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The Kings of Cool (Savages #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,182 ratings  ·  363 reviews
In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twenty-something best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Among the most celebrated thrillers in recent memory—and now a major motion picture directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Oliver Stone—Savages was picked as a best book of the year by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly, Janet Maslin ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Hey, George Lucas! Now THIS is how you do a prequel!

Don Winslow’s Savages instantly became one of my favorite crime novels, and I was a little worried about him doing another one that takes place before it. Frankly, it seemed like a rush job done to capitalize on the movie version of Savages which comes out tomorrow.

I should have had more faith in Winslow. He has expanded the backgrounds of the characters from Savages and uses their stories to give us an idea of the rise of the drug trade in so
James Thane
One of my favorite books of the last several years was Savages, by the incomparable Don Winslow. It was hip, cool, very funny and enormously engrossing. The trio at the heart of the book included three early-twenty-something Southern Californians: Ben and Chon, two life-long friends-turned-drug producers who grew the best weed available, and O, the enormously beautiful and appealing woman who loved both of them. The book was not only a great read, it was a compelling meditation on the nature of ...more
May 06, 2014 Brandon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brandon by: Kemper
Shelves: fiction, 2012
Honestly, after reading this, I can't believe this book was anywhere near as good as it was. In fact, it was down right awesome.

Savages is a tremendous novel. It was my first exposure to Winslow and I immediately fell for his razor sharp prose. It's just so.. cool. Is that word OK to use or does it make me look uninspired and boring? I don't care. Whatever. That being said, I didn't know what to expect with this prequel. Could this be something Winslow wrote to capitalize on the motion picture a
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We once again visit the bad-ass trio Ben, Chon and O.

Contained within these pages you'll find sun, surfers, hippies and W.D, standing for war on drugs, wars with drugs and wars and drugs.
Surfers and hippies take you back to the origins of Chon and his family, back to when he wasn't given this oriental sounding name that has nothing to do with his ethnicity but just a funny moment in his life.
There are plenty of humorous moments delivered with sharp dialog and blistering social commentary.
The fa
Jeff Tucker
Wow! I read this book in two days. I just could not put it down. It’s definitely my idea of a page turner. In the crime/mystery/thriller genre this is one of my favorites. Be forewarned there’s lots of sex, drugs and violence. I haven’t read Savages yet but I’ll go buy it this afternoon. The author doesn’t seem to want to use any words that aren’t necessary. Many passages are in single words or short phrases. Chapters can start or end in the middle of a thought or even in the middle of a sentenc ...more
I'm reviewing Winslow's Savages and the prequel, Kings of Cool, as one entity since I read the novels consecutively and separate reviews seem excessive. Also, both earn three stars, maybe three and a half, as I'd probably read more Winslow but I'm not pushing elderly women and jogger-stroller moms aside in a barefoot sprint toward the local library to snag more of his books.

Both novels read quick, noir, and pulp-y, mostly in a good way. Each contains about twelve thousand chapters but some cont
Winslow’s Bruen-like delivery of Ben, Chon, and O’s story prior to SAVAGES is sparse, lean, and subtle yet not without substance. It’s a style that leads the reader deep into their own imagination while still populating the written landscape with enough direction and keynotes to maintain a consistent yet vividly well rendered train of thought. Spanning past and present crimes, THE KINGS OF COOL encompasses the lives of Ben, Chon and O in a beautiful interlocking plot that not only binds their fr ...more
Tim Niland
Don Winslow is fast becoming one of my favorite storytellers, and Savages, the book this novel was based on, was one of my favorite novels of 2010. While the conclusion of that book limited the options for a sequel, it did offer many unanswered questions about what came before, questions that Winslow spins into another excellent story with this book. This story has a split focus, one half of it following the developing marijuana empire of Ben and Chon and their lady-friend O as the develop it in ...more
Bisher hat mich das Äußere eines Buches nur selten verleitet, darüber etwas zu schreiben. Aber in diesem Fall ist die Aufmachung so ungewöhnlich, dass ich einfach einige Worte dazu verlieren muss. Eckig und völlig schwarz kommt das Buch daher, inclusive aller Seitenschnitte; Titel, Autor usw. sind hingegen in weißen, schnörkellosen Buchstaben dargestellt. Wer die Hardcoverausgabe von 'Unendlicher Spaß' von David Foster Wallace kennt, hat hier nun die Negativform vor sich liegen.
Doch ein Buch nur
3.5 stars

