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The Dawn Patrol

(Boone Daniels #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,126 ratings  ·  412 reviews
The author of The Winter of Frankie Machine is back with a razor-sharp novel as cool as its California surfer heroes, and as heart-stopping as a wave none of them sees coming.
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,126 ratings  ·  412 reviews

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Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m a middle aged, bald, pasty white Irish American living in the southeastern US and with a suburban desk job. I could get a sunburn standing in front of an open window. I’m about as far from “surfer” as you can be.


But mentally, spiritually, DUDE, I am there.

I like Don Winslow, like the way he writes. He can put words together like a party girl dances: he knows what he’s doing, he’s having fun, attractive and energetic but laid back, making it look easy. Sexy but not slutty;
Manuel Antão
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

“Everything tastes better on a tortilla”. With this simple dictum ends “The Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow. It’s a good ending. The spirit behind this phrase is a wonderful representation of the book’s tone.

The surf culture abounds. I’m not a surf guy. I’m more into scuba-diving. They both rate high on fellowship, kindness, journey, and cooperation, with surfers/scuba-divers helping each other out when they can and working together
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Maybe it’s my landlocked Kansas nature, but I don’t get surfing. Paddling out into the ocean on a board seems like a lot of work just to get drowned or beaten to death on rocks or eaten by some kind of huge sea creature. Plus, fish pee and poop in the ocean so the whole thing is really just a big toilet. But to each their own, and one of my favorite crime writers, Don Winslow, has had several of his characters surf so I’m more than willing to read about it when he’s telling the tale.

May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh yeah. Don Winslow has so many great things going on in this novel it is difficult to pick the best thing to tell you about. It is light and dark at the same time. At one point, one of the good guys goes to do something bad, but it turns out good anyway! That was a very cool twist of fate the pen.

Winslow manages to make the writing sound like a five-piece band…instead of a mystery with two threads and a protagonist, I felt like I just watched a great concert. Part of the reason has to do with
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
"Onto the beach, into the fog"
Don Winslow, The Dawn Patrol


Clearly, I'm a Don Winslow fan. One danger with grading any author is the scale gets warped by their most amazing books. When I judge 'The Dawn Patrol' next to The Power of the Dog or The Cartel, etc., I tend to be really hard on the book I just read. However, if I try to evaluate DP for itself and for what it is, I find I really enjoyed it.

'Dawn Patrol' is escape candy, beach noir, hard-boiled surfer pulp. It has a narrative drive that
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Classic PI story updated to the San Diego surfing scene, a fun and predictable read that offers up a raft of characters whose skills misdemeanour's improbably all interconnect at the denouement in a way that is only possible in a cliched detective novel.

It suffers from not being dark enough, original enough, from not being a Kem Nunn novel or even one of Winslow's own stellar efforts, but it excels with Winslow's conversational writing style and the inclusion of passages on the history of San
Yigal Zur
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
lovely. funny. enjoyable. well written. fun to read even there a bit to much historical info on places, or too many surfers names which i do not know if they are real names or not. so i felt it is ok to skip here and there some pages. great hard boiled with fun atmosphere.
Lance Charnes
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of SoCal Noir and/or authorial attitude
The Dawn Patrol is Winslow’s fifth book set in Southern California and comes one book back from Savages , which, you may recall, I liked a bit. It’s less experimental than Savages, which by definition makes it more accessible, but the sensibility and style is much the same.

This one actually has a hero of sorts, though ex-cop Boone Daniels is an unrepentant surf bum in every way someone can be a surf bum. He ekes out a living in San Diego-adjacent Pacific Beach by being a sort-of PI,
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Fun, slick, slightly cartoonish ... sorta reminds me of watching Riptide starring Perry King and Joe Penny back in the 80s (before Joe Penny went on to that great boob-tube masterpiece Jake and the Fat Man with William Conrad, who was indeed THE fat man). In other words, The Dawn Patrol is thoroughly entertaining but not really real or scary or particularly original. Winslow is first and foremost a stylist, and he's found a nice voice with the short chapters and telegraphic sentences. If I ...more
May 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
naw, man... the new winslow ain't nearly as great as his last two... but, shit. after the demented masterpiece that is Power of the Dog and the wildly enjoyable The Winter of Frankie Machine... well, you've earned a misstep. at least.

