hurt. Dr. Phil gets involved. Not really, but, well, yeah, kinda he does.Flipping through the book you notice a lot of white. Not white like white people white, although there are some of those too. White as in pages that aren't filled with words. That's due to some of the short chapters, like the one that opens the book. Also there's a lot of unnecessarycarriagereturnswhich seems to be part of the author's Uber-hip stylethat sounds like a guy who moved from New York and absorbed himself in the SoCal cultureinstead of just sitting around complaining abouthow the pizza and bagels herearen't the same as they are back homeonly that really is the author's story, but it's unclear about the pizza and bagels part. So you don't want to like itbecause it's, you know, trying too hardexcept for one thing:it's really good. So you like it in spite of the Look-at-me-ma prose. Now you're looking to get your hands on the prequel. And you might even watch the Oliver Stone movie adaptation.

  • Michael
    2019-01-06 16:47

    Don Winslow’s Savages starts off with one of the most memorable opening chapters I’ve read; which simply said “F**k you”. These two words set up the feel of this novel really well. Chon and Ben are weed growers in Laguna Beach, California; their product is top of the range. Ben is the botanist that looks after their marijuana and business; Chon looks after the problems. Then there is O; their girlfriend. When the Baja Cartel takes interest in their product, things are bound to get Savage.I’ve had this book on my radar for a while but since the Oliver Stone adaptation has been released I made sure I read the book before seeing the movie. This is savage noir, full of quick chapters and in the words of Don Winslow; baditude. Snappy dialogue, noirish themes and the dark gritty plot is what makes this novel such a thrill to read. But when you mix the quick, straight to the point chapters; you are practically flying through this book at an outrageous speed.This book doesn’t pull any punches; it’s gruesome and disturbing so makes sense that Oliver Stone wanted to adapt it. While Stone was pretty faithful to the book, I’m a little disappointed in the lack of O’s mother PAQU (Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe). I really wanted to see what they would do with this character but unfortunately she wasn’t in the movie at all. It’s like Stone has cut most of the first half of the book and went straight for the point; the kidnapping of O. Also the DEA turncoat seems to have a much larger role in the movie which turned out rather well (simply because this role was played by John Travolta). Finally don’t get me started with the less than tragic ending; typical Hollywood.The book works well because of the angst and mental back and forth that was conveyed; particularly with Ben. But the movie just goes for the savage violent point and it is gruesome to watch. Personally I much prefer the book, the wit and insight of Winslow just didn’t translate and the movie just felt more like violence for the sake of violence.In the end, read the book; experience the style and wit of Don Winslow, because this was the best part. If you want to see the movie, maybe do it as a way to see what Hollywood does to a movie adaptation; while less tragic, it was more sardonic. I enjoyed the book but when it came to the movie I think they took it a little too far. But maybe that is just caused by the visual aspects of watching the violence.This review originally appeared on my blog;

  • Kristijan
    2019-01-20 16:51

    Upravo sam povećao broj zvezdica na pet...Koliko razmišljam o knjizi sve mi je bolja i bolja...Ako bismo hteli da poredimo ovaj roman sa nekim filmom, najpribližniji bi bio Pulp Fiction... akcija, humor, pa još akcije i još humora (crnog, naravno), pa onda vrcavi dijalozi, mnogo poigravanja rečima, mnogo eksperimentisanja u načinu realizacije,... Vidi se da je Vinslou u glavi već imao film dok je pisao roman, jer ima toliko kratkih rezova u samom tekstu.Ako bismo hteli da poredimo stil pisanja sa nekim drugim, Vinslouov stil podseća u neku ruku na Kormaka Makartija. Odsečne i kratke rečenice koje odgovaraju brzini savremenog života i brzini radnje samog romana.Liči dakle i na Tarantina i na Makartija, ali opet drugačije je...Roman definitivno nije još jedan trivijalni američki proizvod. On pre svega kritikuje sve tekovine modernog života, a pre svega konzumeristički način života, gde se tržni centri vide kao crkve a modne kuće su poput svetaca.Kritikuju se, takođe, i aktuelna politika i porodica koja je zapala u krizu,... Vinslou se takođe pita ima li divljaka u sadašnjem društvu, ko su oni i kako se odnositi prema njima...Dakle, ovo je definitivno roman koji ispod očigledne površine krije snažnu kritiku prema trenutnom stanju u društvu... Ali nisu svi u društvu divljaci... Postoje i oni koji su pravi prijatelji!!! A oni žive po onoj maksimi... svi za jednog, jedan za sve...

