SAVAGES by Don Winslow

Book Quote:

“Amaaaaazing dope, amazing grace, it makes her skin tingle. Gets her horny. Big wow, air gets O horny.”

Book Review:

Review by Bonnie Brody (JUL 31, 2010)

Savages is a unique romp on the wild side. Its anti-heroes, Ben, Chon and O (or multiple O as she’s fondly known) are a cast of characters you gotta love. Ben and Chon are the greatest developers and suppliers of hydroponic weed in Laguna Beach and they have a loyal following. Their weed can be custom made for just the kind of high you want. They provide for the rich and famous. They live well and have been happily supplying their customers for years.

Chon is a hard-edged guy with two tours of Afghanistan under his belt as a SEAL. He knows how to target shoot from a mile away and killing a man does not faze him. He’s not one to piss off. When he was a child, his father put him on a mantel and told him to jump. Chon jumped and his father didn’t catch him. Maybe that’s why Chon doesn’t trust anybody.

Ben is Chon’s partner but they are as unalike as any two friends can be. When he’s not working on their weed plantations or stash houses, Ben is gone for months at a time, in Africa helping Congolese women or putting in wells in Myanmar. He’s got a sense of social conscience. He was raised in a loving, liberal Jewish household by two psychotherapists who were also communists.

And then there’s O, or multiple O, both nicknames short for Ophelia. She is close friends with both her men, more than friends actually. She can’t choose one over the other nor does she want to choose. She loves them both and they are all happy with the relationship that they have. She has a mother named PAQU who is not Indian. It’s O’s nickname for her and stands for Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe. Actually, despite making fun of her mother, O and she are friends.

Everything is great in Laguna Heaven until the Baja Cartel wants to take over Ben and Chon’s operation. Ben and Chon don’t want any part of this arrangement so the cartel kidnaps O to try and get them to reconsider. Ben and Chon decide to take their chances and save O along with the respectability of their business. They take on the cartel.

We get to hear about all the bad guys, their home lives and the drug cartel wars. In this sense it reminded me of the best of The Sopranos. Lado, “The Cold One,” one of the top men in the cartel has a miserable home life. He’s having an affair with a beautician and his wife can smell it on him. Naturally, she doesn’t want Lado to get near her. In the wicked cartel world, Lado is known for his sadism and wickedness. He beheads people, for god’s sake. At home, he watches little league and eats a lot. Esteban is Lado’s protégé and he is guarding O. Together, they watch The Biggest Loser and Bachelorettes.

The book’s first chapter is two words on one page – - “Fuck you.” Not many books could pull this off but this book does. It is a wonderful read. It is written in terse, pithy, crisp language. The chapters are often less than a page long and are frequently formatted like poetry. The format fits the fast-paced movement and action themes of the book deliciously. I guarantee, you’re in for a wild read with these savages.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 49 readers
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
REVIEWER: Bonnie Brody
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? YES! Start Reading Now!
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Don Winslow
EXTRAS: Bookslut interview with Don Winslow
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

Satori

The Dawn Patrol

California Fire and Life

The Winter of Frankie Machine

And another “pot” book:

The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walter

Bibliography:

Neil Carey Series:

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July 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Humorous, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

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