Review: Savages

This review was originally posted on Buried Under Books.

Don Winslow
Simon & Schuster, July 2010
ARC from Creatures ‘n Crooks.

Every great company has an origin story, and here is Ben and Chonny’s:

They’re hanging out at the beach, Chon on extended leave between his two hitches, and they’re playing volleyball on the court next to the Hotel Laguna.

Ben and Chon are the kings of the court, and why not? Two tall, lanky, athletic guys who make a great team. Ben is the setter who thinks of the game as chess, Chon is the spiker who goes for the kill. They win a lot more often than they lose, they have a good time, and tanned chicks in bikins and suntan oil stop and watch them do it.

It’s a good life.

Savages consists of 290 chapters in just over 300 pages. The writing is staccato, aggressive, punchy, with abbreviated sentences that frequently fall into

staggered breaks

like this;

the occasional scene rendered in screenplay format as though the POV character were imagining it as a movie; the liberal use of em-dashes, acronyms and a weirdly compelling southern California version of Cockney rhyming slang; and more pop-culture references and brand-name dropping than you can swing a dead cat at.

The story is thus: Ben and Chon run a very lucrative marijuana growing and distribution business. Continue reading