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.
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.
This along with Savages are great reads, entertaining and informative about the California culture over the past 3 decades.
This is an outstanding book that I couldn't "put down". Winslow has such a unique style that Graham does a great job capturing. If you liked Savages, you will love Kings of Cool. However, I don't recommend reading Kings before Savages.
I love books!
A first time author for me, he's a graduate of the U of Nebraska. This is the prequel to the book Savages which was made into a successful move. Set in SoCal (Southern California) part in the 70 & 80's, part in current day, it all deals with SoCal life, drugs, drug dealing and everything that goes with it. In reading the reviews, it seems those that haven't experienced SoCal don't like it but those that have think it's great. I've been going to San Diego and its beaches for 30 years and know a bunch of the places, in fact, for those in Mt Ayr, one scene was in the Newport Beach Yacht Club owned by Frank Ramsey. Written in a fast paced, hip SoCal kind of way, it moves fast. I enjoyed the book but am glad i wasn't raised in this environment, this way of life. I suppose in some of my fantasies from years gone past, it would've seemed exciting but nah, not really.
Holter Graham also narrated a great new book "No Easy Day". Hearing Holter's voice again after listening to this book, the Kings of Cool was a distraction. The Kings of Cool was just hard to listen to, and the numbered sentences ( into the hundreds ) sucked. Its like, here comes one sentence - or two, then the number is announced "148". Then two more sentences then "149", then another sentence, "150", and on and on... I guess there is movie speak for whats going on here, but it sucks to be on the receiving end. The book jumped all over the place. I'm a worker. I listen to books while doing other things. There are so many great books on Audible. Books like," No Easy Day" and "Steve Jobs". " I Heard You Paint Houses" (Unabridged)- and "Griftopia" a Matt Taibbi book, - "Legacy of Ashes" by Tim Weiner, and on and on, that you can stay with and not have to go back to get a point, well this book is not one of them. Hard to listen to, and a book that leaves you with a feeling of relief- That its over!!! No redeeming value in this book.
Love the characters.
None I think it is an original!!!!
I loved how the author jumped back and forth in time. It answered so many questions and you get to know the characters well.
The author tries way too hard to be "cool". Not a bad read once you get over his too cool language.
Favorite Character is Chon. He's a do-er more than a talker.
The performance was just OK. It didn't seem to fit with the too cool language.
I think the movie will be better than the book.
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.
The narration is fantastic, the writing style is a bit unconventional. At first it's difficult to follow until the reader understands it is non-linear and quickly jumps from scene to scene. It might initially be easier to follow in print, but the tone of narrator brings it to life.
The plot is as twisted as it gets and the dialog is hip and funny. Once the reader begins to understand the interconnection of past and present it becomes extremely compelling.
The opening scene had me hooked immediately. The three main characters are believable and likable although far from the norm.
Most of all I laughed. The use of acronyms as a form of unique communication between the three friends cracked me up. It challenged me to pay close attention to the dialog, because the author also uses acronyms with other characters throughout.
Don Winslow is a genius. His sense of place and characterization is a good as it gets. Holter Graham lends a particularly sardonic tone that illuminates Winslow's characters in a way that might be missed in print. This genre is new to me, but I'm hooked and cannot wait to begin "Savages."
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