Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Gentlemen's Hour by Don Winslow

"Never turn your back on a wave. Never turn your back on the absence of a wave, either, because the second you do, a real thundercrasher will rise out of nowhere and smack you down. The ocean may look like one thing on the surface, but there's always something different happening underneath. That something could start a thousand miles away and then be headed toward you and you'll never know about it until it happens." Buried in the middle of Don Winslow's awesome novel, The Gentlemen's Hour, is the clue to this story.

Boone Daniels is a legend in surfing circles, and he hangs out with other legends in San Diego, as part of the Dawn Patrol, surfing early before heading to their regular jobs. But, Boone's job as a private investigator isn't very successful, so sometimes he hangs around for the Gentlemen's Hour, the time when the successful and the retirees come out to tell their stories of early surfing. What could lead to worse trouble, staying late one day, and accepting a job, or agreeing to do a job for his sometimes girlfriend, Petra, a lawyer? Either job could lead to the worst wipeout of Boone's career.

Boone hates matrimonial cases, but a friend from the Gentlemen's Hour is convinced his wife is cheating on him, and Boone reluctantly agrees to check it out. He actually refuses to take the case Petra offers him. When a surfing legend, Kelly Kuhio, was killed, a young punk from the Rockpile Crew, a local surfing gang, claimed to have hit him. Kelly was not only a surfing legend, but Boone's mentor, and a man who changed the community for the better. But, Petra offers Boone a job investigating for the defense, a case that will turn the Dawn Patrol and the surfing community against him. In the end, Boone Daniels is a man Kelly Kuhio would have approved of; he takes the case, knowing Kuhio wouldn't want to see a man railroaded into a death sentence. How can two such different cases converge, taking Boone Daniels into a maelstrom?

Don Winslow's powerful novel is a crime novel of society out of control. But, The Gentlemen's Hour is actually the story of Boone Daniel's search for answers. Petra Hall sees him as a complicated man, "A Tarzan-like surfer boy who reads Russian novels at night...A disillusioned cynic with barely concealed idealism." Winslow has taken the detective as knight errant and turned him into a surfer trying to make his world right. Boone Daniels is an unforgettable man in a complicated, fascinating story.

Don Winslow's website is www.donwinslow.com

The Gentlemen's Hour by Don Winslow. William Heinemann, ©2009. ISBN 9780434019250 (paperback), 328p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Michael Alatorre, a friend, sent me his copy, in hopes I would read it.

12 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Wow! I love that description of Boone Daniel. Sounds like a fascinating book! I'll have to put it on my TBR list. Thanks!

Lesa said...

Elizabeth,

I told Michael it took me fifty pages to be sucked into Don Winslow's book, at which point I grasped the language, the character, and knew what it a treat it was. Give it a few pages when you try it.

le0pard13 said...

I'm very happy you enjoyed and reviewed the book, Lesa. I'm always glad to introduce a friend to the writings of Don Winslow--especially his recent work. THE GENTLEMEN'S HOUR still has not been released in the U.S. (I obtained my copy via the U.K.). The publisher is holding it for 2011, I believe, while his new one, SAVAGES, gets released this month. Thank you very much, my friend.

Beth Hoffman said...

Fantastic review, Lesa! I love complex characters and this book is going on my TBR list immediately.

Lesa said...

Have you read Savages yet, Michael, or are you waiting until you meet Don Winslow? I mailed your book fifteen minutes ago! Thank you for introducing me to his work.

Lesa said...

Beth,

As Michael said, it hasn't been released in the U.S., but you may find it in some speciality bookstores. For instance, Poisoned Pen probably carries it.

le0pard13 said...

Lesa, I have the SAVAGES audiobook on order and expect it to arrive next week. I'm really looking forward to it (narrator Michael Kramer, who performed Thomas Perry's STRIP so wonderfully, is doing this). I'll be catching up with Mr. Winslow when he makes a stop at The Mystery Bookstore here in L.A. on the 20th. I'm looking forward to it, and bringing TGH with me to tell him of its travels with friends. Thanks very much, Lesa.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Michael, for your kindness in sharing it with friends.

Maria said...

Sounds like a good one!

Maria

Lesa said...

It was very good, Maria. I hope you get the chance to try it. But, I'd go with The Dawn Patrol first.

Janet Rudolph said...

Great review, as always. Don Winslow will be here in Berkeley at my home for a Lit Salon on July 22. Really looking forward to it.

Lesa said...

You're lucky, Janet. I wanted to hear him at the Poisoned Pen, but it's the same afternoon as the Quincenara for a coworker's daughter, and they're both people I think a lot of, so I'll be there.