Unfortunately, everything new I read that comes from Winslow, I compare them to The Power Of Dog and the Dawn Patrol and also the second book in that series, The Gentlemen's Hour. Those three books are the actual kings of cool to me and are damn near flawless—especially Power of the Dog. This prequel to Savages was merely ok to me. I enjoyed Savages far more than I did this one and I couldn't really tell you why. What I did love about this book though, was his integration of two protago
Robert Intriago
The trouble with action/mysteries prequels is that you know who is going to survive, you just do not know how. As a general rule most sequels/prequels are not as good as the original. This one is not the exception. It lacks the comedy and sex action of the first book: "Savages" Do not get me wrong it is a very good book, just not in same category. If you like Winslow, you will like this book. I also liked the reader in the original better.

With a lot of U's in there. Thats what this prequel to the amazing Savages got me thinking.

Now I know what a sequel is supposed to feel like. In my opinion, "Savages" doesn't really need a lot of answers as to why things happened the way they did or why Ben and Chon ended up being what they are. I didn't feel any thirst for answers, but I knew I needed more of these three characters and Dennis.

And now that I finished "The Kings of Cool" I realise there was just so many I had to know. Far
Melissa Klug
SAVAGES was one of my favorite books of the last 10 years. This is a prequel, and it is fantastic. It is a crime novel told like a lyric poem in many parts. Don Winslow is amazing.
I liked Savages, but I loved The Kings of Cool. The prequel corrected the issues I had with the first book, which were that Ben and Chon and Ophelia were unlikeable and I couldn’t find a way to care about them. In The Kings of Cool, they are five years younger and, therefore, not yet fully formed into the people I didn’t like in Savages. Those five years made a huge difference.

The Kings of Cool is the trio’s true origin story. As is the case with most origin stories, the protagonists’ story isn’
The Kings of Cool is Don Winslow's prequel to earth-moving novel, Savages. The prequel aims to give the back story of Savages' protagonists, including the parents of Ben, Chon, and Ophelia; the lineage of the Baja Cartel; and the role of local and federal government in the "War on Drugs." Ben and Chon, a.k.a. B&C, are two fledging drug dealers in Laguna Beach, California. As we know from Savages, Chon brought back some killer weed from his tour in Afghanistan and Ben cross-bred it to make a ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This prequel to "Savages" brings the same energy to the table, along with the unique format. But is it overdone? Too much? In the first (e.g. "Savages") we pick up Ben/Chon/O late in their story arc, so the author gets to explore their backstories a bit more here.

While good, it's not as compelling as his first work. And at times the backstory felt a little bit too contrived -- you'll maybe know what I mean if you read the book. That is, everything felt a little bit too convenient in terms of th
Craig Pittman
"Savages" was a scorching thriller with smart characters, diamond-sharp dialogue and cinematic scene construction, leading up to a shattering conclusion. Now the author, Don Winslow, shows us how all the characters in that book got to be where they were via this book, "The Kings of Cool."

It's just as smart and sharp as "Savages" was, but with a better sense of history, as Winslow jumps backwards in time not just to 2005, when his main players of Chon, Ben and O were first getting started, but a
Sam Quixote
Returning to his biggest success in years, “Savages”, Don Winslow makes the trip backwards from that book to tell the story of how Ben, Chon and O got together in the first place, how they began their business, and a history of the Southern California (SoCal) drug trade starting in the 60s and which inexplicably involves all of their parents.

While I’m excited whenever Winslow puts out a new novel, I was surprised to see he had written a prequel to “Savages” rather than a sequel. What needed to
Ein bisschen Scarface, ein bisschen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - die ganz Großen.

