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Savages: A Novel Paperback – March 15, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Spare, clipped expository prose and hip, spot-on dialogue propel this visceral crime novel from Winslow (The Dawn Patrol). The future is looking good for Laguna Beach, Calif., marijuana growers Ben and Chon, until they receive an ominous e-mail from the Baja Cartel. Attached is a photograph showing the decapitated bodies of other independent drug dealers. The message is clear: sell your product through us or else. Ben and Chon try to resist, but matters escalate after cartel thugs abduct Ophelia, the guys' beautiful young playmate and accomplice, and hold her for a cool million ransom. Meanwhile, Elena "La Reina" Sanchez Lauter, the leader of the Baja Cartel, must deal with rival drug gangs and potential overthrow from within. Ben and Chon propose a trade that Elena can't refuse, setting the stage for the violent and utterly satisfying ending. Winslow's encyclopedic knowledge of the border drug trade lends authenticity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Ben and Chon are two Americans running a lucrative marijuana operation out of ritzy Laguna Beach, California. Their business is buzzing along nicely until members of the Mexican Baja Cartel decide they want a piece of the action. Ben, a charitable, environmentally conscious Berkeley grad, doesn’t want any trouble. Former Navy Seal Chon prefers peace as well but not if it means giving up primo weed. When Ben and Chon resist the Mexicans’ demands, the cartel kidnaps “O” (short for Ophelia), the boys’ close confidante and frequent bedroom playmate. Ben and Chon conjure clever schemes to outwit their adversaries and win back O, using everything from improvised explosive devices to Letterman and Leno masks. Edgar nominee and Shamus winner Winslow, who first evoked the violent world of the Mexican drug cartels in the best-selling narco-thriller Power of the Dog (2005), dispenses short chapters that drive his plot breathlessly forward. He also serves up plenty of savage wit. After Ben dons a Gerald Ford disguise for one of the pair’s heists, he smacks his head against the car door, quipping, “I’m a method hijacker.” Riddled with bullets and splattered with blood, Savages is not for the squeamish, but it’s a must for Winslow fans. --Allison Block --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Centered on two Southern California pot dealers, Ben and Chon, (and their mutual love interest O) who find their territory under assault from a Mexican drug cartel, "Savages" captures the current role that Mexican drug cartels are having in their own country and across the border in the US. While Chon, a former US military solider in Iraq, is the more outwardly aggressive, take no prisoners character, we see the "Savage" in the mild-mannered Ben when circumstances turn and threaten what he most cares about. Winslow deftly does what all drug crime movies or books do. He doesn't glorify the reality of drugs and problems that it creates since they all ultimately lead down the same path and to the same ending. The most compelling character, even though "Savages" was not built on deep character development, was Elena Lauter, female head of the Baja cartel. She reminded me of Omar from the HBO show, "Wire" -- ruthless, thug but somehow you find yourself rooting for them at certain points.
Some readers didn't like the ending, thinking it was predictable. I thought the last couple of paragraphs reinforced Winslow's eye on Hollywood, but the final scenes were built up with the right drama and conclusion to make the "Savages" worth the time investment.
the title says it all... Savages... I can't relate to these people but the fast pace action, irreverent tone, particular characters in their own right makes this book a page turner... I like the short chapters that make you turn the page and be worried about what comes next...
Winslow did make one mistake, though. In my opinion, it wasn't a good idea for O to become friends with her captors and convince them to give her internet and food she likes. It may be the sort of thing that might happen in real life, but it caused all the conflict to drain away. Because the main source of conflict is the fact that O is in danger and that she's frightened and her guys want to do everything in their power to get her out, but while they're hustling and trying to get money, she's eating pizza with Esteban and watching The Bachelorette. In these circumstances, could she not, in fact, endure the whole three years of her captivity with the Baja Cartel? Do Ben and Chon really need to bust their butts to free her? For just a moment in the middle of it, I felt like I could take or leave the whole book. But then the action escalates and real danger returns and the story is exciting again. And then everyone is in danger, and the story ends in a way that I didn't expect, but that didn't necessarily surprise me when I thought about it later.
So it was awesome to get to know these characters who are so different from myself, and to watch Winslow bend or break so many literary rules in such interesting ways. I would recommend it to people who enjoy action thrillers, who are literature geeks, and who are not offended by graphic sex, violence, and drug use.
Most recent customer reviews
There was nothing not to like. I read this because of my recent devouring of The Force. Which was superb.