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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To weed or not to weed
A young philanthropist called Ben who got his fortune from growing and selling a rare type of marijuana with his less philanthropic, more aggressive partner called Chon, decides to leave the drug game behind and pursue a life of peace and goodwill. Unfortunately getting out is not going to be straightforward. And when their friend/mutual girlfriend Ophelia is kidnapped by...
Published on 14 Dec. 2010 by Sam Quixote

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like Averages....haven't we read/seen all this before only better?
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...
Published on 7 Aug. 2012 by LMM


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To weed or not to weed, 14 Dec. 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
A young philanthropist called Ben who got his fortune from growing and selling a rare type of marijuana with his less philanthropic, more aggressive partner called Chon, decides to leave the drug game behind and pursue a life of peace and goodwill. Unfortunately getting out is not going to be straightforward. And when their friend/mutual girlfriend Ophelia is kidnapped by a Mexican Cartel, they have to come up with $20 million to free their friend. Luckily the Cartel has a lot of cash - let the guerrilla raids on the Cartel's money begin!

The fast moving story shoots from one character to the next in rapid focus. Chapters blur past as the action accelerates from the first page until the last. The tone is stylish, urbane, clever, and totally compelling. Any book that opens : "Chapter 1: F**k You. Chapter 2: ..." has my immediate attention. Luckily Winslow doesn't let "baditude" dictate the story and instead builds it masterfully until it's grisly conclusion.

Part of it's strong readability is perhaps (and I'm speculating here) because this novel started life as a script for either TV or film. It's 300 pages long which is the usual page count for Winslow but it's a short 300, as every page is double spaced with extra breaks for chapters which occur nearly every paragraph. There are also moments in the book where the presentation literally goes from novel to screenplay with stage directions and dialogue. Oliver Stone is thanked in the acknowledgments and it's no surprise to see Stone has bought the film rights to "Savages" and is in the process of turning it into a movie. Good on him!

A supremely fast paced, well written, interesting and funny novel from a devilishly talented writer with a strong sense of storytelling, "Savages" is a great read and great fun. Drug deals, gun fights, Skype-d executions, assassinations, threesomes, and a shootout in the desert - who could ask for more in a novel these days? Give it a go, I guarantee a fun time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freakin' Awesome!, 31 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
I love reading reviews on Amazon and yet rarely write one myself, but after reading this book I feel compelled to do so.

I am away travelling at the mo and got this book from a local library because it was in the "recommended reading" section. It is not a genre I would have picked myself, I am more a spy/murder mystery kind of gal.

Wow! I absolutely LOVED it and I will be checking out Don Winslow's other books FORTH WITH! This book is fast and furious - it's funny, witty, clever and thoughtful - I loved it and I really recommend it.

I won't go into the ins and outs of the story as it's in the Amazon synopsis other than to say that it's about the drug cartels in South America that are trying to take over a "home grown" pacifist college dude's eco-business. I reckon it's enough to know that the story is fast paced and the characters are strong. I went outside my normal genre by reading this so I wasn't really expecting to like it. I am now keen to read all this authors other works as, from the Amazon reviews, I am in for a real treat!

Gotta say I was surprised by the mixed bag of reviews and I can only think that his other books are mega, mega awesome and that reviewers are comparing this prose to that. I totally recommend this book and I hope that you like it as I have. Happy reading :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great trio, 8 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
"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 really Ben and Chon deal and solely profit from. Others want a cut of this market and Ben and Chon are just not having it. They have more than enough money and want to get out of the drug world and retire on sunnier sands. As always with a woman involved matters can get personal and you are taken to the knife-edge of showdowns. The boys need to have their killing skills at full capacity to keep what they love. The other big boy in the drug cartel is really one big girl Elena the last line of a drug mafia family who is just as brutal as any man. She also has something precious in the swing of matters a daughter Paqu.