but, check it: neil young's solo in cinnamon girl. it's one motherfucking note. one note! played over and over. because it's over a changing background, because the rhythm guitar and bass are changing it up, young sounds like he's doing more than playing one note.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review An ex-cop surfer turned P.I. surfer provides listeners genuine characters, a plausible plot, heart-rending moments of truth and terror on and off the waves. I enjoy Don Winslows gritty Characters and how he can keep my attention. Another one of his that I liked was "The Winter of Frankie the Machine". Ray Porter, (one of the best), has an easy way of adjusting my emotions with subtle shifts in his timber.
The Dawn Patrol is an interesting combination of history/surfer culture/crime/murder mystery/weak love story. I listened to the audio book and narrator Ray Porter does a fantastic job bringing the story and characters to life. I would rate the story as 3.5 stars. Ray Porter's performance makes the audio book a good way to read this book to round it to an overall 4 stars.

The Dawn Patrol references a group of surfer friends who sit on their surf boards at dawn watching the waves for a ride. They
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: don-winslow
“Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow has all the classic elements of hardboiled mystery fiction. It has the former police officer private detective working out of a battered office with few, if any, clients. It has the local bar where he hangs out. It has the stripper on the run from the local hoods. It has the PI sort of cooperating with the local authorities, but running off on his own because protecting the stripper means skirting the rules and regulations. It has the crew of thugs intent on getting ...more
Michelle Curie
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
There are about as many private investigator stories out there as there are grains of sand on beaches. When those private investigators roam around those beaches though, things get different. The Dawn Patrol is the story of Boone Daniels, a passionate surfer, who keeps himself afloat (just about) by solving a case every now and then. It is just when the biggest swell of his surfing career is about to hit Californian shores that a new case gives him the ride of a lifetime.

I have read many crime
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-gangsters
U.S. Highway 101.
The Pacific Coast Highway.
The PCH.
The Boulevard of Unbroken Dreams.
The Yellow Brick Road.

You may get your kicks on Route 66, but you get your fun on Highway 101. You may take 66 to find America, but you won't find The American Dream until you hit the PCH. Sixty-six is the route, but 101 is the destination. You travel 66, you arrive at 101. It's the end of the road, the beginning of the ride.

It’s these little insights that set writers apart from the herd. You don’t really
Michael Martz
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
'The Dawn Patrol' is the first in Don Winslow's Boone Daniels series. Daniels is an interesting character to say the least, a surf shop proprietor, part-time PI, ex-cop, surf-addict, super laid-back badass. He's a 'member' of the Dawn Patrol, an eclectic group of surfing fanatics who meet almost daily to take advantage of the fine waves along the San Diego coastal area.

The story really begins with Daniels being approached by a young, smartass (and smart) female lawyer to help with an insurance
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are few things more potent in literature than accurately described physical endurances. As Sunny Day, the female surfer in Don Winslow’s evocative mystery The Dawn Patrol, trains for catching Big Waves off the San Diego coast we get a description of what it’s like to be held under water after a wipeout. I’ve spent enough time bounced along the ocean floor disoriented in which way is up and wondering if my breath will last longer than the waves holding me down to know how that feels. ...more
William Johnson
What starts out as a pseudo-comedic caper book (in the vein of, maybe, Elmore Leonard) becomes a rather moving, and unsuspectingly dark, crime drama that analyzes life itself.

The first half of the book fleshes out the characters and explains the world they live in (perhaps too much so) ... and remains generally light. The humor is present in both the prose (fluid, not showy) and the dialogue (more forced) and the characters are, for the most part, approaching three dimensions. This first half is
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Take the perfect climate in San Diego, add a former police officer turned PI, give him a love to surf addiction, and put in an attractive woman who wants to hire him to find and protect a star witness and you have the ingredients of this dandy mystery.

