I’ve read (listened to) a few of Don Winslow’s books over the years, staring with
“A Cool Breeze on the Underground” (1991), and have generally been entertained – they’re kind of fun except for The Cartel which is just flat amazing – a literary thriller of sorts. Dawn Patrol was on sale and so I took a shot.
by Don Winslow
2008 / 320 pages
read by Ray Porter – 9h 37m
Rating : B- crime
(#1 in the Boone Daniels series of 2 books)
It took me awhile to get into this book – several reasons – the setting is Pacific Beach, a San Diego area community where surfing has been a huge draw for generations. Boone Daniels is a committed surfer and part-time private detective with a number of colorful friends and associates. One day a gorgeous attorney named Petra shows up to hire Boone to locate a stripper who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Meanwhile, a woman later assumed to be the stripper Boone and Petra are seeking has been thrown off a balcony of a nearby motel – this is the prologue – in what looks like a suicide but possibly a murder. Petra and Boone know this is not their stripper but if the cops want to believe it is well …
The story tries for some good suspense with colorful but potentially violent characters, short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, alternating scenarios and points of view, and dangerous chase cuts. But the background stories on various characters and the setting undercuts the suspense and the story drags a bit – there’s also a huge element of comic dialogue and other antics so the suspense may not be entirely the point. But it’s hugely atmospheric and succeeds in that, with me anyway – a California girl (who managed to surf one time). Another point in its favor, the plot gets nicely twisted. I must simply be missing the high tension which has taken over the crime genre in recent years.
Still, in spite of all that – it’s entertaining in its own way although I’m not sure it knows what it is. It may be a love letter to surfing culture through the years including the demise and some nostalgia and anger – what it is today (2008 anyway). Highway One is the Highway to Heaven? –