Just discovered that this highly charged full throttle drama is to be released as a movie in 2012 directed by Oliver Stone and has a full cast of good actors with Pulp fiction team Travolta and Thurman acting the part of Dennis and Paqu. It will make one hell of a movie, I heard Oliver stone was writing the screenplay before the book was published. Another of Winslow's books that I hope to read soon that is to be adapted is Satori and will have Di Caprio starring in it.

The novel is written with the right pace and flows well, easy to read not a mind storm to get through, I cant fault it at all. There is, for those who would like to know, plenty of dark humour and explicit situations. You do get to learn a lot about cannabis in this novel. What that really makes it so good are the characters Don has created and the trio that will forever be a bond to remember. You will take away a lesson on savagery and savages from this story and oh yes how to make, Mucho Dinero.

"O knows that Chon is seriously twisted-no, she knows Chon is seriously twisted-but not like day-old-spaghetti-in-a-bowl twisted, like getting off on guys getting their heads lopped off, like that tv show about the British king, every cute chick he f**** ends up getting her head cut off."

"Ben is a self-described Baddhist, i.e., a `bad Buddhist,' because he sometimes eats meat, gets angry, rarely meditates, and definitely does consciousness-altering substances. But the basics of Buddhism, Ben is down with-
Do no harm.
Which Ben articulates as
Don't f*** with people.
And he doesn't think the Dalai Lama would argue with that."

"They became almost cult like figures.
There developed such a devoted following with such a religious loyalty that they even gave themselves a name.
The Church of the Lighter Day Saints."

"Elena knows that love makes you strong
And love makes you weak.
Love makes you vulnerable.
So if you have enemies
Take what they love."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like Averages....haven't we read/seen all this before only better?, 7 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
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 those too-cool-for-school kidsters everyday lexicon.

This was such a blatant suck up to prove how down he is, I kept picturing Winslow skulking at the back of the class going, "oh! Oh! Me! Me! I know! I KNOW! Pick me! Pick me!" Then getting all pissed off because he was overlooked AGAIN so he goes on to continue writing his, "I'll show them" novel where he proves he's SO tapped in, the kids who never gave him the time of day now wish they did.

The characters were 2-dimensional. The action short & boring. The storyline trite. I completely understand why Winslow kept having to remind the audience that the title of the book was called Savages because really...what was the point this was so tepid? There was nothing Savage about it. Redundant? Yes. Savage? More like Average.

In some ways I was amazed Stone chose this to reintroduce his proof of cultural zeitgeist (long gone are the days of Wall Street & Natural Born Killers especially thanks to Alexander & Wall Street Never Sleeps).

Like I said, not only does this book have a been there and done that feel....it's not even good. However, it's easy to understand that its glossed over snap, crackle and flop dialog was enough for Stone to have read it & re-imagined his glory days. See? Redundant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars below expectations, 26 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
I like Winslow's books.The winter of Frankie Machine was terrific and crying out for De Niro to play the part of Frankie in a film. The Gentleman's hour and Dawn Patrol were excellent and begging for another installment involving the same characters.
But Winslow is also uneven-California Fire and Life being a missed opportunity for another terrific story.
Savages is run-of-the-mill drug story.We have seen it all before, and there is nothing new.The main characters are particularly unsympathetic.Maybe he meant it to be so, in which case he has succeeded.Frankly,I didn't care what happened to them, and eventually they get what they deserve.Am not sure it is a good idea to write a book where the reader has no one to "root for", even if it is meant to be that way.So I read it with complete detachment, and the thought running through my head was that the main trio were complete morons. Not sure that the author intended for me to wish for the Mexican drug bosses to dispatch this trio as soon as possible, but that is what I found myself doing.
Let's hope his future efforts return to the form of Frankie Machine etc., as Winslow has great talent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don Gone Gonzo, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
Don Winslow is an exemplary author who has mostly stayed within the crime genre throughout his career, but has explored it fully. He has written classic feeling noir, contemporary sweeping epics and even written an excellent sequel to another author’s work. In would seem that when he puts his mind to it he can do anything, but can he go gonzo? Can he write something that is more out there and surreal? A book that explores the LA drug scene and the encroaching Mexican cartels? The answer is - this is Don Winslow, of course he can do it.