Boone Daniels is the central character. He is so good that he is, in effect, almost a characture of goodness. His heroic deeds go from saving a prisoner fro a beating by another cop, saving a young boy caught up in the surf, to persuading a money
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I remember the first time I read Dennis Lehane (A Drink Before the War), Robert B. Parker (WALKING SHADOW), and Ross MacDonald (The Drowning Pool). All of those books just sucked me in with voice and character.

It's all about character, isn't it?

People say that everything's been done in the PI novel already, and ultimately, that's probably true. But in Don Winslow's latest novel, THE DAWN PATROL, he gave me the same feeling I got when reading the author's listed above. I was sucked in. Dragged
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a cracker of a tale. Boone Daniels is the archetypal laid back surfer cum PI, a former San Diego police officer who has chosen to spend his days with his group of close knit friends collectively known as the Dawn Patrol.

The story takes off when a stripper witnesses some shady goings on involving her boss and pimp. Boone gets involved in investigating the wrongful murder of another stripper that leads to busting a ring of pedophiles all while the local surfing community is gearing up for
Jim Crocker
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WINSLOW HITS ANOTHER ONE OUTTA THE PARK!! Chapter 102 is probably the best chapter I've ever read.

"You get a gun pointed at your head, it changes you." Don Winslow, The Dawn Patrol

After listening to a recent interview with Don Winslow, I am pleased and excited to hear that another adventure with Boone and the gang will be in the works.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
#1 in the Boone Daniels series. Finalist 2009 Barry Award for Best Novel. A brilliant mixture of the history of the Southern California coast, a band of surfers (one of whom is a P.I. when necessity strikes), and human trafficking.

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
Heidi Pedersen
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow - I have a completely new perspective of San Diego, surfing, connections to friendships and what they really mean....!
Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Winslow can't seem to make up his mind whether he wants to write a taut, suspenseful mystery/thriller or a colorful, casual guide to the San Diego surfing scene. Ostensibly a detective novel about a part-time private investigator/part-time surfer hired by a local law firm to find and protect a missing witness in an insurance matter, for most of the book the plot advances only in brief,sporadic bursts. The author spends most of his energy describing the main character and his group of surfer ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have read two other books by this author. I started with The Cartel, which totally captivated me. so I picked up Power Of The Dog, and although it had some long, somewhat dreary moments, I still thought it was very good.

So I got hooked on Don Winslow, and decided to pick up two more of his, The Dawn Patrol and Savages.

What can I say about The Dawn Patrol? Ah well, it was a huge letdown for me. The pace is slow, the story never really goes anywhere, and I never "felt" anything for any of the
Ashley Lauren
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. Coming from a place where waves don't exist (Wisconsin) it was nice to read about a completely different life. The premise was overall interesting and although I never got that heart-pounding mystery-thriller kind of feeling I thought the plot line and events were pretty well done.

The characters were interesting and THOROUGHLY well described - almost too much at times. Also, it seemed that people were either angels or devils in this book - with few flaws in between. But the
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. It was amazing how the characters, who make up the west coast communities; the tourists, the surfers, Hawaiians, Samoans, Japs, Mexicans, the rich, the poor, the desperate, the law enforcers, the criminals.. plus the place, and its history - were all nicely knit.

The story's transition from CHILL to DARK was abrupt but effective. And like a perfect tuberide, the dawn patrol were able to find their light at the end of the barrel and rode off, but not without the unforgiving
Another winner from this author. Loved the San Diego surf setting, really liked the main character, a former cop turned PI who lives to surf, and was impressed with how the author unraveled the plot which, at first, seemed like it might be a bit lightweight but turned rather dark. Listened to the audio version narrated by Ray Porter who did a great job with all the surfer slang and kept the pace brisk.
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Dawn Patrol 1 38 Jun 30, 2008 05:53AM  

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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death

Other books in the series

Boone Daniels (2 books)
  • The Gentleman's Hour (Boone Daniels, #2)