The Dawn Patrol

The Dawn Patrol

by Don Winslow


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From the bestselling author of Savages (now an Oliver Stone film).

As cool as its California surfer heroes, Don Winslow delivers a high velocity, darkly comic, and totally righteous crime novel.

Every morning Boone Daniels catches waves with the other members of The Dawn Patrol: four men and one woman as single-minded about surfing as he is. Or nearly. They have "real j-o-b-s"; Boone, however, works as a PI just enough to keep himself afloat. But Boone's most recent gig-investigating an insurance scam—has unexpectedly led him to a ghost from his past. And while he may have to miss the biggest swell of his surfing career, this job is about to give him a wilder ride than anything he's ever encountered. Filled with killer waves and a coast line to break your heart, The Dawn Patrol will leave you gasping for air.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307278913
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/16/2009
Series: Boone Daniels Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 97,088
Product dimensions: 7.96(w) x 5.22(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Don Winslow is a former private investigator and consultant. He lives in California.

Read an Excerpt

1The marine layer wraps a soft silver blanket over the coast.The sun is just coming over the hills to the east, and Pacific Beach is still asleep.The ocean is a color that is not quite blue, not quite green, not quite black, but something somewhere between all three.Out on the line, Boone Daniels straddles his old longboard like a cowboy on his pony.He’s on The Dawn Patrol.2The girls look like ghosts.Coming out of the early-morning mist, their silver forms emerge from a thin line of trees as the girls pad through the wet grass that edges the field. The dampness muffles their footsteps, so they approach silently, and the mist that wraps around their legs makes them look as if they’re floating. Like spirits who died as children.There are eight of them and they are children; the oldest is fourteen, the youngest ten. They walk toward the waiting men in unconscious lockstep.The men bend over the mist like giants over clouds, peering down into their universe. But the men aren’t giants; they’re workers, and their universe is the seemingly endless strawberry field that they do not rule, but that rules them. They’re glad for the cool mist—it will burn off soon enough and leave them to the sun’s indifferent mercy.The men are stoop laborers, bent at the waist for hours at a time, tending to the plants. They’ve made the dangerous odyssey up from Mexico to work in these fields, to send money back to their families south of the border.They live in primitive camps of corrugated tin shacks, jerry-rigged tents, and lean-tos hidden deep in the narrow canyons above the fields. There are no women in the camps, and the men are lonely. Now they look up to sneak guilty glances at the wraithlike girls coming out of the mist. Glances of need, even though many of these men are fathers, with daughters the ages of these girls.Between the edge of the field and the banks of the river stands a thick bed of reeds, into which the men have hacked little dugouts, almost caves. Now some of the men go into the reeds and pray that the dawn will not come too soon or burn too brightly and expose their shame to the eyes of God.3It’s dawn at the Crest Motel, too.Sunrise isn’t a sight that a lot of the residents see, unless it’s from the other side—unless they’re just going to bed instead of just getting up.Only two people are awake now, and neither of them is the desk clerk, who’s catching forty in the office, his butt settled into the chair, his feet propped on the counter. Doesn’t matter. Even if he were awake, he couldn’t see the little balcony of room 342, where the woman is going over the railing.Her nightgown flutters above her.An inadequate parachute.She misses the pool by a couple of feet and her body lands on the concrete with a dull thump.Not loud enough to wake anyone up.The guy who tossed her looks down just long enough to make sure she’s dead. He sees her neck at the funny angle, like a broken doll. Watches her blood, black in the faint light, spread toward the pool.Water seeking water.4“Epic macking crunchy.”That’s how Hang Twelve describes the imminent big swell to Boone Daniels, who actually understands what Hang Twelve is saying, because Boone speaks fluent Surfbonics. Indeed, off to Boone’s right, just to the south, waves are smacking the pilings beneath Crystal Pier. The ocean feels heavy, swollen, pregnant with promise.The Dawn Patrol—Boone, Hang Twelve, Dave the Love God, Johnny Banzai, High Tide, and Sunny Day—sits out there on the line, talking while they wait for the next set to come in. They all wear black