Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Even working at a library, you can't always get the books you want when you want them. Take our library system. There are seventeen libraries in the system, ranging from some really large ones to some really small ones. But seventeen....you would think that most books that get reviewed places would end up being purchased by one or more of them.
I had read a review of Savages and it sounded like it was a fast-paced, oddly written book, much like the much-loved-by-me Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. I wanted to read it. Only one library in the system had it. Libraries in the system won't ship new books to the patrons of other libraries. You can either drive to the owning library, hope the book is on the shelf, and sign it out, or you can wait for the six month restricted period for new books to end and then request it be shipped.
I opted for the wait. And on the exact day it came off, I requested it.
Worth the wait. I knew the book was going to be different when I started the book. You know how you always hear the advice to writers that your first line should be powerful, drawing the reader into the book? Well, the first line of Savages is the first chapter of Savages. It reads, in it's entirety, "Fuck you".
So, yeah, that grabbed me. Especially since that was the whole chapter.
The book is about two young guys who are marijuana dealers in sunny California. Chon is a former Navy SEAL who brought back some high quality marijuana seeds when he was fighting overseas. His buddy Ben is a botanist who figures out how to create some nice blends with these seeds to create highly desired designer marijuana. The two share a girlfriend named Ophelia.
A Mexican drug cartel decides that they want to expand their operations into So-Cal and they go tell Ben and Chon that they are taking over their business. Naturally, the two are opposed to the idea. The cartel kidnaps Ophelia. A drug war begins.
This is another book with some really nicely developed characters with multiple points of views. Chapters (which are mostly really short and brisk) move from perspective to perspective.
But profanity, drug wars, seedy folks, violence. Not a big chance for a happy ending and no one really to root for (gee, I hope that Chon and Ben get Ophelia back so they can have another threesome and then sell some more weed! By the way, fuck you!). That keeps this from being a two star book for me. It's well-written, powerful, with a driving style that I liked. I'd put it more James Ellary than Toby Barlow in terms of style, which isn't bad. Well worth it if you don't mind amoral characters in your novels.