  • Kurt
    2018-12-28 11:51

    The more time I have to reflect, the more I like this novel. My brother loaned it to me to read on a plane, and I definitely recommend reading it in a context where you can take two hours and just fly through the whole thing at one go. I do not, on the other hand, recommend reading it in a setting where you sit inches from strangers who may read over your shoulder and judge you for all the language and graphic sex and violence. Because yes, the language, sex, and violence are all over the top, but in the context of the novel as a whole, they have to be.The story is about two male friends (Ben and Chon) and their shared girlfriend (O), and how their lives change when a Mexican cartel decides to take over their highly profitable marijuana business. Much torture and witty social commentary ensue (I particularly love O's dreams of what her life will be like when this ordeal ends: basically going on various talk and reality shows and being loved despite having absolutely no insight or anything to say - which is endearing and also a sharp observation on contemporary entertainment). Many aspects of Southern California life are lovingly skewered, providing some great laughs between the cringe-worthy scenes. Chapters are short, with sentence fragments often laid out like poetry (again, back to O, I particularly love a truly clever wordplay on the concept "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." If you've only seen the movie, I'm not referring to what you think), and it all draws to a somewhat abrupt but thematically satisfying conclusion.What elevates this above a standard crime novel, though, beyond the level of wordplay and characterization, is the way Winslow works the theme of savagery through the work. Just about every character degrades his/her adversaries as "savages" at some point, and they always mean something different but actually communicate the same thing. And the savagery theme makes the violence not gratuitous. The real spine of the work is Ben's hypocrisy: he comes across as a hero, making marijuana distribution peaceful and profitable and sharing the wealth with various humanitarian aid projects around the world. He refuses to admit, though, that even though "It's just pot," selling illegal drugs is a violent endeavor. Although Chon tries to shield his friend from that part of the world, when this novel begins to get more intense and Ben has to change as a character, the change is less of an internal metamorphosis and more of a stripping away his constructed identity to reveal the ugly sides that were hidden there all along. It is beautiful, it is provocative, and it makes for a fascinating read for anyone who can handle the R-rated elements of the book. I definitely want to read the new prequel.

  • Goran Gluščić
    2018-12-28 11:55

    Nisam vidio puno knjiga koje na jednoj stranici znaju imati tri poglavlja. Al' stvarno... Ova knjiga ima više poglavlja (290) nego stranica (254). Što valjda i nije pretjerano čudno uzevši u obzir da neka poglavlja imaju samo jednu riječ. Nije to jedina čudna stvar u ovoj knjizi. Čakšto, to je možda i najmanje čudna stvar, jer Winslow piše toliko anarhistički da neki put izgleda kao da nikad nije u životu pročitao knjigu. Poglavlja znaju biti pjesme, isječci iz scenarija, gotovo dadaistički razbacane riječi, kvizovi... Sve to ide u korist prezentiranju opičene priče koja bi ispričana na neki standardni način možda bila i dosadna (ovo je nepotvrđena izjava jer u ovakvom formatu knjiga definitivno nije dosadna. Osim toga, ova bi se knjiga trebala prodavati u paketu s jednim od onih žutih markera za pocrtavanje kojim bih tada išarao cijelu knjigu. Nije tu riječ o velikim mudrostima koje će vam promijeniti život, već o genijalnim rečenicama zbog kojih sam morao na kratko maknuti oči sa stranice kako bi mi se mozak vratio na mjesto.Evo par primjera, ne nužno i najboljih jer bez markera je teško zapamtiti gdje su svi bili:"Što se rata protiv droge tiče, Ben je potvrđeni pacifist.""Ako pustiš da ljudi povjeruju da si slab, prije ili poslije morat ćeš ih ubiti."Sadržajno, ovo nikako nije najbolja knjiga koju sam pročitao. Droga, dileri, karteli, mučenje, tamanjenje na sve strane, seks... U srži, ovo je samo zabavni akcić/triler, ne puno više od toga, definitivno nije nekakav veći oblik umjetnosti.A opet, knjiga je tako dobro i opičeno pisana da jedino što zapravo mogu reći je da želim još takvih stvari. Zato, bez ikakve sumnje, petica. P.S: Postoji i adaptacija koju nisam gledao i koju definitivno neću gledati. Vidio sam da su kritike dosta loše, što mi uopće nije čudno. Možda da je film radio redatelj koji narušava granice forme (netko tipa Edgar Wright) ili Coeni (zato jer su to Coeni) bi od toga i bilo nešto. Ovako trailer izgleda kao generični akcić i to je veliki no-no. Meh.