winter wet suits that cover them from their wrists to their ankles, because the earlymorning water is cold, especially now that it’s stirred up by the approaching storm.This morning’s interstitial conversation revolves around the big swell, a once-every-twenty-years burgeoning of the surf now rolling toward the San Diego coast like an out-of-control freight train. It’s due in two days, and with it the gray winter sky, some rain, and the biggest waves that any of The Dawn Patrol have seen in their adult lives.It’s going to be, as Hang Twelve puts it, “epic macking crunchy.”Which, roughly translated from Surfbonics, is a term of approbation.It’s going to be good, Boone knows. They might even see twenty-foot peaks coming in every thirty seconds or so. Double overheads, tubes like tunnels, real thunder crushers that could easily take you over the falls and dump you into the washing machine.Only the best surfers need apply.Boone qualifies.While it’s an exaggeration to say that Boone could surf before he could walk, it’s the dead flat truth that he could surf before he could run. Boone is the ultimate “locie”—he was conceived on the beach, born half a mile away, and raised three blocks from where the surf breaks at high tide. His dad surfed; his mom surfed—hence the conceptual session on the sand. In fact, his mom surfed well into the sixth month of her pregnancy, so maybe it isn’t an exaggeration to say that Boone could surf before he could walk.So Boone’s been a waterman all his life, and then some.The ocean is his backyard, his haven, his playground, his refuge, his church. He goes into the ocean to get well, to get clean, to remind himself that life is a ride. Boone believes that a wave is God’s tangible message that all the great things in life are free. Boone gets free every day, usually two or three times a day, but always, always, out on The Dawn Patrol.Boone Daniels lives to surf.He doesn’t want to talk about the big swell right now, because talking about it might jinx it, cause the swell to lie down and die into the deep recesses of the north Pacific. So even though Hang Twelve is looking at him with his usual expression of unabashed hero worship, Boone changes the subject to an old standard out on the Pacific Beach Dawn Patrol line.The List of Things That Are Good.They started the List of Things That Are Good about fifteen years ago, back when they were in high school, when Boone and Dave’s social studies teacher challenged them to “get their priorities straight.”The list is flexible—items are added or deleted; the rankings change—but the current List of Things That Are Good would read as follows, if, that is, it were written down, which it isn’t:1. Double overheads.2. Reef break.3. The tube.4. Girls who will sit on the beach and watch you ride double overheads, reef break, and the tube. (Inspiring Sunny’s remark that “Girls watch—women ride.”)5. Free stuff.6. Longboards.7. Anything made by O’Neill.8. All-female outrigger canoe teams.9. Fish tacos.10. Big Wednesday.“I propose,” Boone says to the line at large, “moving fish tacos over all-female outrigger canoe teams.”“From ninth to eighth?” Johnny Banzai asks, his broad, generally serious face breaking into a smile. Johnny Banzai’s real name isn’t Banzai, of course. It’s Kodani, but if you’re a Japanese-American and a seriously radical, nose-first, balls-out, hard-charging surfer, you’re just going to get glossed either “Kamikaze” or “Banzai,” you just are. But as Boone and Dave the Love God decided that Johnny is just too rational to be suicidal, they decided on Banzai.When Johnny Banzai isn’t banzaiing, he’s a homicide detective with the San Diego Police Department, and Boone knows that he welcomes the opportunity to argue about things that aren’t grim. So he’s on it. “Basically flip-flopping them?” Johnny Banzai asks. “Based on what?” “Deep thought and careful consideration,” Boone replies.Hang Twelve is shocked. The young soul surfer stares at Boone with a look of hurt innocence, his wet goatee dropping to the black neoprene of his winter wet suit, his light brown dreadlocks falling on his shoulder as he cocks his head. “But, Boone—all-female outrigger canoe teams?”Hang Twelve loves the women of the all-female outrigger canoe teams. Whenever they paddle by, he just sits on his board and stares.“Listen,” Boone says, “most of those women play for the other team.”“What other team?” Hang Twelve asks.“He’s so young,” Johnny observes, and as usual, his observation is accurate. Hang Twelve is a dozen years younger than the rest of The Dawn Patrol. They tolerate him because he’s such an enthusiastic surfer and sort of Boone’s puppy; plus, he gives them the locals’ discount at the surf shop he works at.