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Chris High books reviewed

The Gentlemen’s Hour

Don Winslow


Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd
ISBN-10: 0434019259
ISBN-13: 978-0434019250
16 July 2009 

Image: Front cover of the book 'The Gentleman's Hour' written by Don Winslow


Following on from The Dawn Patrol, ex-cop-turned-PI-turned-beach-bum Boone Daniels finds himself in the soft sand again, only this time he can’t be sure if his friends will be around to bail him out.

 


Boone Daniels, the most laid-back of private investigators, gathers with his surfing buddies on Pacific Beach, California as per usual. There’s no surf to speak of, but the Dawn Patrol are out in force anyway…it’s what they do. Having no work at the moment, and no real reason to go to the office other than to see the red ink getting redder, Boone sticks around for the second shift on the daily surfing clock – the Gentlemen’s Hour, frequented by the older veteranos and successful entrepreneurs – and ends up taking on a hated matrimonial case. But that soon becomes the least of his worries.

When The Sundowner, symbolic icon of the San Diego surf scene, sees a dispute between a young surfer and a member of the territorial Rockpile Crew – a dispute that ends in murder – the painful truth that violence is seeping into the surf community can no longer be ignored. So when lawyer Petra Hall, who has a thing with Boone, asks him to help the defence on that particular case, Boone knows he’ll be courting outrage from the community…and from the rest of the Dawn Patrol.

As his closest friendships begin to fray, and he digs deeper into the murkier side of surfing culture, Boone sees his two cases overlap in unexpected ways and finds himself struggling to stay afloat as the water gets deeper and deeper…and more deadly.
This has a much more traditional “noir” element to it than The Dawn Patrol and, in some ways, is all the better for it. Yes some of the depth of feeling the reader might have for the peripheral characters may be a little less here, but the stronger, grittier, multi-faceted storyline benefits no end from the greater pace.

There are a lot of things to consider here, but in Winslow’s skilled hands none of the issues come across as any kind of lecture in morals. Instead, what we are left with is a tight, well drawn and intensely exciting novel that has those who complete the ride crying out for another helping of Boone sooner rather than later.

 


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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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