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.
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? –