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Savages: A Novel

Savages: A Novel

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Savages: A Novel

valoraciones:
4/5 (55 valoraciones)
Longitud:
468 página
4 horas
Publicado:
Jul 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781439183380
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

From Scribd: About the Book

Praised by both the New York Times and Stephen King and turned into a feature film by Oscar-winner Oliver Stone, Savages is a fast-paced, slick crime thriller by bestselling author Don Winslow, a former investigator and antiterrorist trainer.

In the dreamy paradise of Southern California, best friends Ben, Chon, and Ophelia are living their twenties to the fullest despite their occasionally conflicting values. Their high-quality marijuana operation has netted them a pile of money, the sex is plentiful, and their future is looking bright.

That is, until the Sinaloa Cartel out of Mexico comes looking for their drugs—and for them. When Ben and Chon refuse to give them a cut, the cartel retaliates by taking Ophelia hostage, sending the pair into a nightmarish underworld of high-stakes negotiations, violence, and dark choices. With staggering plot twists, a provocative romance, and driving contemporary prose, this gripping, gritty mystery will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Publicado:
Jul 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781439183380
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Don Winslow is the author of twenty-two acclaimed, award-winning international bestsellers, including the New York Times bestsellers The Force and The Border, the #1 international bestseller The Cartel, The Power of the Dog, Savages, and The Winter of Frankie Machine. Savages was made into a feature film by three-time Oscar-winning writer-director Oliver Stone. The Power of the Dog, The Cartel, and The Border sold to FX to air as a major television series, and The Force is soon to be a major motion picture from 20th Century Studios. A former investigator, antiterrorist trainer, and trial consultant, Winslow lives in California and Rhode Island.


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Savages - Don Winslow

SAVAGES

1

Fuck you.

2

Pretty much Chon’s attitude these days.

Ophelia says that Chon doesn’t have attitude, he has baditude.

It’s part of his charm, O says.

Chon responds that it’s a muy messed-up daddy who names his daughter after some crazy chick who drowns herself. That is some very twisted wish fulfillment.

It wasn’t her dad, O informs him, it was her mom. Chuck was 404 when she was born, so Paqu had it her own way and tagged the baby girl Ophelia. O’s mother, Paqu, isn’t Indian or anything, Paqu is just what O calls her.

It’s an acronym, she explains.

P.A.Q.U.

Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe.

Did your mother hate you? Chon asked her this one time.

She didn’t hate me, O answered. "She hated having me because she got all fat and stuff—which for Paqu was five LBs. She popped me and bought a treadmill on the way home from the hospital."

Yah, yah, yah, because Paqu is totally SOC R&B.

South Orange County Rich and Beautiful.

Blonde hair, blue eyes, chiseled nose, and BRMCB—Best Rack Money Can Buy (you have real boobs in the 949 you’re, like, Amish)—the extra Lincoln wasn’t going to sit well or long on her hips. Paqu got back to the three-million-dollar shack on Emerald Bay, strapped little Ophelia into one of those baby packs, and hit the treadmill.

Walked two thousand miles and went nowhere.

The symbolism is cutting, no? O asked when wrapping the story up. She figures it’s where she got her taste for machinery. "Like, it had to be this powerful subliminal influence, right? I mean I’m this baby and there’s this steady rhythmic humming sound and buzzers and flashing lights and shit? Come on."

Soon as she was old enough to know that Ophelia was Hamlet’s bipolar little squeeze with borderline issues who went for a one-way swim, she insisted that her friends start calling her just O. They were cooperative, but there are some risks to glossing yourself O, especially when you have a rep for glass-shattering climaxes. She was upstairs at a party one time with this guy? And she started singing her happy song? And they could hear her downstairs over the music and everything. The techno was pounding but O was coming in like five octaves on top of it. Her friends laughed. They’d been to sleepovers when O had busted out the industrial-strength lots-o-moving-parts rabbit, so they knew the chorus.

Is it live? her bud Ashley asked. Or is it Memorex?

O wasn’t embarrassed or anything. Came back downstairs all loose and happy and shit, shrugged, What can I say? I like coming.

So her friends know her as O, but her girls tag her Multiple O. Could have been worse, could have been Big O, except she’s such a small girl. Five five and skinny. Not bulimic or anorexic like three-quarters of the chicks in Laguna, she just has a metabolism like a jet engine. Burns fuel like crazy. This girl can eat and this girl doesn’t like to throw up.

I’m pixielike, she’ll tell you. Gamine.

Yeah, not quite.

This gamine has Technicolor tatts down her left arm from her neck to her shoulder—silver dolphins dancing in the water with golden sea nymphs, big blue breaking waves, bright green underwater vines twisting around it all. Her formerly blonde hair is now blonde and blue with vermilion streaks and she has a stud in her right nostril. Which is to say—

Fuck you, Paqu.