Don Winslow wandert während der 349 Seiten, die man als Leser im Drogenmilieu der sonnigen Küste Südkaliforniens verbringt, auf einem schmalen Grad entlang und schwankt dabei mächtig, sodass ein Mix aus white trash-Weisheit und verblendeter Drogenextase herauskommt.

"Nein, findet Chon, das Problem mit Politikern ist nicht, dass sie auf Droge sind, sondern dass sie's nicht sind.
Dabei gibt es jetzt so gute Mittel
A couple years ago, Don Winslow made waves with his fast and edgy novel, "Savages", in which young drug "entrepreneurs", Ben and Chon, embarked in a war against a Mexican drug group who kidnapped their shared girlfriend, O. It was, arguably, one of the best thrillers of that year and even spawned a film adaptation by director Oliver Stone. Now, Winslow returns to this version of California in a prequel, "The Kings of Cool".

The novel centers on two main stories, one taking place around 2005 and t
Robin Webster
I had read ‘The Power of the Dog’ by Don Winslow a couple of years ago. I loved it but hadn’t read another of his books until now. Ten pages into ‘The Kings of Cool’, I couldn’t help but wonder why I had left it so long to return to this author. This book is a recently released prequel to ‘Savages’. The backdrop to the book is the Californian drug scene from the nineteen-sixties to two-thousand-and-five, and follows our three main characters, Chon and Ben, (partners in the marijuana business) an ...more
This is the Prequel to Savages, a blockbuster blood and guts epic from Oliver Stone, starring Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights .. hopefully "Rig" will get out of his rut with this movie after the horrendous bombs, John Carter and Battleship).
Kings of Cool looks at Life Behind the Orange Curtain - Orange County, California - specifically the glitzy corridor between San Diego and Seal Beach. The bullseye is Laguna Beach. It's kind of like a less funny California style Blues Brot
Savages was a great book. The Kings of Cool, not so much. It seems in many ways a tie in to the movie. Did Winslow decide to tell the backstory of the characters because he had a story to tell or was it the idea of his editor and the movie studio as a way of having synergy with the movie Savages coming out at the same time.

The story basically is about the back story of O, Chon and Ben and their interlinked families. If you wondered how Chon and Ben got involved in the drug trade that is fleshed
Megan Treseder
Crazy fun to read! This is a hyper fast story with witty dialogue and cultural references every other sentence. I especially loved the lines from The Godfather. If you want more insight into the drug world, you'll get both perspectives: those who are for drugs and those who are against them. It was fascinating. Almost enough so that it makes me want to watch the movie Savages (Kings of Cool is the prequel), even if it does have Blake Lively.
Let me preface this review by stating that I haven't read or seen the film The Savages or anything else by Don Wilson. That being said this prequel starring a trio of drug dealing characters was vaguely interesting. The story jumped around a bit through time, which was okay, but what really drove me batty
was its style; chopped
and poetry like

with some


thrown in.

It actually detracted from the book and I felt there was no good reason for it. M
This is technically a prequel written after the next book, "Savages," but I read it first and am now sucked into another multi-volume work. This was a great book spanning two generations of Los Angeles-Mexican cartel drug trade. And now I need to read the next one to find out what happens.
Ich habe das Hörbuch gehört. Ganz einfach klasse, weil Dietmar Wunder klasse liest. Da schält sich Winslows Prosa noch mehr raus. Ein Autor der sein Handwerk beherrscht und ein Sprecher, der einfach die Coolness der Vorlage verstärkt. Schwierig für mich wie beim Lesen von "Tage der Toten": Die vielen Personen, die Zusammenhänge und Verstrickungen. Man muss sich schon konzertrieren, auch um die Sprünge in Winslows Erzählweise mitzubekommen. Das macht den Reiz aus, aber ist auch schwierig, der Ges ...more
Dennis Koniecki
Don Winslow does not give a damn about the MLA Style Guide. Do you like paragraphs that being with capital letters and end with punctuation? Do you think chapters should be longer than a few paragraphs? Do you think paragraphs should be longer than a few sentences? Do you think prose should start on the left margin of the page instead of wherever the hell the author likes? Then you should not read this book. Because Don Winslow doesn't care.

