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The Kings of Cool [Paperback]

Don Winslow
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

11 July 2013
In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twentysomething best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Now, in his high-octane prequel, Winslow reaches back in time to tell the story of how Ben, Chon and O became the people they are. Spanning fifty years, from 1960s Southern California to the recent past, it is a tale of family in all its forms - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and lovers. As the younger generation does battle with a cabal of drug dealers and crooked cops, they come to learn that their future is inextricably linked with their parents' history. A series of breakneck twists and turns puts the two generations on a collision course, culminating in a stunning showdown that will ultimately force Ben, Chon and O to choose between their real families, and their love for each other.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Kings of Cool + Savages + The Power Of The Dog
Price For All Three: 15.73

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  • Savages 3.85
  • The Power Of The Dog 6.29

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (11 July 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099576546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099576549
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"[Winslow] is an excellent crime writer. He writes in the simplest, clearest, most spare way of anybody I've read. He's been honing it for years." (Evening Standard)

"Packing more of an emotional heft than Savages, it's written in the leanest prose possible, with a single-word paragraph being nothing unusual but managing to say more than you'd expect." (Alastair Mabbot Herald)

"A brilliant, hypnotic novel.A considerably more ambitious book than Savages, seeking to map out not only the history of Savages' weird love triangle, but also to cast a panoramic eye over the whole history of the drug trade in California from the 1960s onwards. And Winslow fulfils those ambitions fantastically well, with a stylistic swagger and bucketloads of empathy to go with a scintillating, perfectly executed crime-novel plot.Delivered in the sleekest, most sinewy prose you're ever likely to read. At times, The Kings of Cool verges on a kind of steel-tipped poetry, providing flashes of insight from perfectly carved sentences. It is a simply stunning novel." (Doug Johnstone Independent on Sunday)

"An epic prequel to Don Winslow's Savages . . . Winslow writes the kind of books that Tarantino might- if he had a heart." (Julia Handford The Telegraph)

"American author Don Winslow is so good at capturing LA slacker speak.[His books] are always superb and The Kings of Cool - a new prequel to the brilliant Savages may be his best yet" (The Sun)

Book Description

The much-anticipated prequel to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Savages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the well 23 Oct 2012
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
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 be established prior to that novel? It seemed fairly contained. Having now read it, I'm again struck with the question - why? And then another thought appeared: he's run out of ideas.

"The Kings of Cool" is basically a greatest hits summary of Winslow's writing career. The drugs trade in SoCal has been covered in his far better novel "The Power of the Dog"; the surfer elements in the book have been written about in "The Gentlemen's Hour" and "The Dawn Patrol"; there are cameos by both Frank Machianno (from "The Winter of Frankie Machine") and Bobby Z (from "The Death and Life of Bobby Z"); and the protagonists are from "Savages".

Nobody writes SoCal fiction better than Winslow - he's got the drugs scene from the latter half of the 20th century down cold and he's a surfer himself so he gets that culture - but doing it again in "The Kings of Cool" feels uninspired and pointless. Why go backwards? Why not write a sequel to "Savages" and go into territory he hasn't written about before - the drugs trade and the War on Drugs in 2012? It feels cowardly and lazy to fall back on material he knows about well because he's spent years writing that same material over and over again, only to rehash (pun intended) it again in a "new" novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same, not a bad thing. 4 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don Winslow's prequel to Savages is, essentially, more of the same. Not a bad thing - the very snappy prose, weird characters, fast-moving plot, are all welcome friends.
For me, it didn't add much to "Savages". I recognised all the characters, but I enjoyed it as a stand-alone story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost unreadable 3 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with much of what Noel says above, except that I give this book only one star. I have greatly enjoyed many of Don Winslow's books, especially "The Winter of Frankie Machine", but this one struck me as tired, predictable, unbelievable, and so boring that I can't remember a single detail to put in this review.

Oh, and I found the "poetry" layout both irritating and stupid.

Sorry, Mr Winslow, but I usually read one of your books in a couple of days. I struggled with this one for three weeks, and regretted every moment I had spent on it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong. 19 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don Winslow's writing is flailing with masculinity. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective, but the dialogue is impeccable, the humor will humor you, and the decades spanning non-linear story is terrific. Lighter than Power of the Dog. It is full of writerly indulgences though, and not in a good way. One section actually has the author clambering out of the fourth wall to say GOOGLE IT, to the reader. F*** off Don, do your job. Other than that though, this is a very good book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice 12 May 2014
By mimi
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very nice ! It is anInteresting prequel for "savages " to read and understand the full story of the three!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars So good it hurts 21 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Power of the Dog is considered by many to be Don Winslow's masterpiece, and whilst I've read it (and love it) I can't help feeling that Savages and The Kings of Cool are even better. Winslow has stripped back his language here (though any comparison with James Ellroy is not really valid as it's been done in such a different way), whilst at the same time enriching it.

It's such a fast, exciting read that you sometimes have to slow yourself up just to marvel at the skill on display. Some people may find his use of spacing on the page over the top, but personally I find it exhilarating, a superb way of adding rhythm to the already tight prose. Can't recommend enough.
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