‘Savages’ is unlike any other work by the author and this can take a little getting used to. It is told from the perspective of various villains in the drug trade and bounces around from one to the other at a very fast rate. For the first 30 pages or so you are just spending the time trying to get to grips with how the book is written. In lesser hands this would have completely unbalanced the book, but if you persevere the style comes into its own as the book opens up.

There is a dark humour at the centre of ‘Savages’ that is reminiscent of the burnt tongue fiction of Chuck Palahniuk. Winslow has never shied away from violence in his work, if it is called for, but here he basically basks in crimson on occasion. The book gets down and dirty, but you are constantly aware that Winslow has researched as well as always. The relationships between the stoner heroes, drug cartels and DEA are broken, but feel very real.

It may seem a little odd for long term fans of the author to suddenly be reading the most hip and youthful book he has written after so many novels already out. However, this is an author continuing to develop and experiment. ‘Savages’ represents his fun novel and although it misses on more occasions than some of his work, this is always likely to happen when you have written something as brilliant as ‘The Power of the Dog’.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars original, 29 July 2013
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
Ben and Chon grow marijuana. Best marijuana in California. The total market is theirs, and the money flow like water (although Ben and Chon almost doesn't think about them). They had clashes with other drug gangs, but the conflicts were resolved quickly. Chon is a former SEAL mercenary, had participated in military operations in Afghanistan, and therefore knows how to get rid of enemies. Chong is the muscle, Ben is the brain. He is responsible for the financial side of things. Ben still obsessed with oriental scholars, engaged in charity work in third world countries, and tries to be a real Buddhist. They are both in love with the local Playgirl carefree Ophelia, whose friends call her just O. And O, in turn, is in love with Ben and Chon, not preferring one to another.

Friends enjoy life, smoke their own product, admire the beauty around. Until Chon receives an email from the Baja Cartel with the video of cut off heads. Chon and Ben risk of losing their own heads if they do not work for the cartel. And the cartel, and the head of the cartel Elena Lauter, has its own problems, so the cartel has to expand - from Mexico to California, fror hard drugs to distributing marijuana. Chon and Ben used to work for themselves and are not willing to work for someone. Friends understand that together they can not cope with an army of mercenaries. Ben wants out and to leave for for Asia, but Chon is ready to fight. During the first meeting with the cartel's representatives Ben and Chon tell the Mexicans to go away (see the first chapter), and Elena does not like it. But the savages have to fight with wild and cruel methods.

(Ben wants peace.
Chon knows
You can't make peace with savages.)

Corrupt DEA agent gives advice to friends: «You want my advice, boys? And girl? I'll miss you, I'll miss your money, but run.» Friends do not have time to leave, and the cartel kidnaps Ophelia, and Ben and Chon are in trouble up to their necks.

Winslow tells his story playfully, provocative, inserting in the text unusual abbreviations (for example, O calls her mother Paqu - Passive Aggressive Queen of the Universe), lists (hilarious) and politically incorrect jokes. If I write that Winslow wrote his novel in poem-prose, I will be laughed at and probably will hear "You exaggerate", but in this case it is not an exaggeration. Winslow writes poetry and prose by inserting fragments of free verse in his prose.

Antsy style helps the story to move with an exorbitant rate. Winslow throws the reader sentences like a stick to the dog - get it. And the reader is running, because he can not not to. (In this case you don't feel yourself like a dog, Winslow avoids cheap tricks.)

The story told in the book is very rooted in reality. The author with incredible authenticity describes how a large cartel works. Winslow knows what he writes about.

