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Publisher's Summary

Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run an independent Laguna Beach–based marijuana operation, reaping significant profits from an established clientele. But they may have come up against something that they can't handle---the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, and saying no is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel kidnaps Ophelia, the boys' playmate and confidante. O's abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists that will captivate listeners eager to learn the costs of freedom and the price of an amazing high.
©2010 Samburu, Inc. (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A spellbinding, tour de force that is utterly impossible to put down. Savages is, bar none, the finest novel I have read in years." (Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Jennifer
  • Sicklerville, NJ, United States
  • 01-10-13

Hard-Core ... Not For Everyone But Really Good!

First things first, this is not a book for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. I listened to it on audio when I was walking my dogs and there were times when I felt myself blushing from what I was listening to … ON MY HEADPHONES! I kept thinking “If people only knew what I was listening to now, they’d be shocked.” This is some hard-core, graphic writing … and hearing it read out loud makes it seem even more so. (By the way, Michael Kramer has the perfect voice for the material … with a kind of WTF/seen it all, done it all attitude.) The basic story deals with a love triangle between two pot dealers and their girl and what happens when they run awry of a Mexican drug cartel and the girl gets kidnapped. The writing—despite its bluntness and graphic descriptions—was good and often very funny. But this is by no means a “feel good” book. And if people in SoCal are really like the characters in this book, then I’m staying the hell away.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Theodore
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 08-21-10

I loved it

I see most people found this book a bit trite, but living in San Diego, I felt a connection to this story. I know these people. The story took place in places I see every day. I particularly liked the narration too. He took some liberties, where other narrations tend to be pretty dry. However, the narrator betrayed himself by screwing up some of the spanish names that a real californian would never screw up, ie: Cajone is not pronounced with a j sound. There were several of these. If you are from the east coast, I can see why you wouldnt connect to this book. When I hear narrative about mexican drug gangs operating in the neighborhoods where I live, it does become more exciting. I immediately went out to read his other stories set in San Diego, Frankie Machine and Dawn Patrol, and liked those books too.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 02-25-13

I'm glad I don't lead this life

Drugs, Southern California, a Mexican drug cartel and 3 friends are the core of this story. It was made into a movie last year directed by Oliver Stone. When I first thought about getting this book I noticed a prequel "The Kings of Cool" had come out after this one but decided to start with the other. This one completes the story. The author, Don Winslow, has a very interesting writing style and kept your interest. I have a feeling a lot of the gruesome stuff in this book happens in real life if you believe the drug cartel stores you hear about in the news. I do know I would hate to get caught up in this lifestyle, your life isn't worth a plug nickel if you do. I will say both books were entertaining.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A crazy ride!

I thoroughly enjoyed this wacky, violent story about drug dealers. The characters are not people I would ever call likeable, but I was sucked in to their unique world and actually found myself pulling for these guys.

An ex-soldier/mercenary-type of guy teams up with an over privileged humanitarian-type of guy to produce top quality marijuana bred from seeds brought back from Afghanistan. When they find themselves being taken over by the Baja Cartel, Ben and Chon attempt to find a way out. But then “O,” the woman in their life, gets kidnapped and things really start to get crazy.

The Highly stylized narrative worked for me too. One word chapters could be viewed as tacky and a sign of a bad writer trying too hard but there is substance to Mr. Winslow’s style. It works. The narrator also succeeds in portraying the smug, hipster attitude required of the story. The fast pace and quirky stops and pauses are done perfectly.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • Jupiter, FL, United States
  • 08-12-10

Some people just don't know when to make a jump.

You have to stay with this story as it develops. At first, I was put off by the life style and characters of the southern California setting. But the story develops and the players take shape. You gotta love an ending like this one.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Clayton
  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL, United States
  • 10-20-10

amazing writing

this book is an ode to style. Not to say that substance is lacking although the characters are not particularly credible. But oh the style. In the same vein perhaps as James Ellroy and almost in the same league. That's high praise...

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 01-05-11

Difficult Start But Then Loads of Fun

I love most Don Winslow's novels. I tried this one and put it down because I couldn't get into it at first. The reason is the author was trying to be "hip" with his use of language and writing style. For example he has many short chapters with some having only one word in them.

A year after ordering it I tried it again and this time hung in there till the words and story grew on me. Eventually I was hooked and had another great ride on one of Mr. Winslow's fun thrillers with lovable characters.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Way Too Graphic for this Old Guy

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No I would not recomend this book to anyone. The graphic sex is way beyond my comfort level. I would not want my friends to know I listened to this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Savages?

Nothing that I remember more than the very crude dialect.

What three words best describe Michael Kramer’s voice?

Not Winslow's best choice.

Was Savages worth the listening time?


Any additional comments?

I like to be fair about cretiques of someones work, but I guess I just too old to enjoy language that insults me and my values.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful

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J says 3.5

Really enjoyed the characters. They were well developed. Very easy to listen to. The story was a crazy, wild ride and will keep your attention. The narrator really pulled you in and made the story good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


good stuff in a pulp fiction kind of way. reminds me of elmore leonard but a little lighter.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful