Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow

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 a very intense sort.  Dawn Patrol was on sale and so I took a shot.

Dawn Patrol
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 Hall shows up to hire Boone to locate a certain stripper who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances involving arson.

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  eventually gets to some good suspense with it’s attention grabbing Prologue,  colorful but essentially  violent characters,  very short chapters with frequent cliff-hanger endings as well as alternating scenarios and points of view and a nicely twisted plot.  But the background stories on various characters and the history of 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 a hugely atmospheric crime novel  and succeeds in that,  with me anyway – a California girl (who managed to surf one time).

So yes,  it’s entertaining in its own way and it may actually be a love letter to the California  surfing culture.  Highway One is the Highway to Heaven?  –

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