3

Beautiful day in Laguna.

Aren’t they all, though?

What Chon thinks as he looks out at another sunny day. One after the other after the other after the—

Other.

He thinks about Sartre.

Ben’s condo is plunked on a bluff that juts out over Table Rock Beach, and a prettier place you’ve never seen, which it better be given the zeros that Ben plunked down for it. Table Rock is a big boulder that sits about fifty yards—depending on the tide—into the ocean and resembles, okay, a table. You don’t have to be a Mensa member to figure that out.

The living room in which he sits is all floor-to-ceiling tinted windows so you can drink in every drop of the gorgeous view—oceans and cliffs and Catalina on the horizon—but Chon’s eyes are glued to the laptop screen.

O walks in, looks at him, and asks, Internet porn?

I’m addicted.

Everyone’s addicted to Internet porn, she says. Including herself—she likes it a lot. Likes to log on, type in squirters, and check out the clips. It’s cliché for a guy. Can’t you be addicted to something else?

Like?

I dunno, she answers. Heroin. Go for the retro thing.

HIV?

You could get clean needles. She thinks it might be cool to have a junkie lover. When you’re done fucking him and don’t want to deal with him you just prop him on the floor in the corner. And there’s the whole tragically hip thing. Until that got boring and then she could do the intervention drama and then go visit him at rehab on weekends and when he got out they could go to meetings together. Be all serious and spiritual and shit until that got boring. Then do something else.

Mountain biking, maybe.

Anyway, Chon’s thin enough to be a junkie, all tall, angular, muscled—looks like something put together from junkyard metal. Sharp edges. Her friend Ash says you could cut yourself fucking Chon, and the cunt probably knows.

I texted you, O says.

I didn’t check.

He’s still eyeing the screen. Must be hot hot hot, she thinks. About twenty seconds later he asks, What did you text?

That I was coming over.

Oh.

She doesn’t even remember when John became Chon and she’s known him practically all his life, since like preschool. He had baditude even then. Teachers hated Chon. Ha-a-a-a-ated him. He dropped out two months before high school graduation. It’s not that Chon is stupid—he’s off-the-charts smart; it’s just his baditude.

O reaches for the bong on the glass coffee table. Mind if I smoke up?

Step lightly, he warns her.

Yeah?

He shrugs. "It’s your afternoon."

She grabs the Zippo and lights up. Takes a moderate hit, feels the smoke go into her lungs, spread across her belly, then fill her head. Chonny wasn’t lying—it is powerful hydro—as one would expect from Ben & Chonny’s, who produce the best hydro this side of . . .

Nowhere.

They just produce the best hydro, period.

O is instantly wreck-ed.

Lies faceup on the sofa and lets the high wash over and through her. Amaaaaazing dope, amazing grace, it makes her skin tingle. Gets her horny. Big wow, air gets O horny. She unsnaps her jeans, slides her fingers down, and starts strumming her tune.

Classic Chon, O thinks—although she’s almost beyond thought, what with the super-dope and her bud blossoming—he’d rather sit there and stare at pixilated sex than boff a real woman lying within arm’s reach, humping her hand.

Come do me, she hears herself say.

Chon gets up from his chair, slowly, like it’s a chore. Stands over her and watches for a few seconds. O would grab him and pull him down but one hand is busy (buzzy?) and it seems like too far a reach. Finally he unzips and yeah, she thinks, you too-cool-for-school, detached zen master Ash fucker, you’re diamond hard.

He starts off all cool and controlled, deliberate like his dick is a pool cue and he’s lining up his shots, but after a while he starts anger-fucking her, bam bam bam, like he’s shooting her. Drives her small shoulders into the arm of the sofa.

Trying to fuck the war out of himself, hips thrusting like he can fuck the images off, like the bad pictures will come out with his jizz (wargasm?), but it won’t happen it won’t happen it won’t happen it won’t happen even though she does her part arches her own hips and bucks like she’s trying to throw him out of the fern grotto this machine invader cutting down her rain forest her slick moist jungle.

As she goes—

Oh, oh, oh.

Oh, oh, ohhhhh . . .

O!

4

When she wakes up—

—sort of—

Chon is sitting at the dining room table, still staring at the lappie, but now he’s cleaning a gun broken down into intricate pieces on a beach towel. Because Ben would fucking freak if Chon got oil on the table or the carpet. Ben is fussy about his things. Chon says he’s like a woman but Ben has a different take. Each nice thing represents a risk—growing and moving hydro.

Even though Ben hasn’t been here in months, Chon and O are still careful with his stuff.

