Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Gentlemen's Hour by, Don Winslow

Epic. Macking. Crunchy.

There's no other way to describe this book.  The Gentlemen's Hour, Don Winslow's sequel to The Dawn Patrol, follows the continuing adventures of surfer/PI Boone Daniels, and is every bit as engrossing as its predecessor.

When surf legend Kelly Kuhio (K2) is killed, a local law firm approaches Boone to help with the defense.  All of San Diego is out for the killer's blood and Boone is on their side; he wants nothing to do with the case.  But Boone's girlfriend Petra Hall (introduced in The Dawn Patrol), who works at the law firm, and his memories of K2 force him to take the case.  What he finds is rot and corruption in the city of San Diego and the surf community itself.

For a number of years localism has crept into the San Diego surf scene; a violent undertow running at cross purposes with the general spirit of aloha associated with surfers.  Boone and the Dawn Patrol are aware of it, but treat it as the exception rather than the rule.  But since K2's accused murderer is a member of the Rockpile Crew, a nearby surf gang, Boone has to confront the issue head on.

Not only does Boone's work put a heavy strain on his relationship with the Dawn Patrol as a whole, but the K2 case was worked by fellow member Johnny Banzai, a San Diego homicide detective.  Boone essentially "jumped in" on Banzai's wave, which makes the detective even more pissed. The tension is so thick and Winslow sets the stakes so high that when Boone muses about quitting surfing and going to law school, it seems like the only logical conclusion to the book.

Once again, Winslow's style is great, his characters so vivid, and language so real that you'll find yourself turning the pages well after your self-imposed bed time.

Highly recommended.

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