Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow

An ex cop, a surfer, is haunted by an abducted child he couldn't save.

Each morning, Boone Daniels, carefree beach bum and flat broke private detective, surfs off the San Diego coast with five eccentric buddies. One morning is different -- a colossal set of waves will arrive soon, and the old friends are filled with anticipation. Ambitious attorney Petra Hall, however, waits at Boone’s office, needing him to take on an insurance fraud case. All he has to do is ensure that beautiful stripper Tammy makes it alive and in one piece to serve as a witness in court. Someone, however, is trying to kill Tammy.

Ok, I finally found a half decent genre novel. Besides this one. “The Dawn Patrol” was well plotted, at times gripping though the trope was the damsel in distress. The prose was serviceable, and the action was semi-believable, even though there weren't any real characters per se.  Part of the difference between a literary novel and a genre novel is that a literary novel is assumed to have well rounded interesting characters and a genre novel isn’t. A genre novel is all about the plot, therefore, instead of characters, you get three or four traits wrapped around a motivation. There were lots of “characters” here, the main ones (packed into beautiful highly sexualized bodies) and the sidekicks, distinguished by freaky cartoony tags, like tattoos or nicknames or weird hairstyles.

At times the dialogue and some description got cutesy which seemed odd in an environment where murders are happening right and left. The casualness of death is another genre novel element I have trouble accepting.  Also I find it hard to believe that hundreds of 8 year old girls would be sexually trafficked through San Diego without anyone saying a word. One or two girls perhaps but not boatloads. Or maybe I am naïve.

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