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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.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I actually preferred Winslow's 'Kings of Cool' to Savages. Both are slick and sexy Southern California crime novels, but KoC (the prequel to Savages) is structurally a more complicated novel. The backstory on the genesis of the Savages/Kings of Cool was interesting and allowed Winslow to explore the rise and changes in Southern California drug culture. And, I know. I know. Steven King LOVED Savages. What's my problem then? It might just be me. I just found both Savages and Kings of Cool to be a little too slick and superficial. It was MTV it wasn't jazz. It hit all the notes and technically hit them well, but I just wasn't changed or altered by the books.
Again, this goes back to judging these books using the knowledge that Winslow CAN write 'The Cartel' and 'The Power of the Dog'. These seem like the product of a skilled crime writer who knows exactly what he's doing, but is mailing it in. Or, perhaps, not mailing it in, but softening the edges and polishing it to a point it is shell with no heart. It seems like a well-designed Apple product. Slick, pretty, sexy even, but... some grit or friction is missing. But again, I find myself over criticizing it because I KNOW the powerful writing Winslow CAN produce. Perhaps, it is my problem and it is an expectation problem. As cotton candy, this stuff is great. As a book that can easily transfer to celluloid, this book is perfect. Hell, Oliver Stone MADE Savages into a movie and the movie made money.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful