Kemper's Reviews > The Kings of Cool

The Kings of Cool by Don Winslow
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Jul 05, 12

bookshelves: 2012, bad-guys-rule, crime-mystery, damn-dirty-hippies
Read in July, 2012

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 southern California from the ‘60s through the turn of the century. It turns out that that drug dealers Ben and Chon (A mutated version of John.) and their shared girlfriend O (Short for Ophelia.) had a lot to contend with as they built up their pot growing empire that they were running at the beginning of Savages.

Like that book, Winslow has played with the style and format as well as taking that casual SoCal tone of voice he does so well to extreme lengths including incorporating segments that are written like a screenplay and sometimes using sentence fragments arranged on the page for maximum impact. Instead of a crime novel, this could almost be considered an epic free form poem. With shotguns.

This is that rarest of prequels, one that actually adds depth and story to the original without diluting it. There seems to be some parts of the history that don’t sync well with what we were told before, but the continuity glitches weren’t enough to seriously detract from my enjoyment.

Oh, and there’s a lot of mocking of both hippies and Republicans which made me laugh out loud repeatedly.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda this could almost be considered an epic free form poem. With shotguns.

It should be mandatory that all epic poems have shotguns. Beowulf would be much more satisfying if he walked around with a sawed-off shotgun.


message 2: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Hippie hater!


Kemper Stephanie wrote: "Hippie hater!"

And proud of it.


Kemper Amanda wrote: "It should be mandatory that all epic poems have shotguns. Beowulf would be much more satisfying if he walked around with a sawed-off shotgun.

If the Iliad had shotguns I might be able to get through it.


message 5: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby I too feel that way about Savages so I'm glad to hear this wasn't a total cash-in like Driven seems to be.


message 6: by Kemper (last edited Jul 06, 2012 07:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "I too feel that way about Savages so I'm glad to hear this wasn't a total cash-in like Driven seems to be."

I went and saw Savages today. It was OK, had some good scenes, but isn't up to the level of the book.

I still gotta read Drive. I liked that movie quite a bit but haven't gotten around to the book yet.


message 7: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby I didn't expect much from Oliver Stone to be honest. I merely had hope. I didn't even groan too much when I saw Travolta in the trailer. It's not out here until September though.

Drive left me a little disappointed twice, first the movie wasn't the greatest film ever (reviewed on my blog) and then the book because it wasn't as minimal as the movie.

I blame myself.


message 8: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy So would it be better to read the prequel first?


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