"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.