Usually when you think of prequels you think of pale imitations of their previous sequels but Don Winslow breaks that connotation to pieces with a brilliant prequel to the beautifully savage Savages. Winslow’s writing is kinetic and the story utterly addictive. Like a prequel should be you totally forget events in Savages (because technically they haven’t happened yet) and the story sits perfectly well on its own. So perfectly in fact I’d recommend you read this book first then Savages.

As much as I loved Satori, Southern California and the War on Drugs is where Don Winslow is in his element. The Kings of Cool is about how Ben and Chon started their drug business but also it’s true origins back before they were even born. As Ben and Chon deal with current business issues we learn about the birth of the drug trade in Laguna Beach and how enough is never enough for everybody involved on both sides of the law, both sides of the border and over two generations. There’s also cameos from Bobby Z and Frankie Machine.

I’m seriously contemplating pick up Savages again and ripping through it, especially since the Oliver Stone film opens very soon. I’ve said this before but it bares repeating, Don Winslow should be huge. The Power of The Dog is the greatest crime book of the last 15 years, if not more and his power as a writer has not waned one iota. If you haven’t read him before start now, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Listen to my radio review here

One thought on “Don Winslow’s THE KINGS OF COOL

  1. I found this a typically entertaining addition to Winslow’s catalogue. It is an extremely interesting origin story for Ben, Chon and O but the fact that much of the story focuses on their parents and not them is unfortunate because the ‘threesome’ (poor, poor choice of words) are (not is) what made “Savages” so very awesome. This is a great book in and of itself, but I wanted to spend more time with the original ‘tripartheid’.


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