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A breakthrough novel that pits young kingpins against a Mexican drug cartel, Savages is a provocative, sexy, and sharply funny thrill ride through the dark side of the war on drugs and beyond.

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 may have 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.

Following "the best summertime crime novel ever" (San Francisco Chronicle on The Dawn Patrol), bestselling author Winslow offers up a smash hit in the making. Savages is an ingenious combination of adrenaline-fueled suspense and true-crime reportage by a master thriller writer at the very top of his game.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400147663
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 07/13/2010
Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Don Winslow is the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Force, The Cartel, The Kings of Cool, Savages, The Gentlemen’s Hour, The Dawn Patrol, The Winter of Frankie Machine, The Power of the Dog, and The Border. He lives in Southern California. To learn more, follow Don on Twitter @DonWinslow or visit

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Savages is full of wild-card moves.... Its wisecracks are so sharp, its characters so mega-cool and its storytelling so ferocious...thanks especially to Mr. Winslow's no-prisoners sense of humor." —-Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Customer Reviews

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Savages 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
BandNgr More than 1 year ago
Written by T. Wenger Don Winslow's "Savages" opens in the living room of a Laguna Beach house, headquarters of Ben and Chon's marijuana operation. The partners grow the best hydro money can buy. Business is brisk - and so profitable that Mexico's Baja Cartel is demanding a piece of the action. Ben and Chon resist the cartel's pressure until their best friend and playmate, Ophelia, is abducted and becomes a pawn in the BC's vicious quest. Propelled by anger, they launch a violent, serpentine plan to keep the BC off balance and begin no-holes-barred negotiations for O's release. The author of more than a dozen novels, including Shamus-winner California Fire and Life, Winslow offers a raw, close-up view of an underground industry in which brutality and bloodshed are inherent, and loyalty to a cartel equals enslavement. With brilliance and humor, he tells the story from both sides of the border through the eyes and ears of each character, masterfully employing technology and current political, ethnic and social themes.
SavageBS More than 1 year ago
This violent state of mind, This violent state of mine! I can sum up your decision to read or not to read this novel in six words: YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOVEL! As a avid reader and collector of books, I know Don Winslow is near the top for crime fiction. I own a few of his other popular novels "The Power of the Dog", "Dawn Patrol", but I just haven't found the urge to read them yet. "Savages" beckoned to me from the new release rack last week when I saw it and I knew it was going to be special. From the outstanding first chapter, to the WOW ending, I was very, very impressed with this novel. It felt like Winslow was strutting as he wrote each chapter, knowing just how far he could push it and then taking it up one more notch. I think Don Winslow just put himself in the upper, upper echelon of crime writers with this novel. The writing is witty, the topics very current and interesting. The film rights to this novel have already been picked up by Oliver Stone and the book is gaining excellent praise every day by reviewers. Ben and Chon are two laid back Southern California boys that also just happen to run a very successful marijuana business. They've got everything they could ever want. Ben is the college educated brains of the operation and Chon is the Navy Seal trained muscle, the enforcer that has killed men and will kill more. Their female friend O (short for Ophelia) is possibly one of the best female characters I've come across in a crime novel in a long, long time. She is of course, a completely unrealistic everyman's fantasy, but she's so much fun to read about! A few quick O facts, her friends call her Multiple O for obvious reasons, she is a nympho, she has numerous tattoos and a slacker attitude to match. Ben and Chon's business is going great until the Mexican Baja Cartel wants a piece of the action, not a piece, all of the action. They want Ben and Chon to keep doing the work, while the Cartel reaps the benefits. Bad decisions are made, lines are crossed and pretty soon, Ben and Chon have much, much more then they every bargained for. O is kidnapped by the Cartel. The MBC wants two million dollars or three years servitude from Ben & Chon for O's release. Throw in a crazed Mexican hitman named Lado, think "No Country for Old Men" type crazy and dangerous, covert ops, IED's, a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle, sex, drugs and you've just begun to stratch the surface of "Savages"! Any reader will tell you how most books end, the good guys win or the bad guys win / get away. Alot of authors continue to follow that same path, even though its been done over and over. Don Winslow steps it up a notch and takes it in a whole new direction with his ending! "Savages" is a literary bloodbath! READ THIS NOVEL! Enjoy~