“What other team?” Hang Twelve asks urgently.Sunny Day leans over her board and whispers to him.Sunny looks just like her name. Her blond hair glows like sunshine. A force of nature—tall, long-legged—Sunny is exactly what Brian Wilson meant when he wrote that he wished they all could be California girls.Except that Brian’s dream girl usually sat on the beach, whereas Sunny surfs. She’s the best surfer on The Dawn Patrol, better than Boone, and the coming big swell could lift her from waitress to full-time professional surfer. One good photo of Sunny shredding a big wave could get her a sponsorship from one of the major surf-clothing companies, and then there’ll be no stopping her. Now she takes it upon herself to explain to Hang Twelve that most of the females on the all-female outrigger canoe teams are rigged out for females.Hang Twelve lets out a devastated groan.“You just ripped a boy’s dreams,” Boone tells Sunny.“Not necessarily,” Dave the Love God says with a smug smile.“Don’t even start,” Sunny says.“Is it my bad,” Dave asks, “that women love me?”It’s not, really. Dave the Love God has a face and physique that would have caused a run on marble in ancient Greece. But it’s not even so much Dave’s body that gets him sex as it is his confidence. Dave is confident that he’s going to get laid, and he’s in a profession that puts him in a perfect position to have a shot at every snow-zone turista who comes to San Diego to get tanned. He’s a lifeguard, and this is how he got his moniker, because Johnny Banzai, who completes the New York Times crossword in ink, said, “You’re not a ‘life guard’; you’re a ‘love god.’ Get it?”Yeah, the whole Dawn Patrol got it, because they have all seen Dave the Love Guard crawl up to his lifeguard tower while guzzling handfuls of vitamin E to replace the depletion from the night before and get ready for the night ahead.“They actually give me binoculars,” he marveled to Boone one day, “with the explicit expectation that I will use them to look at scantily clad women. And some people say there’s no God.”So if any hominid with a package could get an all-female outrigger canoe team member (or several of them) to issue a gender exemption for a night or two, it would be Dave, and judging by the self-satisfied lascivious smile on his grille right now, he probably has.Hang Twelve is still not convinced. “Yeah, but, fish tacos?”“It depends on the kind of fish in the taco,” says High Tide, né Josiah Pamavatuu, weighing in on the subject. Literally weighing in, because the Samoan crashes the scales at well over three and a half bills. Hence the tag“High Tide,” because the ocean level rises anytime he gets in the water. So High Tide’s opinion on food commands respect, because he obviously knows what he’s talking about. The whole crew is aware that your Pacific Island types know their fish. “Are you talking about yellowtail, ono, opah, mahimahi, shark, or what? It makes a difference, ranking-wise.”“Everything,” Boone says, “tastes better on a tortilla.”This is an article of faith with Boone. He’s lived his life with it and believes it to be true. You take anything—fish, chicken, beef, cheese, eggs, even peanut butter and jelly—and fold them in the motherly embrace of a warm flour tortilla and all those foods respond to the love by upping their game.Everything does taste better on a tortilla.“Outside!” High Tide yells.Boone looks over his shoulder to see the first wave of what looks to be a tasty set coming in.“Party wave!” hollers Dave the Love God, and he, High Tide, Johnny, and Hang Twelve get on it, sharing the ride into shore. Boone and Sunny hang back for the second wave, which is a little bigger, a little fuller, and has a better shape.“Your wave!” Boone yells to her.“Chivalrous or patronizing, you decide!” Sunny yells back, but she paddles in. Boone gets on the wave right behind her and they ride the shoulder in together, a skillful pas de deux on the white water.Boone and Sunny walk up onto the beach, because the morning session is over and The Dawn Patrol is coming in. This is because, with the exception of Boone, they all have real j-o-b-s.So Johnny’s already stepping out of the outdoor shower and sitting in the front seat of his car putting on his detective clothes—blue shirt, brown tweed jacket, khaki slacks—when his cell phone goes off. Johnny listens to the call, then says, “A woman took a header off a motel balcony. Another day in paradise.”“I don’t miss that,” Boone says.“And it doesn’t miss you,” Johnny replies.This is true. When Boone pulled the pin at SDPD, his lieutenant’s only regret was that it hadn’t been attached to a grenade. Despite his remark, Johnny disagrees—Boone was a good cop. Avery good cop.It was a shame what happened.But now Boone is following High Tide’s eyes back out to the ocean, at which the big man is gazing with an almost reverential intensity.“It’s coming,” High Tide says. “The swell.”“Big?” Boone asks.“Not big,” says High Tide. “Huge.”Areal thunder crusher.Like, ka-boom.

