The Kings of Cool: A Prequel to Savagesby Don Winslow
In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twenty-something best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Among the most celebrated thrillers in recent memory—and now a major motion picture directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Oliver Stone—Savages was picked as a best book of the year by/b>/b>/b>… See more details below
In Savages, Don Winslow introduced Ben and Chon, twenty-something best friends who risk everything to save the girl they both love, O. Among the most celebrated thrillers in recent memory—and now a major motion picture directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Oliver Stone—Savages was picked as a best book of the year by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly, Janet Maslin in The New York Times, and Sarah Weinman in the Los Angeles Times.
Now, in this high-octane prequel, Winslow reaches back in time to tell the story of how Ben, Chon, and O became the people they are. Spanning from 1960s Southern California to the recent past, The Kings of Cool is a breathtakingly original saga of family in all its forms—fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and lovers. As the trio at the center of the book does battle with a cabal of drug dealers and crooked cops, they come to learn that their future is inextricably linked with their parents’ history. A series of breakneck twists and turns puts the two generations on a collision course, culminating in a stunning showdown that will force Ben, Chon, and O to choose between their real families and their loyalty to one another.
Fast-paced, provocative, and wickedly funny, The Kings of Cool is a spellbinding love story for our times from a master novelist at the height of his powers. It is filled with Winslow’s trademark talents—complex characters, sharp dialogue, blistering social commentary—that have earned him an obsessive following. The result is a book that will echo in your mind and heart long after you’ve turned the last page.
“Mr. Winslow’s keen attention to drug culture isn’t going to keep readers away from him. He’s too damn good to be polarizing. His characters are smart about their self-interest. His dialogue is tight, laconic and razor sharp; if Elmore Leonard or Lee Child discovered surfing, they might sound something like this.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Don Winslow's crackerjack Laguna Beach thriller The Kings of Cool . . . gives background and back story to Mr. Winslow's novel Savages, published in 2010 and just made into a film by Oliver Stone. . . . It's a treat to trace the crossings of this trio's paths with those of other characters over the years. . . . One way or another, they scheme and tough their way through this often gruesome, sometimes witty saga and into the future fates already devised for them.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
“Blistering . . . Winslow serves up nonstop action, tempering the tension with his trademark razor-sharp wit. . . . This cool, clever entry is sure to be a royally popular summer read.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Blazing . . . Studded with the same sharp, lean dialogue and quick-witted calculation [as Savages].” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“This adrenaline-fused collision of generations . . . is another Winslow roller-coaster thriller.” —Library Journal (starred review)
- Simon & Schuster
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
Don Winslow is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. He lives in Southern California.
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Read an Excerpt
Laguna Beach, California
Is what O is thinking as she sits between Chon and Ben on a bench at Main Beach and picks out potential mates for them.
“That one?” she asks, pointing at a classic BB (Basically Baywatch) strolling down the boardwalk.
Chon shakes his head.
A little dismissively, O thinks. Chon is pretty choosy for a guy who spends most of his time in Afghanistan or Iraq and doesn’t see much in the way of anything outside cammies or a burqa.
Actually, she can see how the burqa thing could be pretty hot if you played it off right.
Did, you know, the harem thing.
The burqa ain’t gonna work for O. You don’t want to hide that blonde hair, you don’t want those bright eyes peeking out from behind a niqab.
O was made for sunshine.
Chon, he ain’t small but he’s thin. O thinks he looks even thinner than usual. He’s always been cut, but now it looks like he’s been carved with a scalpel. And she likes the short, almost shaved, hair.
“That one?” she asks, jutting her chin at a tourist-type brunette with really big tits and a retroussé nose.
Chon shakes his head.
Ben remains silent, sphinx-like, which is a role reversal, because Ben is usually the more verbal of the two. This isn’t a high bar to jump, as Chon doesn’t talk a lot, except when he goes off on a rant; then it’s like you pulled the plug from a fire hose.
While Ben is the more verbal, O considers now, he’s also the less promiscuous.
Ben is more Consecutive Monogamy while Chon is more Women Are To Be Served Concurrently. Although O knows for a fact that both of them—albeit Chon more than Ben—take full advantage of the Tourist Chicks who watch them play volleyball here at the beach, just a few convenient paces from the Hotel Laguna—encounters she refers to as FRSO.
“That pretty much sums it up,” Chon has admitted.
Although at times he skips the room service.
Never the shower.
Basic rule of survival in the Greater Cross V Crescent Sandbox Tournament:
If there’s a shower, take it.
He can’t shake off the habit at home.
Anyway, Chon admits to doing matinees at the Hotel Laguna, the Ritz, the St. Regis, and the Montage with not only tourist women but also Orange County Trophy Wives and divorcées—the difference between the two being strictly temporary.
That’s the thing about Chon—he’s totally honest. No pretensions, no evasions, no apologies. O can’t decide if that’s because he’s so ethical or because he just doesn’t give a fuck.
Now he turns to her and says, “You have one strike left. Choose carefully.”
It’s a game they play—ODB—Offline Dating Baseball. Predicting each other’s sexual preferences and hitting for a single, a double, a triple, or a Home Run. It’s a really good game when you’re high, which they are now, on some of Ben and Chon’s supremo weed.
(Which is not weed at all, but a top-of-the-line hydro blend they call Saturday In The Park because if you take a hit of this stuff any day is Saturday and any place is the park.)
O is usually the Sammy Sosa of ODB, but now, with runners on first and third, she’s striking out.
“Well?” Chon asks her.
“I’m waiting for a good pitch,” she says, scanning the beach.
Chon’s been in Iraq, he’s been in Afghanistan . . .
. . . Go exotic.
She points to a beautiful South Asian girl with shimmering black hair setting off her white beach dress.
“Strikeout,” Chon answers. “Not my type.”
“What is your type?” O asks, frustrated.
“Tan,” Chon answers, “thin—sweet face—big brown eyes, long lashes.”
O turns to Ben.
“Ben, Chon wants to fuck Bambi.”
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