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Chris High books reviewed

The Dawn Patrol

Don Winslow

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN-10: 0099510146
ISBN-13: 978-0099510147
2 Jul 2009

Image: Front cover of the book 'The Dawn Patrol' written by Don Winslow

Clear, evocative descriptions, a fast pace where necessary and characters as individual as the waves Don Winslow and Boone Daniels – the main protagonist – care so deeply about, The Dawn Patrol is a worthy addition to the author’s growing pantheon.


Boone Daniels is a laid-back kind of private investigator. He has sleuthing skills to burn but is rarely out of his board-shorts, and with a huge Pacific storm approaching San Diego, Boone wants to be there to ride the once-in-a-lifetime waves with his buddies in the Dawn Patrol. Unfortunately he’s just landed a case involving one dead and one missing stripper, but with the help – or hindrance, Boone thinks – of uptight lawyer Petra Hall, he’s determined to wrap it up in time for the epic surf. But all sorts of trouble follows with Hawaiian gangs and trafficked Mexican girls, as the case turns dark and personal, raising ghosts from Boone’s troubled past and dragging in Sunny and the rest of the Dawn Patrol. The currents turn treacherous on land and at sea as the big swell makes landfall, and Boone has to fight just to keep his head above water.

The book has something of a slow start which, in many other novels, might be a source of irritation yet here somehow allows the reader to engage with and get to know the characters so that Petra, Dave “The Love God”, Hang Twelve, Sunny, Cheerful, Johnny Banzai and High Tide become every bit as important to the tale being told as the PI himself and imbue it with a depth and richness that might otherwise be missing.

One thing’s for sure, Winslow can certainly describe an ocean. So much so, the reader can smell the brine, hear the wind and taste the sand beneath the tongue and the action that takes place in and around the coastline is every bit as realistic.

Overall, The Dawn Patrol is a fine introduction of a new and highly enigmatic character and his cohorts, with a story that’s sure to have your stomach turning with anticipation as much as any riptide in high season.    




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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