O hopes the gun parts don’t mean Chon’s getting ready to go back to I-Rock-and-Roll, as he calls it. He’s been back twice since getting out of the military, on the payroll of one of those sketchy private security companies. Returns with, as he says, his soul empty and his bank account full.

Which is why he goes in the first place.

You sell the skills you have.

Chon got his GED, joined the navy, and busted his way into SEAL school. Sixty miles south of here, on Silver Strand, they used the ocean to torture him. Made him lie faceup in a winter sea as freezing waves pounded him (waterboarding was just part of the drill, my friends, SOP). Put heavy logs on his shoulder and made him run up sand dunes and thigh-deep in the ocean. Had him dive underwater and hold his breath until he thought his lungs would blow his insides out. Did everything they could think of to make him ring the bell and quit—what they didn’t get was that Chon liked the pain. When they finally woke up to that twisted fact, they taught him to do everything that a seriously crazy, crazily athletic man could do in H2O.

Then they sent him to Stanland.

Afghanistan.

Where . . .

You got sand, you got snow, you ain’t got no ocean.

The Taliban don’t surf.

Neither does Chon, he hates that faux-cool shit, he always liked being the one straight guy in Laguna who didn’t surf, he just found it funny that they spent six figures training him to be Aquaman and then shipped him to a place where there’s no water.

Oh well, you take your wars where you can find them.

Chon stayed in for two enlistments and then checked out. Came back to Laguna to . . .

To . . .

Uhnnn . . .

To . . .

Nothing.

There was nothing for Chon to do. Nothing he wanted, anyway. He could have gone the lifeguard route, but he didn’t feel like sitting on a high chair watching tourists work on their melanoma. A retired navy captain gave him a gig selling yachts but Chon couldn’t sell and hated boats, so that didn’t work out. 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.

O has diagnosed Chon with PTLOSD.

Post-Traumatic Lack Of Stress Disorder. He says he has no nightmares, nerves, flashbacks, hallucinations, or guilt.

I wasn’t stressed, Chon insisted, and there was no trauma.

Must have been the dope, O opined.

Dope is good, Chon agreed.

Dope is supposed to be bad, but in a bad world it’s good, if you catch the reverse moral polarity of it. Chon refers to drugs as a rational response to insanity, and his chronic use of the chronic is a chronic response to chronic insanity.

It creates balance, Chon believes. In a fucked-up world, you have to be fucked up, or you’ll fall . . .

off . . .

the . . .

end—

5

O pulls her jeans up, walks over to the table, and looks at the gun, still in pieces on the beach towel. The metal parts are pretty in their engineered precision.

As previously noted, O likes power tools.

Except when Chon is cleaning one with professional concentration even though he’s looking at a computer screen.

She looks over his shoulder to see what’s so good.

Expects to see someone giving head, someone getting it, because there is no give without the get, no get without the give when it comes to head.

Not so fast.

Because what she sees is this clip:

A camera slowly pans across what looks like the interior of a warehouse at a line of nine severed heads set on the floor. The faces—all male, all with unkempt black hair—bear expressions of shock, sorrow, grief, and even resignation. Then the camera tilts up to the wall, where the trunks of the decapitated bodies hang neatly from hooks, as if the heads had placed them in a locker room before going to work.

There is no sound on the clip, no narration, just the faint sound of the camera and whoever is wielding it.

For some reason, the silence is as brutal as the images.

O fights back the vomit she feels bubbling up in her belly. Again, as previously noted, this is not a girl who likes to yank. When she gets some air back, she looks at the gun, looks at the screen, and asks, Are you going back to Iraq?

Chon shakes his head.

No, he tells her, not Iraq.

San Diego.

6

OMG.

RU Reddy 4—

Decapitation porn?

Check that.

Gay decapitation porn?!

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 fucks ends up getting her head cut off. (Moral of television show: if you give a guy really good head (heh heh), he thinks you’re a whore and breaks up with you. Or: Sex = Death.)

"Who sent this to you?" O asks him.

Is it viral, floating around on YouTube, the MustSee vid-clip of the day? MySpace, Facebook (no, that isn’t funny), Hulu? Is this what everyone’s watching today, forwarding to their friends, you gotta check this out?

Who sent this to you? she repeats.

Savages, Chon says.

7

Chon doesn’t say much.

People who don’t know him think this is because he lacks vocabulary. The opposite is true—Chon doesn’t use a lot of words because he likes them so much. Values them, so he tends to keep them for himself.

It’s like people who like quarters, O explained one time. "People who like quarters hate to spend quarters. So they always have a lot of quarters."

Okay, she was ripped at the time.

But not wrong.

Chon always has a lot of words in his head, he just doesn’t let them out of his mouth very often.

