10 Quintessential Books That Reflect the Awesomeness of Orange County

Savages by Don Winslow (2010)

Winslow’s dark, bitingly funny best-seller about successful pot dealers threatened by the Mexican Baja cartel makes hay with Laguna Beach’s reputation as a haven for moneyed free spirits and O.C.’s as a wellspring of entrepreneurs.

Blank bookcover with clipping pathHis Laguna is a hedonists’ nirvana where every day is a constant flow of peak experiences. Winslow, who co-wrote the screenplay to Oliver Stone’s 2012 adaptation, soaked up the local color when he lived in Laguna Beach and Dana Point. “From Newport Beach down to the Mexican border to me is just a fascinating cultural biome, because it has so many subcultures and micro-cultures,” he told the now-defunct website Grantland. “I think people who dismiss it are missing something.”

FACTOID The first chapter consists of a two-word phrase, which cannot be printed here. As The New York Times review put it: “The first (word) isn’t ‘thank.’ The second one is ‘you.’ ”