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The Dawn Patrol (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – June 16, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* San Diego PI Boone Daniels would rather surf than work. While he and his fellow bronzed boarders (known collectively as the Dawn Patrol, for the time of day they hit the waves) may have real jobs, their true MO is to revel in the sun, fun, and shapely babes that populate the coastal town of Pacific Beach. But Boone, alas, is low on cash. So when a beautiful lawyer approaches him about a missing stripper scheduled to testify in an insurance case, he takes the assignment, knowing full well that the swells expected to hit Southern California in the next couple of days will be, well, epic. Soon, the stripper’s best friend is found dead, an apparent suicide, at a seedy motel. Boone knows it can’t be coincidence. A trail of clues leads him into the company of some shady souls, from pedophiles and plastic surgeons to thick-necked Samoan thugs. As Boone gets deeper into the investigation, he wonders whether he can dig himself out in time for high tide. In his latest thriller (after The Winter of Frankie Machine, in 2006), critically acclaimed novelist Winslow writes with panache about the light and dark sides of San Diego and the wave-craving characters that call its celebrated coastline home. --Allison Block --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.


“Might be the best summertime crime novel ever.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Heartbreaking. . . . Could be a breakthrough for Winslow.”—Los Angeles Times“One of the most entertaining beach books of this-or any other-summer . . . [A] rocketing thriller.”—The Times-Picayune“Colossally cool. . . . Captures the essence of Southern California itself: forecast sunny and clear, with an undertow of darkness.”—San Antonio Express-News

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reprint edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307278913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307278913
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In a jacket blurb, Lee Child says that no one does this kind of thing better than Don Winslow. He's right. Winslow's skills are, to say the least, very impressive. The Power of the Dog was epic in its scope; The Winter of Frankie Machine was smaller and more focused but absolutely pitch-perfect, a tale of an aging mobster that may well turn into a DeNiro movie. The Dawn Patrol is very different, but equally successful and equally impressive.

Here, Winslow recreates a world--the world of the surfer, the San Diego variety, complete with its names, language, food, attitudes, dress and culture. The almost-lost world of the idealized past has, however, been altered by the strip clubs and other sleazoid operations that follow the navy. When these worlds collide (a former SDPD officer-turned-surfer investigates the murder of a supposed witness in a major civil case) the results (in Don Winslow's hands) are stunning. As we move toward the solution of the crime(s) we move toward the arrival of a massive oceanic event and in the final chapters Winslow quick-cuts between the hunt for the bad guys, the saving of the innocent and the search for the perfect Pacific wave.

I particularly like the historical reflections on San Diego, on the world of surfing and on such important cultural elements as the PCH--how it began and what it's become. It is a truism in novel writing that the effective novelist 'creates a world'; Don Winslow certainly has here, though 'recreates' is the more appropriate term. I only have one regret. Winslow has been writing standalones. I love the members of the 'dawn patrol' and would very much like to see them become part of a series. Winslow began as a series writer and here he has created an exceptional ensemble cast.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Break out your Surfbonics-to-English Dictionary and chill with Don Winslow in "Dawn Patrol", a slick novel of SoCal's surf culture cleverly wrapped in an engaging mystery.

Boone Daniels is the ultimate California surfer stereotype: lean and athletic, laid back, unflappable, and not ready to let trivial "civilian" interests like job, family, or typical responsibilities associated with adulthood interfere with mother ocean and the perfect wave. With his colorful "dawn patrol" posse of Dave "the God to Women", kid "Hang Twelve", the massive Samoan "High Tide", San Diego cop Johnny Banzai, and his female alter ego and sometimes sex partner Sunny Day, Boone and the crew are in the surf each morning at daybreak passing time - like compiling lists of the best things in life - while waiting for the next big ride. Boone is a former SDPD cop himself with some demons of his own lurking beneath his chill exterior - now a private investigator of sorts, content with working enough to only keep him in adequately stocked in fish tacos and board wax. When the foxy but uptight aspiring lawyer Petra shows up with an insurance company gig, Boone is conflicted: he could use the "jangle", but an underwater disturbance in the Aleutians is sending a freight train of monster waves to the Southern Cal coast unlike anything that's been seen in decades, and certainly not an event that a hardcore surfer like Boone would even consider missing. But Petra is persistent, not to mention alluring in an annoyingly buttoned down way, and Boone agrees to find the stripper pivotal in catching San Diego's sex sleaze king in an insurance scam.
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Format: Hardcover
In Winslow's latest adventure, he takes a generous slice of surf culture in Pacific Beach, California, contrasting the dark world of criminal enterprise with the undying loyalty of dedicated surfers to an ocean that constantly renews and never disappoints. Peopled with eccentric characters, the Dawn Patrol rides the surf together every day, for a brief time oblivious to the low life that feeds on strip clubs and an increasingly violent drug culture, in this case Red Eddie, Dan Silver and their hired muscle. Winslow peppers his dialog with "surfbonics", the easy patter of generations of families who have cut their teeth surfing the Pacific right outside their doors, the camaraderie of loyal friends who keep their priorities straight, "living to surf, surfing to live".

Boone Daniels, ex-SDPD, has had his share of disappointments, including a short-lived career on the force until the seminal moment when he makes a decision that changes his life over a case that haunts him still. But this is Winslow's great theme, the flawed, very human characters that make mistakes but learn to adjust their expectations, finding the finer selves that sometimes go off track. Boone can always locate his center on the ocean waiting for the big one, the killer set that only arrives once every few years. That's just what he's contemplating when interrupted by the need for cash. A striking, aggressive lawyer, Petra Hall, needs assistance locating a missing witness in an arson case and has been given current PI Boone's name. Reluctantly, Boone endures Petra's tenacity as she rides along with him in search of the witness, an elusive stripper in the sights of a venal boss who will stop at nothing to protect his interests.
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