Kinx's Book Nook: Review: Savages

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Savages

Savages by Don Winslow
Published by Simon & Schuster
Released in 2010
301 pages
Crime Fiction


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 come up against something that they can’t handle – the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, and sends them the message that a “no” is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel escalates its threat, kidnapping Ophelia, the boys’ playmate and confidante. O’s abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists that will captivate readers eager to learn the costs of freedom and the price of one amazing high.

Savages is a fast-paced, sexy thrill-ride through the drug wars of southern California. It is violent and bloody, and a fantastic read. The story revolves around a trio of friends who care about nothing, except getting high and each other. It is amazing the lengths they will go to save another. They will literally sacrifice everything for each other.

The entire story revolves around Ben and Chon trying to save Ophelia from the Baja Cartel. Ben, Chon and O have great chemistry. I found it to be a unique love story based on action and not sentiment.  These characters are very flawed but have complete trust and loyalty to one another. Even though Ben, Chon and O have serious faults, you still like them and want them to win in the end.

Winslow succeeded in creating very unique and tough characters. O could have been a character that grated on your nerves that nails on a chalk board. However, her resilience and trust in “her boys” is admirable. Chon never knew he had any feelings for anyone until Ben and O are threatened. Ben’s transformation is the most disturbing of the three. He starts as pacifist, philanthropist and ends as a killer. I felt he paid the ultimate price for his lifestyle and his friends.

The dialogue was written incredibly well. Winslow didn’t bog down the story with a lot of description. It is mostly dialogue between the characters. He is able to maintain the story’s fast pace this way. You are not slowed down by any unnecessary details. I did enjoy Winslow’s little political diatribes throughout the book. He used Chon as his venting tool.

In no way, shape or form does Winslow romanticize the drug cartels. They are a nasty bunch of people. Lado is a soulless greedy bastard. No redeeming qualities at all. The bloodshed caused by the cartels is unfathomable. Winslow captured the incredible violence caused by the drug wars. It is sad and devastating.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a really fast read and I highly recommend it!


  1. This sounds like an exciting read! I love the idea of super flawed characters and their only redeeming value is that of loyalty to each other!!
    fast paced story telling through dialogue is always good too

    great review

  2. At first I thought this said "marriage" operation, not marijuana. I need new glasses ;)

    This sounds like a good one!!


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