Published to coincide with the release of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone's major film of Savages from Universal Pictures in July 2012 - starring John Travolta, Blake Lively, Benecio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, and Salma Hayek - this is the much-anticipated prequel to Don Winslow's acclaimed New York Times best seller.
In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twentysomething best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Among the most celebrated literary thrillers in recent memory, Savages was a Top 10 Book of 2010 selection by Janet Maslin in The New York Times and Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly as well as Sarah Weinman in the Los Angeles Times and publications around the world.
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 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.
©2012 Don Winslow (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
I'm a fan of Don Winslow's SoCal books and this story is not only a fantastic prequel to "Savages" (please produce an Audible version of this book with the incomparable Holter Graham as narrator) but a great source of context for the others. The "Kings of Cool" is fast-paced, extremely well-performed and hard to put down. I loved learning more about O, Ben and Chon. I think the book can stand on its own for those who haven't read "Savages" or listened to/read Mr. Winslow's other SoCal books but if you have the chance to read some of these books first, it might make your experience more enjoyable. As for me, I'm about to listen to "The Gentleman's Hour" again - and can hardly wait.
This prequel to Winslow's "Savages" provides a lot of context and answers many questions that come up in Savages. It's a complicated story, but ultimately worth the effort and I think there is plenty of material for Winslow to produce a third volume in this series.
The book is also interesting because it makes the case that the change from the a drug culture based on marijuana (mellow, working on a groovy thing, Woodstock’) to a drug culture based on cocaine (intensity, violence, and the potential to make big money, Altamont) is a metaphor for a larger change in American society.
I liked Michael Kramer’s performance in “Savages” better than Holter Graham’s performance in “Kings of Cool.” They are both really good, but Kramer brings an edge and attitude to his interpretation that better supports the text.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
I didn't like this prequel to Savages. I feel like I had a better understanding of the characters had I not listened to The Kings of Cool. The story was really complicated and there were a ton of characters that I never really got a handle on...in other words it sort of just went in one ear and out the other.
Started a little slow and I wasn't sure I was going to finish it. It jumped around a lot but it turned out to be an excellent listen. I will listen to it again latter on.
Yes but it jumped around a lot
Architectural Photographer based in Florida
Really enjoyed the fun story mostly because of Holter Grahams delivery. My objection was that the book read like a screen play with over 300 chapter markers including scene setups. Seems a bit lazy on Winslow's part as if he didn't want to do a rewrite for the movie.
I was pleasantly, thoroughly surprised to find this book was so much better than "Savages" to which this is prequel. While "Savages" was largely for a younger reader(Don Winslow's twisted, X rated version of Y.A. in my opinion) I'm only 37 but even I found it("Savages") the slightest bit immature. I say this as an absolute Don Winslow fanatic btw. "King's of Cool" was way cooler as it unfolded the ancestral back stories of "Savages" main characters. There were a couple spectacular cameos from other Winslow novels too which were great fun! I actually loved this book, it's what "Savages" should have been. If you haven't read "Savages", do so before you read this, just for the knowledge of things that will make this so much more fun to read. I also greatly recommend reading(/listening) to "The Winter of Frankie Machine" and "The Legend of Bobby Z" B4 you read "King's of Cool", it's not necessary but makes it SO MUCH cooler if you do. Just trust me. So if you loved OR didn't like "Savages", you'll LOVE LOVE "King's of Cool"!!!
loved the story - easy to follow even though it jumped back and forth between two decades. narrator was a little off with a few characters but not enough to ruin it by any means! I got used to it.
I have listened to most of Don W.'s work,and enjoy and like almost all. I think my experience is that the earlier books are not my favorites, and as the work progresses the more polished and (for me) perfect. I really like Kings. The characters ,sets,and story work well together. Looking forward to Savages
This along with Savages are great reads, entertaining and informative about the California culture over the past 3 decades.
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