Author: Don Winslow
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Sarah Weinman listed it as her crime novel of the year.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: In Don Winslow's New York Times bestseller Savages two young marijuana dealers refuse to back down after they are blackmailed by a Mexican cartel.
Review: It is so hard to get the dialogue driven novel right, yet Don Winslow has nailed it perfectly with Savages. Two young pot dealers in Laguna beach, a humanitarian and an ex- Navy Seal, have been doing quite for themselves bringing in the money but are beginning to get bored. The Mexican drug business is fracturing and the cartels are looking for new markets in Southern California. So they send a delightful little video to our two heroes showing them the decapitation of the last competitors who didn’t want to work with them. The message is clear, we are your new boss.
But our guys do not want to deal and just tell them no, but you can have the business; we’re leaving. This is a sign of disrespect so the cartel takes their shared girlfriend hostage and gives them the choice of 20 million now, or three years of service.
What is ensues is an action packed story of revenge and back stabbing that brings the whole enterprise to its knees. Like a fine sports car, this novel gets into high gear right from the start and smoothly just speeds along all the way to end. The action never ends and yet the ride is so smooth the 300 plus pages just fly by. It literally only took a couple of hours to read without any feeling of being rushed.
If the pacing of the novel wasn’t enough, you can peel this book like an onion and get the biting wit that Winslow has used throughout. The analysis of their society is so spot on, but at the same time sparse, you will find yourself wanting to read the book again just to catch it all. Under that, a stylized world that you just want to admire like a work of art. Savages is the crime/drug novel at its best.
Author Biography: 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.
Don lives on an old ranch in the San Diego area with his wife, Jean, and son, Thomas.
FYI: Oliver Stone is supposedly adapting it for the big screen