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Dawn Patrol 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Once Boone Daniels was a police officer for the SDPD, but when a young girl disappeared he refused to let his partner torture the suspect to learn if she still lived. His fellow officers turned their backs on him eventually forcing him to resign. Now he lives to ride the next wave while working as a private investigator to earn money to surf. He looks forward to the big waves expected to shortly arrive due to a storm, but lawyer Petra Hall needs him to work a paying case.------------- She hires him to find stripper Tammy Roddick who works for Dan Silver who torched one of his establishments. She gave a deposition before vanishing. Boone discovers she was staying in a hotel with another stripper who was thrown off the terrace to her death. There is no sign of Tammy, but Boone notices a child¿s toothbrush in the hotel room. Boone and Petra track her down and bring her to his apartment where she asks permission to make a phone call. Boone has a bad feeling that there is more than just an insurance scam and a dead stripper involved in this case and soon his life is on the line affirming his hypothesis.------------- This is a great thriller filled with eccentric characters who make up the DAWN PATROL, a group of fanatical surfers riding the waves before work. It is hard to determine who the villains are as they hide their transgressions behind nice personalities. There is also a lot of historical information pertaining to San Diego interwoven into the plot while the surfing scenes are vivid so mush readers will think there are at the Pacific. Still the bottom line is Don Winslow writes an engaging mystery that focuses on depravity.---------------- Harriet Klausner
maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most of Don Winslow's "The Dawn Patrol" felt like light reading, much different from the author's other stuff, though equally well written. It was enjoyable, amusing, humorous, romantic, great dialog, interesting story line and an excellent crime fiction story complete with bad guys, a murder, strippers, drugs, and a hint of more. We'll come back to that last bit. The main set of characters is The Dawn Patrol, a rag tag collection of guys and one stunning California blonde who surf the same beaches near San Diego and who have developed an informal code of behavior for in and out of the surf. The story moves along at a nice swift pace and I always looked forward to picking it up and reading more - I didn't want it to end, and was pleased to know that a follow on book, "The Gentlemen's Hour" had been recently released. I thought to myself "another 5.0" Then at about the 83% point of the book the story line took a sharp turn and became particularly focused on the sexual abuse of young girls, very young girls. There were hints of this throughout the book, but nothing that indicated to me what was coming. The rest of the book was well done, and the ending was satisfying. But I still have difficulty blending the Beach Boys story of the first 80% with the far darker themes of the last 20%; felt like two different books. But I still recommend it, and I look forward to TGH. Completed 8/11, rated 4.5
norinrad10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one's an interesting one. If this was the first Don Winslow that I"d read, I don't think I would have stuck with it. That said, I'm glad I did. The story is fairly pedestrian, though it does take a disturbing twist. It's the characters that are the real strength though. I feel like I'm leaving friends when this book ends.
debs4jc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This suspense tale has as it's strength the way it captures the surfing culture. Boone Daniels has always been a surfer. He was also once a police officer but quit after he failed to rescue a kidnapped child. Now he does PI work--but only enough to keep him fed and out on the waves. His latest case has an uptight insurance lawyer following him around to places he never expected to go. Will he be able to solve it in time to catch the killer waves that are expected to hit the coast? The suspense story is solid but pretty standard, it is being immersed in the surfer culture that is the highlight of this book. So if you like your suspense mixed with waves check this one out.
