Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Dawn Patrol -- Don Winslow

You never know what to expect from Don Winslow. This time it's a fine novel about San Diego and the city's surf culture, with a couple of mysteries thrown in. Boone Daniels is an ex-cop, now a part-time p.i., who's devoted to surfing. A beautiful lawyer wants to hire Daniels just at the time a big surge is going to bring the best waves ever. Daniels doesn't want to take the job, but of course he needs the money. Besides, the job seems simple enough. It isn't, however, and the next thing Daniels knows he's involved in a murder case. After that, things get complicated, and before it's all over, we've entered some dark territory, indeed.

The plot, however, isn't really what The Dawn Patrol is all about. It's about friendship, history, growing up, and the way the world changes. It has as many backstories and asides as any John D. MacDonald novel about Florida, and Winslow's wistful descriptions of the history and changes in San Diego reminded me a little of MacDonald's writing. If you've never read Winslow before, you're missing a treat, and this is as good a place as any to begin.

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