Savages
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Savages (Savages #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  8,740 ratings  ·  1,223 reviews
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 i...more
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published June 25th 2010)
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Stephen
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If these two wordsmithing masters of dialogue, tone and hip colloquialisms ever had a literary LOVE CHILD…..it 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 2...more
Kemper
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...more
Lou
“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...more
Travis
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 pe...more
Tfitoby
Nov 09, 2012 Tfitoby rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tfitoby by: Goodreads recommendations


Savages by Don Winslow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb: 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...more
Brandon
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...more
Anthony Chavez
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...more
Rachel
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 d...more
James Thane
Mar 28, 2011 James Thane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Crime fiction fans
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...more
Jim
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 charac...more
LMM
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 thos...more
Josh
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...more
Gary
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...more
Michael
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 ha...more
Karina Halle
Amazing. Unputdownable. Off to buy every single book Winslow has written. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Review to come in August.
Kyle Pennekamp
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, h...more
Kurt
Jul 31, 2012 Kurt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kurt by: Matt
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, b...more
Cartavio
Don, what have you done?
If you think the former joke was lame, you should read the book. Now THAT`s lame!
I loved "El Poder del Perro" by the same author. It was a page-turner, yes, it was an airport book, but it was also a solid structure and a believable plot. Seemed there was a good research behind: I bought all those stories about American foreign interventions in Latin America following defeat in Vietnam. Characters were nothing to write home about but their reactions, their background were...more
Michael
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 awf...more
[Redacted]
Savages was a great read, fast and fun it was very unlike other Don Winslow books I have read. The story is that of three people Ben,Chon and "O" who are involved in the Southern California marijuana trade. The most mellow drug trade ever just got a whole lot less mellow when the Baja Cartel, a mexican drug cartel, moves in to take over. Ben and Chon are of a mind to leave the trade but, it turns out, the Baja Cartel would rather them stay. To that end, the Cartel kidnaps "O" to force Ben and Ch...more
Jeffrey
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 sh...more
Jake
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...more
Jim Coughenour
Savages is a consummate comic western, bobbing with buoyant nihilism. Winslow sets up his characters, spins his dialogue and torques his plot with the panache of Elmore Leonard on sativa and all hell breaks loose. It took me a few (very short) chapters to accept Winslow's poison-dart style; it's so over the top I surrendered.

"Don't do it," Chon says.
"Don't do what?"
"Don't waste your energy feeling guilty about these guys," Chon says.
May I remind you that these are the guys who –
–beheaded people
...more
Johnny
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 y...more
Rachel
I finished reading this book mere minutes ago, and I'm still amazed.

I accidentally watched the movie before I read the book, not knowing that this Major Motion Picture was previously a book. I loved the movie so much (but who wouldn't? Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch), that I went out and bought the book.

Needless to say, I flew through this book. It was fantastic. I mean, seriously fantastic. It had witty humour, and the characters were likable and desirable. You were rooting for...more
Jonathan Peto
I've never been too impressed by people who need slang, clothes, and things to advertise their cool. I'm probably more tolerant of it now than when I was younger, because it's kind of cute to see people try on and discard personas like underwear. I guess I'm tolerant, less judgemental, more relaxed. Wiser maybe? "Get hip, take a long ride on my motorbike."

So what the hell does that have to do with Savages? Quite a bit actually.

Its main characters are young. In a way, they have a lifestyle, rathe...more
Simon
Nope, it's not a fantasy or historical novel about barbarians with swords, but a crime thriller about two pot growers who have to rescue a young woman they're in a love triangle with after she's kidnapped by a rival drug cartel who don't like competition.

Sounds familiar? I guess the basic plot beats are, but the way it's written is extremely original and almost avant-garde in its constant switching between lots of different writing styles. Goes between what's close to beatnik poetry over script...more
Robin Webster
Life-long buddies, war veteran Chon and hippy environmentalist Ben produce the best marijuana in California in a series of grow houses and have a readymade market for their product. Along with their intimate female friend Ophelia, known as ‘O’ for short, they live exactly the life they wish to lead. All goes well until the Mexican Baja Cartel wants to have control over their business. When the boys try to walk away, O is kidnapped and will be killed, unless they play to the rules of the Baja Car...more
Tony
Winslow, Don. SAVAGES. (2010). ***. Winslow wrote several excellent books in the beginning of his career. This one is billed as a breakthrough novel, which implies that there have been some dogs in between. Maybe. This novel, written in the style of comic book narrative – staccato prose a la Walter Winchell in e. e. cummings format of meandering print – is a shoot-em-up mindless rip-off of hundreds of stories that you might have read in pulp magazines. Ben, a botony major and part-time philanthr...more
Brett Starr
This violent state of mind,
This violent state of mine!

I can sum up your decision to read or not to read this novel in six words: YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOVEL!

As a avid reader and collector of books, I know Don Winslow is near the top for crime fiction. I own a few of his other popular novels "The Power of the Dog", "Dawn Patrol", but I just haven't found the urge to read them yet. "Savages" beckoned to me from the new release rack last week when I saw it and I knew it was going to be special.

F...more
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was this ending right? 37 492 May 27, 2013 11:04PM  
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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
More about Don Winslow...
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“If you let people believe that you are weak, sooner or later you’re going to have to kill them.” 42 likes
“Also: do not fuck with someone until you know exactly who the fuck you're fucking with.
And then don't do it.”
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