LaurieRKing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this for the solidity of the main character and his love for surfing.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Oh man I really enjoyed ‘Dawn Patrol’. It has a great plot along with some great character. The author does a wonderful job of building the relationships between the dawn patrol and giving the reader enough background on both the characters and the culture to make them invested in both. He also does a wonderful job with the descriptions of the scenery and action which really makes you feel as if you’re in the middle of pacific beach. Now reading all of this you would think that its lacking for action but no, it does a great job with balancing the narrative and giving the reader a lot of action making it feel like it’s always moving forward. The only thing that was a bit strange was the author seems to slip in an out of taking the story from Boone’s point of view to a third person point of view while in the same scene a couple of times. I’m actually surprised I picked up on it and it didn’t take away from the story at all but I could see it driving an english teacher mad. Any ways I can’t say enough about how great I thought this book was and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves the beach and thrillers.
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This is my first book by this author and even though I'm not familiar with the surfer's lingo, I am enjoying this book tremendously. It is very humorous, exciting and suspenseful and I am looking forward to finishing it so I can start another by Mr. Winslow.
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
After loving Savages, I took up the newest Satori, Then it was The Winter of Frankie Machine. Now I have read Dawn Patrol which didn't quite match up to his later books, but was still quite enjoyable. The sex slave trade of children, while a reality, did not ring so true as depicted here. Also, Boone Daniels seems to be just a little too much of a hero to retain credibility. But that's the world of fiction. I've got 3 more Winslow books waiting to be read.
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Daruth More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Excellent writing. I look forward to reading all of Don Winslow's books. He brings out the best in his characters, making them feel like we know them... even the worst ones we would not want to befriend.
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
You've the professional reviews to give you the gist of the novel, I'll just say that I've read all of Winslow's books and this, not one of his best, is a fine novel that is entertaining and interesting. The characters are solid, the plot a bit ho-hum and the dialog is crisp. Well worth the money and the time.
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realsurfer More than 1 year ago
If you're a real surfer, this will frustrate you!

Winslow did not research surfing well enough to write a good book involving the lives of surfers. He merely writes about them in the stereotypical way that everyone before him has. The terms and words he uses are out dated, and no surfer actually speaks the way he claims they do in this novel. He foolishly uses the term 'riptide' over and over again, when he really means 'rip current.' Where was the editor?

His knowledge of San Diego is ok, but again, his research falls short. The San Diego Surf Museum is in Oceanside, not Carlsbad. Mira Mesa is not in North County. You cannot launch a zodiac from Batiquitos Lagoon! Yikes.

The supposed sponsorship that Sunny is seeking is also a joke. Surfers do not receive sponsorships by riding only one huge wave and getting their picture taken. They get it by entering loads of contests (which he incorrectly calls tournaments!) and winning them.

This book is very misleading, but it is entertaining. Don't think this is how real surfers live and act though.
ringo111 More than 1 year ago
This book is for a younger person to read, I didn't even finish the book, because it was just too boring. I can imagine the younger set of surfers would enjoy it though. Thank you. I like my mystery stories that I read and will continue ordering that type.