Maybe his style choices are an attempt to capture the a
Titel: Hetzjagd durch den Drogensumpf Kaliforniens

Bevor ich überhaupt etwas zu dem Inhalt des Romans sagen kann, muss ich erst einmal dessen klasse Gestaltung loben, denn so etwas Tolles habe ich nie zuvor in den Händen gehalten. Das Buch ist inklusive Buchschnitt komplett in schwarz gehalten, so dass es auf den ersten Blick gar nicht aussieht wie ein Buch. Während die schwarze Oberfläche matt gehalten ist (und sich wie Gummi anfühlt), ist die aufgedruckte weiße Schrift leicht erhöht und glatt.
Drogen, Party ,Spaß und Gefahr : darum geht es, sehr knapp zusammengefasst, in diesem besonderen Buch.
Denn besonders ist es wirklich! Allein schon die Aufmachung mit dem schwarzen Schnitt und dem ganz in schwarzweiß gehaltenem Cover.
Wenn man es dann aufschlägt sieht man sofort die besondere Schreibart :
Kurze , prägnante Kapitel, teilweise nur ein Wort lang. Das hat mir sehr gefallen, es verlieh der Geschichte von der ersten Seite an ein gewisses Tempo.
Auch der Stil ist besonders : Der Autor nimm
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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death An
More about Don Winslow...

Other Books in the Series

Savages (2 books)
  • Savages
Savages The Power of the Dog The Winter of Frankie Machine The Dawn Patrol (Boone Daniels #1) Satori

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“What happened? Stan repeats.
To us?
To the country?
What happened when childhood ends in Dealey Plaza, in Memphis, in the kitchen of the Ambassador, your belief your hope your trust lying in a pool of blood again? Fifty-five thousand of your brothers dead in Vietnam, a million Vietnamese, photos of naked napalmed children running down a dirt road, Kent State, Soviet tanks roll into Prague so you turn on drop out you know you can't reinvent the country but maybe you reimagine yourself you believe you really believe that you can that you can create a world of your own and then you lower that expectation to just a piece of ground to make a stand on but then you learn that piece of ground costs money that you don't have.
What happened?
Altamont, Charlie Manson, Sharon Tate, Son of Sam, Mark Chapman we saw a dream turn into a nightmare we saw love and peace turn into endless war and violence our idealism into realism our realism into cynicism our cynicism into apathy our apathy into selfishness our selfishness into greed and then greed was good and we
Had babies, Ben, we had you and we had hopes but we also had fears we created nests that became bunkers we made our houses baby-safe and we bought car seats and organic apple juice and hired multilingual nannies and paid tuition to private schools out of love but also out of fear.
What happened?
You start by trying to create a new world and then you find yourself just wanting to add a bottle to your cellar, a few extra feet to the sunroom, you see yourself aging and wonder if you've put enough away for that and suddenly you realize that you're frightened of the years ahead of you what
Watergate Irangate Contragate scandals and corruption all around you and you never think you'll become corrupt but time corrupts you, corrupts as surely as gravity and erosion, wears you down wears you out I think, son, that the country was like that, just tired, just worn out by assassinations, wars, scandals, by
Ronald Reagan, Bush the First selling cocaine to fund terrorists, a war to protect cheap gas, Bill Clinton and realpolitik and jism on dresses while insane fanatics plotted and Bush the Second and his handlers, a frat boy run by evil old men and then you turn on the TV one morning and those towers are coming down and the war has come home what
Afghanistan and Iraq the sheer madness the killing the bombing the missiles the death you are back in Vietnam again and I could blame it all on that but at the end of the day at the end of the day
we are responsible for ourselves.
We got tired, we got old we gave up our dreams we taught ourselves to scorn ourselves to despise our youthful idealism we sold ourselves cheap we aren't
Who we wanted to be.”
“Smart people sometimes get stupid, but stupid people never get smart. Never. Ever. 'You can come down the evolutionary ladder,' Chon has observed to Ben and O; 'you can't climb up.” 7 likes
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