Take savage.

Singular of savages.

Chon is intrigued by the noun versus the adjective of it, the chicken and the egg, the cause and effect of that particular etymology. This conundrum (nice fucking word) emerged from a conversation he overheard in Stanland. The topic was FundoIslamos who threw acid in little girls’ faces for the sin of going to school.

Here’s the scene that Chon remembers:

EXT. SEAL TEAM FIREBASE – DAY

A group of SEALS—worn out from the firefight—stand around a coffee urn set on a mess table.

SEAL TEAM MEDIC

(shocked, appalled)

How can you account for people doing something so . . . savage?

SEAL TEAM LEADER

(jaded)

Easy—they’re savages.

CUT TO:

8

Chon gets what the clip is: Video Conferencing.

In which the Baja Cartel makes the following deal points:

  1. You will not sell your hydro retail.

  2. We will sell your hydro retail.

  3. You will sell us your hydro wholesale, and at a price.

  4. Or—

—let’s go to the videotape.

In this illustrative visual aid (an educational tool) we see five former drug merchants, formerly of the Tijuana/San Diego Metroplex, who insisted on representing the retail version of their product in contravention of our previously stated demands, and four former Mexican police officers, formerly of Tijuana, who provided them protection (or not, as the case may be).

These guys were all fucking idiots.

We think you’re much smarter.

Watch and learn.

Don’t make us go live.

9

Chon explains this to O.

The Baja Cartel, with its corporate headquarters in Tijuana, exports by land, sea, and air a shitload of boo, coke, smack, and meth into the USofA. Originally they just controlled the cross-border smuggling itself and left the retail end to others. In recent years, however, they have moved to vertically integrate all ends of the trade, from production and transportation to marketing and sales.

They accomplished this with relative ease in regard to heroin and cocaine, but had to overcome some early resistance from American motorcycle gangs that controlled the methamphetamine trade.

The biker gangs quickly grew tired of throwing lavish funerals (have you checked the price of beer lately?) and agreed to join the BC sales team, and ER doctors across America were pleased that meth production became standardized so they would know what biochemical symptoms to expect when the ODs came rolling in.

However, sales figures for the three aforementioned drugs have sharply declined. There is a relentless Darwinian factor in meth use particularly, in which its users die off or become brain-dead so quickly they can’t figure out where to buy the product. (If you think you hate junkies, you haven’t met tweekers. Tweekers make junkies look like John Wooden.) And although heroin seems to be making a tenuous but noticeable recovery, the BC still needs to replace the declining income to keep its shareholders happy.

So now it wants to control the entire marijuana market and eliminate competition from the mom-and-pop hydro growers in SoCal.

Like Ben and Chonny’s, O says.

Chon nods.

The cartel will let them stay in business only if they sell solely to the cartel, which will then take the big profit margin for itself.

They’re Walmart, O says.

(Have we covered that O is not stupid?)

They are Walmart, Chon agrees, and they have moved horizontally to offer a wide variety of products—they sell not only drugs, but human beings for both the labor and sex markets, and they have recently entered into the lucrative kidnapping business.

But that is not relevant to this discussion or the vid-clip in question, which graphically illustrates that—

Ben and Chonny can take

De Deal

Or

De Capitation.

10

Are you going to take the deal? O asks.

Chon snorts, No.

He turns off the laptop and starts reassembling the pretty gun.

11

O goes home.

Where Paqu is in one of her phases.

O has a hard time keeping up with her phases—

But in rough order:

Yoga

Pills and alcohol

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3.8
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  • (3/5)
    A definite page turner and I like Winslow's prose style, although the characters are flatter and the writing less original than in his Cartel trilogy. (I took almost no notes.)
  • (3/5)
    I couldn't decide if I hated or loved this book.His writing threw me off it's so different, but I enjoyed that. I found his quirky, fast style fascinating and entertaining. His prose was beautiful and at times irreverent (and explicit). It was by far my favorite part of the book.The story is also interesting, if maybe a bit frustrating.And yet, overall, I did not like it.
  • (5/5)
    'm late to the Don Winslow party, but I'm damn happy I finally found it. I'm going through his catalog in reverse order, it seems, and every novel is excellent. 'Savages' is another SoCal drug book, and along with 'The Power of the Dog' and 'The Cartel', goes a long way toward educating readers about the issues at our southern border. Savages is more of 'micro' view, while the other two are more sprawling in scope.Savages' plot is pretty simple. Two SoCal buddies, one an ex-Seal and the other more of a pacifist type, develop a killer strain of marijuana from seeds brought back from an overseas posting by the ex-Seal. A Mexican cartel member gets wind and decides they want the action. The two buddies aren't interested, so the cartel decides to exert a little leverage. The bargaining chip ends up being a young lady who's the shared girlfriend of the buds. There's lots of violence and other action involved, which seems to be a trademark of Winslow's work.It's taken me awhile to appreciate Winslow's writing style. Of the 4 novels I've read, the structure of Savages is the least conventional, with lots of missing punctuation, odd sentence lengths, etc. Once you get used to it, it's actually sort of refreshing in that he's trying, I think, to match the sort of unpredictable nature of the story. His dialogue is great and the characters are clearly developed through the book. By the end, you tend to know what each participant will do, which is the mark of a good character writer.Savages is a great novel that'll whet your appetite for more Winslow!
  • (2/5)
    I did not love book as I expected. This was maybe my 6th Don Winslow book and I gather a fairly popular one since it was made into a major motion picture, including the prequel. I do blame this in large part to the poor narration, I listed to an audio version as I have all his other books. It felt less like a work of fiction than a long spoken word monologue and not well read at all. But maybe that's how it was supposed to read. I did not come to love Winslow's characters like I have in his other books. There really was no depth to them or the plot. Just shock and awe. I can't imagine exactly how little I would I have cared about them if I hadn't read the prequel first. I've got the movie waiting for me now at the library and I'm not even sure I want to watch it.
  • (2/5)
    Another reviewer wondered whether to be fascinated or repulsed by this book, I agree entirely. This is a lightning paced thriller in which we are meant to empathise with two drug dealers, simply because their opposition is so much worse and because one of them does good works in the third world; and, besides, marihuana is not so bad, I'd it? I think the time has come for me to pass on Don Winslow, talented as he undoubtedly is.
  • (2/5)
    This is not a good book. The plot is very weak, it feels like the author did not bother too much to work on it and took a lot of shortcuts. Characters are stereotypical and make obvious choices. The ending only adds to this by being completely unrealistic and cliche.
  • (2/5)
    Since I have seen the first season of Breaking Bad, this book felt unnecessary. Also, I disliked the attention-getting gimmick of starting the book with "F--- you." (I am much like my father, who actively roots against teams with coaches who throw chairs and "act a fool", and who still has not forgiven the state of Indiana for Bobby Knight.)

    I am awarding one bonus star for a funny fantasy sequence in which a character imagines herself on various talk shows, which culminates in her calling Dr. Phil an unkind name.
  • (5/5)
    my favorite book
  • (5/5)
    “Savages” is on the surface a full-out action thriller about a trio of Laguna Beach kids who have become very wealthy off hydro farming and their battle with the Baja cartel that wants in on their action. It is fast-paced action that almost never lets up from beginning to end. But, the thing about “Savages” is that that it may be about more than just a drug war thriller. It is about the age-old battle between civilized society and the savages and the thing is that savages don’t play by civilized rules. They see you trying to be reasonable and compromise and see it as a sign of weakness that they are going to exploit. It plays out in the Yin and Yang that is Chon and Ben, one a pseudo-hippie that still wants to save the world in Darfur and the Congo and elsewhere, and the other battle-hardened by three tours of duty in Stanland (Afghanistan) against savages armed with IEDs and no lines that wouldn’t cross. It plays out in the battle between Chon and Ben and the insidious cartel that chops heads off merely to send a message. No quarter given.

    It plays out against the sun-drenched backdrop of Laguna Beach with its basketball court and volleyball court right smack on the beach and O (Ophelia) who shops till she drops at the most fabulous malls in the country. Amidst all that sun and surf and innocence is a cutthroat battle, not just between the drug dealers and the cartels, but the predators who exist in real estate and business who simply are little more than savages in three-piece suits and who will give no quarter and exploit every weakness that they can see.

    And how do we do battle with these savages and remain somewhat civilized without giving away the store? Do we end up becoming savages ourselves in the name of showing who can stand up taller?

    Can you really just close up shop and go to some island paradise without letting the whole world be overrun by savages? And how does one do battle with savagery when one has family and friends that can be threatened?