At the same time, the novel is over the top, everything there is exaggerated. Cool characters, cool story, cool violence, cool villains, and if Winslow stoped somewhere between fairy tale and reality, «Savages» would have been nothing more than a mediocre action thriller, with cardboard characters and over-embellished story. But Winslow is over the top in everything, and in this lays book's success.

Drug dealing for Ben and Chon is a hobby, but this hobby brings good money. They violate the law, but you sympatize them. The more fun it was to get to the end of the book, and see how it would end. Will the author punish the heroes who are essentially criminals too, but not as brutal as the Baja Cartel, or won't? (Personally, I was happy with the ending.) No less interesting in the novel a love triangle is. Relationship between two friends and a girl is not about the type that we see often in crime films or books. All three lovers do not envy each other. Ben doesn't want to have Ophelia alone, Chon doesn't as well. O also selects the two of them. It's a free love, and in that its manifestation is rarely come across in American literature (although the word "love" here does not mean platonic love, a threesome is there, all right).

Winslow wrote GONRI (Gripping Original Novel, Read It).

No
Jokes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not his best, 5 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
I believe i have read every book Don Winslow has published and loved all his works. i feel Savages fits into the middle rank of his writing, it does not have the power and scope of "The Power of the Dog" nor does it have the relaxed feel of something like "California Fire and Life" or "The Dawn Patrol". i wonder if making the younger protaganists the centre of the story (younger than the central protagnaists of his earlier works) reulted in Winslow haveing a less instinctive feel for thier emotions and thoughts.

However, Winslow is a great craftsman and he moves the narrative along strongly, maintining the viewpoints of each character beautifully and at good pace, i suspect something of a jaundiced view about the impact of drugs on modern society makes him somewhat less sympahetic to the whole drug culture than evidenced in some earlier work, it is nice to see a continuation and stronger restatement of some of the perceptions of "The Power of the Dog".

A good work but not his best, but, better than most of the modern works in this genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Savages, 5 April 2015
This review is from: Savages (Kindle Edition)
Savages by Don Winslow certainly seems to divide opinion. While plenty love it others seem far from impressed,particularly those expecting something along the lines of the truly outstanding ,"The Power Of The Dog".
I loved it,yes it verges strongly on the Tarantino/Easton Ellis and Palahnuiuk but was non worse for that. I'd guess the Palahnuik thing had also occurred to the publishers as my edition had,"The first rule of dope peddling is don't cross the cartels" on the cover, not quite the first rule of fight club but a nod in that direction.
While none of the characters invoke much sympathy they're well drawn and it's an entertaining read,the (very) basic plot being that a group of very successful drug dealers are leaned on by a powerful cartel and mayhem ensues. I haven't seen the movie but from reviews I've seen it would seem that this is very much Tarantino territory rather than Oliver Stone's,who actually made the thing.
There's plenty of violence but also some very funny parts and plenty of satirical comment. As I read it I did wonder if some of the American political satire might go way over the heads of many British readers,for example being the kind of boring bloke that has followed world politics for years I found the Gerald Ford joke funny,I'd guess a good few Brits haven't got a clue who he might be.
I've seen Winslow panned for this book,seen it called a feeble effort to "get down with the kids",cater blatantly for the Tarantino end of the market etc I don't think that's fair and he should be praised for trying something a little different,even if many don't think he pulled it off. I'm old enough that even if I had kids they'd be too old to be down with the kids and I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dancing dad "cool", 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
Some of Don Winslows books are great, power of the dog and frankie machine being among my fav books, but i'm sorry to say this is just trash and very disappointing...He writes this in what is supposed to be a "cool" fashion but it is just cringe worthy, the characters are dreadful and you end up hating everyone in the story and the text (again trying to be cool) is like something out of my 8year olds 'The clumsies goto the seaside'. My advice would be to read his other books but give this crap a wide berth!!
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Savages
Savages by Don Winslow (Paperback - 13 Sept. 2012)
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