Eric_W's Reviews > The Dawn Patrol

The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow
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Mar 04, 09

Read in March, 2009

I've got to figure out a better way to write reviews as I read. It used to be easier when I wrote them on paper. Such is life. Anyway, now that I have finished the book, a couple of comments. I still liked it, but the plot took some turns at the end that made it much more dark. The whole ***SPOILER ALERT**** pedophile thing, I thought, wasn't necessary and seemed a little contrived as an attempt to tie everything together. Still, the book held my interest and I enjoyed the surfing culture

It's a light read. Lots of humor, oddball characters, and some laugh-out-loud scenes. I have no idea what the surfer culture is like, but Winslow would appear to know what he is talking about and that's good enough for me. The clash between the guys is live for the perfect wave and the pressures of the rich wanting to live near the beach provide a nice cultural milieu for this unusual detective novel.

There's a short section where Winslow describes the founding of the Sand Diego Lifeguard service. He invented a name for the following Hawaiian. I thought I would steal the information from for the quote from the real hero:

1918 from the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control:

"In 1918, 13 people drowned in rip currents in a single day at San Diego’s Ocean Beach, garnering local and national news attention. Beach attendance that day was estimated at 5,000. City officials cited inadequate lifeguard protection as a cause of the tragedy, and as a result, initiated a municipal lifeguard service. The ocean conditions have changed little since then. San Diego’s local leaders view the 17 miles of oceanfront shoreline, which include Ocean Beach, as a safely managed tourist attraction due to the presence of lifeguards. Despite an average estimated annual attendance of 15 million people and over 7,000 rescues at the major lifeguarded beaches, the average number of drownings in areas under lifeguard protection is between zero and one annually."

Six cardiologists founded the American Heart Association in 1924.

When Duke Paoa Kahanamoku of Hawaii (1890 - 1968), the father of surfing, inventor of the rescue board, six time Olympic gold medalist and winner of the Olympic 100 meter race in 1912 and 1920, using a six-beat kick, with his size 13 feet, was asked who taught him the crawl stroke, he said "no one." He had been swimming a stroke he saw older natives of his island swim. He kept his records until he was 34, when 20 year old Johnny Weissmuller (who eventually set 51 world records and became Tarzan of the movies) beat him in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Kahanamoku became the first person inducted into both the swimming and surfing halls of fame. In 1925 he rescued eight people from a overturned fishing boat, using only a surfboard. Of the 29 people on board the Thelma when it overturned in very rough seas, only 12 were rescued.

Later he said:

"In that instant my knees went to tallow, for a mountain of solid green water curled down upon the vessel. Spume geysered up in all directions, and everything was exploding water for longer than you would believe. Then, before the next mammoth breaker could blot out the view again, it was obvious that the Thelma had capsized and thrown her passengers into the boiling sea. Neither I nor my pals were thinking heroics; we were simply running -- me with a board, and the others to get their boards -- and hoping we could save lives... I hit the water hard and flat with all the forward thrust I could generate, for those bobbing heads in the water could not remain long above the surface of that churning surge. Fully clothed persons have little chance in a wild sea like that, and even the several who were clinging to the slick hull of the overturned boat could not last long under the pounding... It was some surf to try and push through! But I gave it all I had, paddling until my arms begged for mercy. I fought each towering breaker that threatened to heave me clear back onto the beach, and some of the combers almost creamed me for good... Don't ask me how I made it, for it was just one long nightmare of trying to shove through what looked like a low Niagara Falls. The prospects for picking up victims looked impossible. Arm-weary, I got into that area of screaming, gagging victims, and began grabbing at frantic hands, thrashing legs."

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message 1: by brian (last edited Mar 01, 2009 09:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

brian   eric: winslow is one of my all-time favorite crime writers and dawn patrol is the only one of his books i don't like... you must read his sprawling crazy intense masterpiece, power of the dog. it's great! and the winter of frankie machine is also lotsa fun. check them out!

Eric_W brian wrote: "eric: winslow is one of my all-time favorite crime writers and dawn patrol is the only one of his books i don't like... you must read his sprawling crazy intense masterpiece, power of the dog. it'..."

I intend to and already have them in my library. Thanks for the note.

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