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
This book os like crack. Impossible to put down twisted and hilarious.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In affluent Laguna Beach, California, Ben and Chon manage a profitable marijuana business. However, the Baja Cartel wants to expand into the Laguna Beach theater of operations and two punk Americans will not prevent them. Ben agrees with the Mexicans' assessment as he wants no trouble. However, former SEAL Chon, as Ophelia describes, has a "baditude" who does not mind a fight though he would also prefer a peaceful solution. The partners reject the foreign demands, but ignore the cartel until the Baja banditos go too far when they snatch O. They plan to take the war to the cartel as late night second half buffs Letterman and Leno in order to rescue O. Don Winslow savages the American war on drugs (and immigration) with this wild bloody thriller. In between the flowing of red and profanity, celebrities and politicians are lampooned as capitalism at its oligopoly best. Mr. Winslow makes a case for more of the trade insanity of Second Amendment selling of weapons to the Mexican Cartels who sell drugs to the Americans and buy more weapons. Don't read on a full stomach, Savages takes no prisoners. Harriet Klausner
Muffm More than 1 year ago
I caught on to Don Winslow's writing brilliance 7 novels ago. His writing, his characters and his style are pure genius. Savages is Don Winslow at his best. Adding Savages, or any Winslow novel going forward, to your reading list is in any readers best interest. My only regret is that he doesn't write as liberally as James Patterson, you know, one book a month.
chucklake More than 1 year ago
Don Winslow has reinvented himself yet again. I see the old Don in there yet he's developed an even sharper edge, one that cuts deep and splatters blood midst wafts of cannabis. The pace is outrages, yet so is the story, one that is true to these times. Living high in the drug business has an ultimate cost that may not be worth it. Read it. Winslow's seeded the novel with lots of philosphy and no-nonsense descriptions of Life in These United States, California Deparment.
slimy07 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! Ben, Chon, & O hang out and live a pretty carefree live in SoCal. Ben and Chon grow weed - Ben is the brains of the outfit and Chon is the muscle. O just hangs out and smokes weed with the boys.All their lives change; however, when the Baja Cartel moves in and tells them that they now work for the Cartel. Unfortunately for them, Ben and Chon refuse which leads to the Cartel kidnapping O to make them comply in order to their friend back alive. Chon, though, is not the type of guy you want to mess with!I really did enjoy this book - like others have said, it is pretty violent, twisted, and is graphic as well. Winslow's writing style is different and the book is quirky with a very deep, black sense of humor.
ktp50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good. Small pot growing operations meets the Baja Cartel.
norinrad10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is so much to like about this book and so much that could have been left out. I have a theory that sometimes really good writers just get bored. So they write a book mainly to amuse themselves. Sometimes, based on their level of talent, they get away with it. Winslow is that good. This book mines his familiar territory of drugs, cartels, and outcasts in Southern California and nobody writes with more authenticity. However, this one has some sexually graphic scenes that just aren't really pertinent. He also tries to take some of his usual witty banter and make it just a bit to clever. But again, because he's that good, in the end it all comes together in a pretty good read.
maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Described by several reviewers as his "break-out" book, this after a number of successful novels. This is about drugs, Mexico, California, power, cool, violence, language, and a dozen other things. On a higher level it deals with meaning of life etc etc etc. It has a rather unusual prose style, and it took me 60 or so pages to get comfortable with it, and once I did I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's very witty, I think I got most of the jokes and clever asides, but what I didn't get is the Ending. I understood what happened, but WHY??? I can come up with several plausible explanations, but none make sense to me in my world. One last note, I think this book would not be anywhere near as credible, nor as popular, if not for all the incredible news coming out of Mexico and the drug wars.
