Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Don Patrol

Critic-blogger Sarah Weinman broke the news in October that one of my favorite writers, Don Winslow, is taking on the mantle of the late and much-admired thriller writer who published as Trevanian, the author of such novels as The Eiger Sanction and Shibumi. But at that time, Weinman added, “Winslow’s own publishing status in the U.S. is in a bit of limbo, as The Gentlemen’s Hour--the even-better sequel to the amazing The Dawn Patrol--was published in the UK, but there’s no U.S. publication date in sight.”

That situation changed last month. Noted Weinman: “Winslow not only is writing as Trevanian for Grand Central, but his own work will have a new publisher, namely Simon & Schuster. ... According to Publishers Marketplace, The Gentlemen’s Hour won’t be published until July 2011, which is a hell of a long way away--but that’s because the house has elected to publish Winslow’s standalone novel Savages, described as ‘a gritty, humorous, and drug-fueled ransom thriller set amidst the Baja Cartel in Laguna Beach, CA,’ next summer.”

2011 is indeed too long to wait, so I bought (through Amazon UK) a copy of The Gentlemen’s Hour. Weinman is right: It’s even better than the gorgeous The Dawn Patrol. Even if the closest you’ve ever come to a surfboard is watching a Gidget flick, there’s enough action, suspense, sex, love, humor, and wisdom in this sequel to get you down to your nearest point break at top speed.

There’s sadness, too, as surfing San Diego private eye Boone Daniels--broke, as usual--signs onto a case with a top law firm that has been hired to defend a nasty punk kid charged with killing a local surfing hero. Boone knows he’ll be courting outrage from the rest of the Dawn Patrol, a mixed group--a Japanese cop, a giant Samoan, a Lothario lifeguard--who would rather surf than eat, and who have their own strict moral code. But he takes on the assignment anyway. And as his closest friendships begin to fray, he digs deeper into the murkier side of surfing culture. Drug czars, corrupt builders, and self-serving politicians soon rise out of the Pacific like creatures from a very black lagoon.

The book arrived last Friday. I finished it the next day, pausing only to rest my eyes. I think you’ll receive The Gentleman’s Hour with the same enthusiasm--whether you buy an import copy, or steel yourself to wait for the American edition.


Scott D. Parker said...

Absolutely loved The Dawn Patrol. My favorite book of 2008. Met Winslow the week following Hurricane Ike's landing here in Houston. The power was out in Murder by the Book, too. Very, VERY, happy to read this. Ordering soon...

Clayton Moore said...

I agree 100%, and I'll do you one better. I got my copy from Don, having recently interviewed him about this summer's stand-alone SAVAGES("The most radical thing I've done," sayeth the author.) I'll be writing a column later about Don's past and upcoming work, but he's definitely not done with The Dawn Patrol, lucky for us.