  • Jeffrey
    2018-12-22 14:05

    An awesome book with great dialogue written with verve and panache about bad guys and bigger bad guys, who are all savages in the end.Ben and Chon are high end drug dealers who sell hydro, chronic, a/k/a marijuana in California. They use specially imported plants from Afghanistan to make the best dope people can buy. Ben,uses the money to finance a variety of green projects around the world. Chon, an ex seal enforces the B & C brand with his gun. Both guys are involved with Ophelia, or as she calls herself, O, a California girl whose mother is on husband number 7 or 8 and who O calls PAQU.Everything is great except the Bali Cartel, run by ruthless Mexican family whose chief muscle is Lado, a murderous ex cop killer, has decided to expand into California because they need to make more money and they are involved in a drug war with another cartel and also with ex members of the Bali Cartel, run by Azul.The Bali Cartel decides that they want Ben and Chon to work for them, growing the B& C weed but selling it to the Bali Cartel at a discount which the Bali cartel with then sell at a much higher price.Chon thinks that they should fight but Ben says they will just give up the business and go away. Not what the BAli Cartel had in mind. So they kidnap O and threaten Ben and Chon that if they do not want her headless body back, they will commit to work for the Bali Cartel for 3 years.Ben and Chon do but hatch a plan to buy O back for 20 million. Problem, Ben only has 15 million. Maybe Ben and Chon can rob some drug dealers.The book snaps. The O scenes with her Paqu, Ben and Chon are very amusing.This is not an ode to drug dealers, its a story about bad guys and worse guys and what happens.But its a really good read.

  • WortGestalt
    2019-01-06 17:08

    Don Winslows Art, diese Story zu erzählen, sein Schreibstil, das ist schon irgendwie heißer Scheiß. Er schert sich nicht um Konventionen, ballert seine Sätze herrlich respektlos gegenüber Ausdrucksformen heraus. Manche so lapidar, dass sie an der Grenzen zum Lächerlichen sind, andere so pointiert, dass man sich als Leser nur verdutzt umgucken kann. Ich mag das, mir macht das Spaß, es unterhält, hält einen auf Trab und treibt die Story ohne unnötige Zwischenstopps immer weiter und weiter. Wenn ich geschliffene, tiefsinnige Formulierungen will, ziehe ich andere Autoren aus dem Regal, wenn es aber sprachlich knallen soll, dann eben einen (vorzugsweise älteren) Titel von Don Winslow.

  • Jake
    2019-01-07 13:50

    A few months ago, I read Winslow’s “The Dawn Patrol,” and I liked it quite a bit. The language had a certain lazy cadence to it that perfectly fit the mood and tone of a story starring a bunch of surfers.Winslow wrote Dawn Patrol in a specific style that never got in the way of the substance. In Savages, Winslow also writes in very specific style. Problem is, that style not only gets in the way of the substance, it trips the substance down a spiraling marble staircase and leaves it twitching at the bottom.And that’s a major problem, because I’m not sure if I disliked this because the structure is, or because the story kinda sucked. I mean, the bare-bones plot is cool enough: Two ‘noble’ Cally pot kingpins get muscled by Ze Eveel Mexicans, and have resort to savagery (!!) to save their mutual girlfriend. It explores friendship and love, and what you’ll do for that friendship and love.Dig. Except that the girlfriend in question is a terrible person who should have just been kilt. And the dialogue is all SuperChillBrah or ThuperDuperDeepValleyGrrrl BS. And despite a sweet DP scene, the love triangle is just…bah. Also, savages. How savage! Did you know that savagery is savage? Savagely! Seriously, dude. We get it. The title MEANS something. Just like how the title of Star Wars meant something.I get what Winslow was trying to do here, and I actually think he succeeded. But what he was trying to do and what he should have done are two entirely animals, brah. If you want to write a movie script, just write a movie script. All that said, the film adaptation being made might be pretty rad. Oh, Oliver Stone is making it? FART NOISE.I like Winslow. He takes chances and tends to entirely recreate the WAY he writes from book to book. I'll give him another shot.

  • Johnny
    2019-01-08 16:47

    I usually don't go for books where the style overshadows the substance, but when a book has this much style it's really hard to resist. Does the book move? And how. Here's a fun tally: the book has 302 pages and 290 chapters, including what has become a very infamous two-word Chapter 1.It's hard to believe that this is the same author that wrote THE POWER OF THE DOG, one of the great crime novels of the last twenty years. Both are meditations on the border, but while THE POWER OF THE DOG spans years and pages, SAVAGES moves at a downhill speed that will give you whiplash.Recently on some site, someone had posted a list of "rules" for writers. It was all those Fiction 101 things that are repeated by people that heard the same things from someone else: don't use adverbs, only use "said", etc. That kind of thing. There were probably 30 on this list. Here's the thing about rules. If you can break them well, then break them. If you can't, don't.Don Winslow breaks every single rule that's ever been on any list of rules for writers ever. In one book. And God bless him for it. Because isn't that what good writing is all about.