    This novel is written in the same style as “Kings of Cool” with 290 short chapters. Some of it is stream of consciousness, but not such that you would get lost in it like in Finnegan’s Wake. But, this novel, is like a high speed train gliding faster than the rails can be built. This novel lacks the history and backstory that fleshed out “Kings of Cool,” but it is still far more than just another action sequence.
  • (5/5)
    I admit that I’m a latecomer to Don Winslow’s fiction, with 2015’s The Cartel being the first of Winslow’s books I read - and Savages, from 2010, being just the second. I’ve been told that Savages, although it was Winslow’s thirteenth crime novel, is considered his breakthrough novel, the one that moved him to a whole new level of success than could be claimed for any of his previous books. Savages is so good that I find this easy to believe even without having read any of the dozen books that precede it. Savages is about three twenty-something friends who are living the good life in Southern California. Chon, Ben, and O have the money and the leisure time to do the things they want to do, and to avoid those things they don’t want to do. And they owe it all to the high quality marijuana product that Ben developed from the seed that Chon brought back from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. O, on the other hand, lives at home with her mother and what has turned into a long, steady stream of stepfathers – all of whom have been wealthy enough to allow O and her mother never to have to worry about how their abused credit cards are ever going to be paid off. The product sold by Chon and Ben is so good that it almost sells itself to what has become a cult following that calls itself “The Church of the Lighter Day Saints.” Now the money steadily rolls in, Chon only occasionally has to apply strong-arm tactics, and Ben has time to travel the world spending his money in those places it will do the most good. But the good times can’t last forever, and when the Mexican Baja Cartel comes calling, those days may be over for good.Competition among the Mexican cartels has grown so bloody and out of control that the head of the Baja Cartel has decided to cushion her losses in Mexico by moving her operation north across the California border. When she demands that Ben and Chon give up their marketing operation and sell their product directly to her instead, negotiations do not go at all well. Ben and Chon refuse to play by the cartel’s new rules set, but when the Mexicans kidnap O and threaten to behead her if the boys don’t agree to the deal, all bets are off. The Mexican drug war has officially come to Southern California – and Chon and Ben are in the middle of it.Stylistically, Savages is a hard book to describe. It is dark, violent, and sexy just the way one would expect a crime fiction novel featuring the Mexican drug cartels to be. But it is also a hilarious and touching love story (albeit one involving two men and one woman) that makes it easy to forget just how much trouble the novel’s main characters are really in. Ben, Chon, and O, for lots of reasons (some good, some not so good) are going to stick in readers’ minds for a long time. And the good news is that in 2012 Winslow published a prequel to Savages called The Kings of Cool, so readers of Savages will be able to spend even more time with them.
  • (3/5)
    So recently I raved about The Power of the Dog and The Cartel, both by Don Winslow. As promised, I bought three more novels and read this one first. I was mildly disappointed but not deterred from Winslow.This book revolves around two young guys and a girl. The boys become reliable suppliers of quality pot. Ben is an idealist who is using the millions he makes as a hydroponic grower to go around the world establishing hospitals, schools, build wells and do good works.Chon is an ex-Marine who is the muscle in the operation as needed. So far, things have been relatively peaceful and life in Orange County is profitable as Chon minds the store. O is a spoiled OC girl who sleeps with both Ben and Chon, she loves them both for different reasons and everyone knows about each other so the trio works.The Baja Cartel is ready to cross the border and offers to buy Ben and Chon’s business. When they refuse, a hostile takeover ensues. Ben and Chon, not used to having to deal with the ugly side of the business, are forced into a dirty, bloody turf war.O is kidnapped and held by the Cartel bosses until Ben and Chon can buy her way out. O handles being a hostage by continuing her easy going slacker ways with her captors. She spends her days surfing the net, watching tv and eating fast food. An all-out rescue mission is as bloody as any Winslow book.What I did not like was the writing style. It reminded me a little bit of Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice” and I found it distracted me from what would otherwise be a pretty good novel. It is not a long book and I have two more Winslow’s so let’s see what I think as I go forward.Savages is a great read for the younger generation as I think it speaks their language well in their own voice. I just want to read something with a more mature voice I guess. I am giving this one 3 ½ stars.
  • (3/5)

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    I always rate crime novels differently because this genre requires me to use a different grading style then I use for "literary fiction". This is my second Don Winslow novel and this one was bit light compared to "The Cartel". The narrative prose is excellent but the characters are all cliches which is about what you expect in these type of books. That is doesn't occur with writers like Kate Atkinson and Dennis Lehane who have taken the crime novel to a higher level. That being said, this was a page turner which is what I want from a crime novel. Takes place in Laguna Beach and deals with drug turf wars that involved Mexican Baja Cartel. This is an easy introduction to Don Winslow who is one of the best in the crime novel area.

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  • (5/5)
    I loved this book! Crazy action, characters, and settings! Be be warned!!! Verrrrry strong language, sex, and violence! It works in this story, but not for the weak or stomach (or mind!). Chon, Ben, and O are three characters that I don't think I'll soon forget! The three of them against the drug cartels of Mexico - yee hah! I love the way Winslow writes too! Both the style and the substance! I could not keep my hands off this book! Sex, drugs, but no rock and roll!!!!
  • (2/5)

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    If I wanted to read porn, I would have just gone to the internet! Winslow subverts this novel by changing the characters Chon, O and Ben into one dimensional sex toys. Shame that it failed dismally. The Winter of Frankie Machine is by far Winslow's best. Savages is his worst!