EBT1002 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun read, kept me turning from one short chapter to another. No intellectual challenge but good for the evenings of a stressful work week.
johnbsheridan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not his best work despite what the critics say but still eventful and action packed as Ben & Chon - think Ben & Jerry but with marijuana instead of ice-cream are chalk & cheese. Ben is the botanist who in between cultivatings marijuana spends his money and time in charity projects in developing countries while his partner Chon is an ex-SEAL and handles whatever may happen that requires a more direct physical response. Their problem is the Mexican drug cartels want to take over and won't take no for an answer but they will take O (for Ophelia) who is in a relationship of sorts with both of them. They have to work for the drug cartel until they can find a way to raise a ransom of $20 million. But if you're dealing drugs, there's lots of money around - it just not might be yours, at least not yet and things can get very bloody very fast when you're dealing with savages. Very enjoyable.
pharrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two young guys - one specializes in biochemistry and growing exceptional weed; another is ex-special forces. Add a gal who loves them both but has no life. Mix in the greed of a Mexican cartel and you have "savages". The language is clipped and sometimes looks like a text but fits the book.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Chon is an ex-mercenary. He and his partner, Ben, have a marajuana operationin Laguna Beach that is very profitable.The partners are informed that the Mexican Baja Cartel intends to control the marajuana activity in Southern California. They want Chon and Ben to stay in business but to sell their product to them so they can make most of the profit.When the representatives of the cartel make their offer to the partners, they are turned down. The cartel's leader tells them that they don't have a choice. Their business wouldn't be as lucerative without them running it. Then, as a show of force, they kidnap Ophelia, "O" who is the partner's friend and playmate. The cartel demands a ransome and three years of required cooperation to get her back.This sets Ben and Chon on a plan to disrupt the cartel's activities and hope for an opprotunity to rescue Ophelia.The story is a quick read. Chon and Ben are intriguing characters, rebels against authority and witty in their responses with Chon being the rambunctious one and Ben the voice of reason.A film adaptation of "Savages" to be directed by Oliver Stone is under way.
alexann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
O and her two boyfriends, Ben and Chon, live the good life in Laguna Beach. None of them is particularly concerned that this is made possible by the extremely profitable marijuana business the boys run. Actually, Chon runs in. After Ben worked with the plants and came up with a particularly potent strain, he was content to spend his time in third-world countries doing good with his dope earnings. Things are going just fine until the Baja Cartel decides it wants to horn in on the Southern California drug market. It begins to get nasty real fast, and the threesome find they've maybe bitten off more than they can chew.Winslow's writing style for this story is terrific--short, short chapters filled with staccato sentences. The reader fairly flies through it. Hectic, break-neck speed--you just can't turn the pages fast enough! It's pretty rough--language, sex, and violence, and surely not all readers will enjoy it.When it was over, though, I was left feeling empty inside. Where was the payoff? I read this, why??
mbg0312 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick read, better than your average thriller, although not quite what I hoped for given stellar reviews from critics I liked.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
I love Don Winslow and really liked the prequel ‘Kings of Cool’, but for me ‘Savages’ just didn’t deliver. I felt as a stand alone book it didn’t give enough background on how they go to where they were, and there wasn’t much character development or suspenseful moments (in the first 60% or so of the book). As always the writing is good, but overall it was a bit disappointing from what I’m used to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me two tries to really get into the book, but I was just being picky and impatient. This book is a total easy going read that is also a page turner. Not just another cartel book.
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Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
Savages is a triumph of voice and attitude, an all-out assault on everything. Like Aniruddha Bahal's Bunker 13, it's a box full of crazy set in a world where everyone is bent or debauched or sociopathic or some combination of the above. Unapologetically explicit in every way you can imagine (drugs, sex, violence, language, attitude, you name it), it's a book that will either drag you along chained to its rear bumper or will so repel you that you'll flee to something at the more cozy end of crime fiction, such as James Ellroy. Don't expect to find a hero or heroine in this book; there's nobody in here you'd want to hang out with in the real world, but like reality TV, it's fun to watch the train wreck in progress. Also, Winslow doesn't confine himself to linear prose. Some of the bite-sized chapters are free verse, excerpts from screenplays, stoned riffs on whatever, quotes from email and so on. This can work really well or grate like chalk screeching on a chalkboard depending on your tastes and the situation, but it's always interesting. If Laguna Heat was your last exposure to California's Laguna Beach, well, this is the same territory but not the same place. Winslow clearly doesn't have the same warm feelings for Southern California as does Jeff Parker. Shorn of its postmodern trappings, the plot is pretty straight-ahead; there's no mystery to be solved and the ultimate end of the joyride becomes fairly clear about 3/4 of the way through. Nobody gets reformed, lots of people die (that's not a spoiler), hardly anyone learns anything, and since most of the characters start corrupt, there's little room for the corruption of innocence. Savages is a story about crime and death. But boy, what a ride.
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