One of the best kept secrets in America today is author, Don Winslow. Like the writer, Joe R. Lansdale, it seems that only a fraction of the readers in this country know about Don. That's about to change. The next twelve months will bring Don Winslow to the forefront for fiction readers to see with the publication of Savages and then Satori in March of 2011. Savages is already in the process of being turned into a movie by Oliver Stone with a screenplay by Winslow, and Satori will be the sequel, or prequel, to the famous espionage thriller, Shibumi, which was written by the late, great Trevanian back during the early eighties. I managed to nag an advance copy of both books, and I can tell you that as a forty-year fan of Trevanian, Don Winslow has captured the author's style of writing perfectly in just the first ten pages. Let me also mention that Winslow is the author of the "Neal Carey" detective series, Isle of Joy, The Life & Times of Bobby Z (which was turned into a movie), The Power of the Dog, The Winter of Frankie Machine (Robert De Niro is making that into a film), California Fire and Ice, and The Dawn Patrol. All of the novels have proven to be excellent in scope and writing style (Winslow changes writing styles with almost every book--he's like a chameleon) and storyline, not mention character development. This author is a master of the written word much like Nicholai Hel in Satori is the master of death.
Now, what about Savages?
This is the story of two Laguna Beach bums who know how to make and distribute the best home-grown marijuana in the country. These guys have it made and are sitting on top of the world, until the Mexican Baja Drug Cartel decides it wants to take over their business. That's when everything hits the fan, figuratively speaking. The two beach bums aren't your ordinary pair of bums. Ben is the son of two shrinks and also holds two majors-one in marketing and one in botany--from the University of California in Berkeley, while Chon is the son of an old marijuana dealer and is a former Navy SEAL. These guys are pretty cool, until you get them riled up, and the drug cartel does just that when it kidnaps their love interest and very close friend, Ophelia (aka O), and threaten to cut off her head if the guys don't compile with their demands. Of course, that's when Chon goes into action. Even Ben, who has been spending his money on charities and philanthropy projects, is going to have to get bloody in this operation because the Baja Drug Cartel is no mom-and-pop's store. This organization is as serious as a heart attack and won't hesitate to put down Ben and Chon, rather than risk the lost of respect from the competing drug dealers. In fact, they have a killer named Lado, who gets off on removing the heads of their competition with a chain saw. Can Ben and Chon take on a drug cartel as vast as this one? You're going to have to read the book to find out.
What truly amazes me as both a reader and an author is how easily Don Winslow changes his writing style to accommodate the novel. Pretty much every author has their own unique way of telling a story that carries over from book to book. Don Winslow doesn't. His novel, Isle of Joy, is written in a style that's completely different from The Power of the Dog and The Winter of Frankie Machine. The Dawn Patrol is different from the three previous books, and Savages is totally different from anything he's written before. I can also say the same thing for Satori. How this author manages such an incredible feat is beyond me. He's certainly not afraid to take chances. The only constants in all of Winslow's novels is the high caliber of storytelling, the fully developed characters (even the minor ones), the large number of plot twists that keep you trying to guess where the story is headed, and the surprise ending that often leave you breathless.
His newest novel, Savages, is just such a book. It clearly offers the reader high-octane entertainment that travels at the speed of a Magnum bullet, knocking you right off your feet with the unexpected. Winslow's books are as addictive as meth is to a junkie. If you don't believe me, get yourself a copy of The Power of the Dog, or California Fire and Life, or The Winter of Frankie Machine. It won't be long till you're trying to find everything he's written. I can promise that once Satori comes out in March of 2011, this author is going to be on everybody's bestseller list and his earlier novels are going to be nearly impossible to find, unless you're willing to pay an arm and a leg for them. Pick up Savages and see for yourself how great this writer is, and then remember that I told you so!