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  • (3/5)
    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.
    - 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.

    I wouldn't want to read many books like this, but I'm glad I read one.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)

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    Winslow has a unique style of writing, which I think you either enjoy -- or not. Very short chapters, choppy sentences. Storytelling here is enjoyable -- about two buddies in the pot business in southern California, making a good living and enjoying life until a Mexican cartel wants to take over their business. Lots of funny social commentary.

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  • (1/5)
    It was read in a hot summer without much expectations and found wanting even so.
    Provocative? really? would have been good.
  • (4/5)
    A pleasant surprise. I heard about this book before I knew the movie existed, and figured I'd try it, even though this type of subject matter isn't usually my cup of tea. I'm glad I picked this up. It's a fast-paced, action packed story that's funny in some points and touching in others.

    I loved the characters - Ophelia (better known as "O"), Chon, and Ben. Three very different people with one main thing in common: they all love each other very much. Ben and Chon are best friends, polar opposites, and O is their shared girlfriend and pal.
    Chon's an almost emotionless, cynical war veteran, who doesn't have much use for anyone other than Ben and O. Ben's a do-gooder to the extreme, traveling to various countries to do what he can to ease poverty, suffering, and to generally be a hell of a humanitarian, and O - well, O stays busy being herself, shopping, trying to keep up with her mother's latest phase and newest husband, and keeping both her men happy. Ben and Chon are two of the biggest drugs dealers in Orange County, California, and make a great living selling high quality marijuana. It's all fun and games, until the Baja Cartel out of Mexico decides they want a cut of the action - which essentially means they want Ben and Chon's empire. This, obviously, does not go over well with Ben and Chon, who decide not to take the cartel's crap and fight back, in their own way.

    I now want to see this movie, although I've heard it's not nearly as good as the book (it never is), and that the ending is totally different from the book's. Figures.

    It's a great story, full of action and intensity, and it's hard to put down. Fair warning, however: mostly, it's violent and grisly. If you can't stomach blood and gore (not to mention drugs and sex), this isn't for you.
  • (5/5)
    Ben and Chon sell the best hydroponic pot Laguna, maybe in SoCal, and they’ve made a ton of money. So good the Baja Cartel wants to take over their operation and make them employees. Ben is the brains behind the weed and Chon (it used to be John), a former SEAL, is the enforcer – the hard man. Ophelia, known as O, is girlfriend to them both. They’re not going to bend easily and the cartel doesn’t negotiate.This could be a typical drug war story, but Winslow’s crisp writing elevates it to something more. Not only crisp, but stylish and intelligent. This is a story that flows, and every word is perfectly placed. The research and craft that went into it are evident.
  • (4/5)
    THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE AUDIOBOOKFirst things first, this is not a book for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. I listened to it on audio when I was walking my dogs and there were times when I felt myself blushing from what I was listening to … ON MY HEADPHONES! I kept thinking “If people only knew what I was listening to now, they’d be shocked.” This is some hard-core, graphic writing … and hearing it read out loud makes it seem even more so. (By the way, Michael Kramer has the perfect voice for the material … with a kind of WTF/seen it all, done it all attitude.) The basic story deals with a love triangle between two pot dealers and their girl and what happens when they run awry of a Mexican drug cartel and the girl gets kidnapped. The writing—despite its bluntness and graphic descriptions—was good and often very funny. But this is by no means a “feel good” book. And if people in SoCal are really like the characters in this book, then I’m staying the hell away.
  • (4/5)
    This book is awesome! Ben, Chon, & O hang out and live a pretty carefree live in SoCal. Ben and Chon grow weed - Ben is the brains of the outfit and Chon is the muscle. O just hangs out and smokes weed with the boys.All their lives change; however, when the Baja Cartel moves in and tells them that they now work for the Cartel. Unfortunately for them, Ben and Chon refuse which leads to the Cartel kidnapping O to make them comply in order to their friend back alive. Chon, though, is not the type of guy you want to mess with!I really did enjoy this book - like others have said, it is pretty violent, twisted, and is graphic as well. Winslow's writing style is different and the book is quirky with a very deep, black sense of humor.
  • (3/5)
    This book started with two famous words, F*ck You. So to sum up this book in only two words: Oddly Interesting. This was my first time reading a drug cartel,"shoot em up" action book. The reason I picked up this book was because I saw the trailer for the movie coming out in July. The writing style was unique. You weren't reading from someones perspective, it was as if you were watching the scenes happen. You got to peep into their lives from an outside view. They also would switch to screenplay writing for certain scenes. The characters were likable and very detailed to the point that you felt like you knew them in person.The three main characters in the book were O, Chon, and Ben. O or Ophelia is our main person that we see the most in the book.All she cares about is sex, shopping, and drugs. Her nickname "O" came from, you guessed it, orgasms (multiple). She has two men in her life, who are best friends, and they seem okay with sharing her. Her mother is a nut that likes to pick up new hobbies and new husbands. Chon is the man all about action. I think with him going to war it messed up his head. He always has a fighter "kill or be killed" mentality. Ben is the reason they are tied up in the drug business. With the best chronic on the west coast you can understand why the drug cartel wants to do business with him. Ben isn't one of those sleazy drug lords though, he likes to do good things with the money he makes like helping third world countries. There is some strong sexual content between the characters, but not to the point of being to much. With the way the book is written the scenes are not very detailed. It happens so fast that you kind of think, "Did that just happen?" I didn't have high expectations going into this book because I wasn't sure what I would get from it. I like the lingo that O comes up with. I am guessing this how they speak on the west coast and just reminded me of lazy surfer talk, always shorting words. My favorite is PAQU, which is what O calls her mom, Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe. I loved that the drug cartel in this book was ran by a woman. You normally see some Godfather wannabe, but to see a woman was very refreshing.She was one tough cookie don't get me wrong, but it was interesting to see her soft side. All she wanted was love and to provide for her family. One of her hit men Lado "The Cold One" just completely disgusted me. I see how he could be described as the man with no soul. The things he does are slightly horrific and I guess if anything he would be the bad guy in this book. A few things I didn't like about the book was when O gets kidnapped because Ben and Chon won't have anything to do with the cartel. At first it seemed like a normal hostage situation, but when they come to a certain agreement, it had more of a "sleepover" aspect. O would veg out and watch reality TV all day with her guard. Also the book did not go into much depth, but I guess having very descriptive characters helped. Also the book wasn't as action packed as I thought it would be. The ending was very sad for me. The book had been compared to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and there was even references in the book about it. So I knew it probably wasn't going to end well, but I never expected the actually ending to be the way it was. I felt like it could have been prevented, but Ben and Chon made some not so smart decisions. I guess I just didn't get justice or feel satisfied with it. The ending was so fast and rushed through that I literally said out loud "that's it!?" Even though the book had its ups and downs I still want to see the movie. I hope you enjoy this Oddly Interesting book.
  • (5/5)
    When a Mexican drug cartel decides to add an independently owned and operated pot groaning business they won't take no for answer. When the two main characters do say no to the cartel's demands, things get messy.I was blown away by this book. The writing style and plot are unique and engaging, and the short chapters make it an easy, fast read. I really don't want to say too much about the book because it is such a uniquely written novel that I think a person should go into it with just what's provided on the back cover. That way you'll be just as surprised by Don Winslow's dark humor and gritty action.
  • (5/5)
    An absolute masterpiece, this is the true classic that Tarantino is yearning to create. A novel that perfectly fuses high and low brows, a funny yet gritty mix of the best elements of noir, comedy, action, tragedy and romance, "Savages" is even told in a brilliant and poetic avante-garde style of fragmented sentences, wild formatting in gonzo narration. This book is somehow a hysterical stoner comedy on one hand, a touching love story on another, and yet a rock-hard adventure of war and crime on a third hand in this awesome mutant of a book. To top it all off, it even is layered with a profound amount of insight and ruminative philosophy on the modern world, its wide scope ranging from mundane suburbia and consumerist materialism to the upper echelons of crime, military and politics. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who likes rated-R movies.
  • (4/5)
    A quick read, better than your average thriller, although not quite what I hoped for given stellar reviews from critics I liked.
  • (4/5)
    Wow. This is an explosion of a novel. Winslows minimalist prose is a surprisingly effective tool for this fast paced drug thriller. This is a hard R rated novel, but fans strong and fast paced action movies are sure to enjoy reading this.
  • (5/5)
    Very good. Small pot growing operations meets the Baja Cartel.
  • (3/5)
    A fun read, kept me turning from one short chapter to another. No intellectual challenge but good for the evenings of a stressful work week.
  • (3/5)
    There is so much to like about this book and so much that could have been left out. I have a theory that sometimes really good writers just get bored. So they write a book mainly to amuse themselves. Sometimes, based on their level of talent, they get away with it. Winslow is that good. This book mines his familiar territory of drugs, cartels, and outcasts in Southern California and nobody writes with more authenticity. However, this one has some sexually graphic scenes that just aren't really pertinent. He also tries to take some of his usual witty banter and make it just a bit to clever. But again, because he's that good, in the end it all comes together in a pretty good read.