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Monday, August 18, 2008

Recommended Reading: "The Dawn Patrol" by Don Winslow

Yesterday in the Washington Post, author Chris Bohjalian penned a column about comments left on by readers of his books. Not surprisingly, Bohjalian a) read the comments, and b) doesn't like the negative comments, particularly from people who either can't or won't spell/type correctly and who don't proof read.

I don't usually read the comments left on Amazon, but when considering whether or not to read a particular book I often do check out how many stars it has received from readers. Right now on Amazon, The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow has about four and one-half stars. That is a bit on the high side, but The Dawn Patrol is an interesting read.

Set in Pacific Beach, California, the novel's main character is Boone Daniels, a surfer, former police officer, and current private investigator. Boone is working on two cases. In the first, he has 24-hours to track down a stripper, a missing witness who is scheduled to testify against her former strip club boss in a civil trial concerning a warehouse fire. In the second, Boone continues to work on a case that haunts him from his police officer days in which a little girl went missing. Missing girls and tracking down the witness converge, making the last half of the book an exciting read.

I almost didn't get to the exciting second half of the book because the first half, while interesting, is not fast-paced reading. Author Don Winslow spends a lot of time developing Boone's character and the background of Boone's closely-knit crew of early morning surfing buddies, collectively called The Dawn Patrol. Winslow also includes a great deal of information about Southern California, its growth and development. The surfer culture is explored and explained. Again, this aspect of the novel is interesting and fun to read. In fact, I persisted in the book because the material was new and engaging; just don't approach the first 150 pages expecting racing, 'page-turner' content.

In total, The Dawn Patrol is memorable, informative, and has an exciting finish. It's recommended reading. If you read it, consider posting a comment about it somewhere; the author may be interested in what you have to say.