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on 21 May 2017
ANother smashing story by Don WInslow. Draws a fine line between the laid back surfing fraternity and violent crime. Most entertaining and splendidly evocative
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on 13 April 2017
Wonderfully original characters and brilliant location lifted a fairly ordinary PI tale into a truly outstanding adventure. I want more tales soon. Well crafted and full of surprises.
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on 22 May 2015
There aren’t many books that flow in the style of a wave, but then there are not many authors out there quite as good as Don Winslow. ‘The Gentlemen’s Hour’ is the second Boone Daniels mystery and it sees the part time PI, full time surfer, Boone come up against some criminals that even he cannot handle on his own. Two cases fall into his lap; one appears to be a straightforward cheating spouse whilst the other is a case of helping a murderer – a murderer that is hated by all the surfing community.

Like the flat sea at the start of the book, ‘Gentlemen’s Hour’ begins quite slowly, getting the reader back into the rhythm of Boone. This is not a PI that likes to be rushed and neither will the story. However, as the reader starts to think that not much is going to happen, Winslow slowly increases the pace. By the end of the book you are in the centre of a ferocious tube of action and terror that just snuck up on you. The reader, like Boone, just has to ride the wave and see if you come out the other end.

The sense of time and place in this book is fantastic, Winslow is great at balancing information about a character or location without overdoing it. By the end of the book you feel like you have an idea what the real California coastline must be like. The final 100 pages or so of ‘Gentlemen’s Hour’ are as good as anything that Winslow as written before, it’s just that the book does not have the majesty throughout of ‘The Power of the Dog’, a book that remains one of the best things I have ever read.
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on 13 January 2010
Don Winslow writes interesting stories,covering different topics.Not all of them will appeal to everyone.The Winter of Frankie Machine was excellent,and is just begging to be made into a movie.The Gentlemen's hour features the same characters of a previous book-The Dawn Patrol.The story is set in southern California and has many surfing allusions.The terms and language of the surfing community probably mean nothing to most of us,and can be a little annoying.But keep going because the story is excellent(as in the Dawn Patrol). Drugs;crime;murder;real estate swindles;
municipal corruption;etc it's all in here.The main protagonist is very appealing as a character(ex-cop and occasional private eye)with real morals and values in a world that no longer seems to have any.His friends are interesting people from different walks of life(including criminals active and former).They are all linked by their love of surfing,even though they are not exactly young beach bums,but well into their 30's.A young,ambitious,female lawyer asks him to take a case that makes him an instant pariah amongst his friends/surfers.That of young man who has confessed to the muder of a revered hero of this community.Petra Hall,the lawyer believes that in spite of the confession,all is not what it seems.Why does he take such a stinker of a case knowing that it will put him in an impossible situation?Intertwined,there are other cases he is involved in,and these turn out to be linked in an unexpected way.And just to keep the pot boiling,he and the lawyer develop feelings for each other.This is a tense thriller,as drug lord hitmen are sent out to tie up the loose ends including the private eye/surfer and the lawyer.
I was rivetted,and the book was hard to put down.I hope there will be another with these characters as there are enough elements for a further adventure.
Get it,you won't be disappointed.Although you should probably start with the Dawn Patrol.
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I don’t know that I really needed to read this book. It is very similar to his last in this series, i.e. lots of surfing terms, an interesting will-she won’t-she end up in bed with his new fancy scenario, a lawyer, who is several rungs above him on the San Diego society ladder and a well-plotted real estate scam for him to work out and then get into danger in pursuit of (1) a cheating wife, and (2) a lowlife gang of sorry failures attracted to the ideas behind a racist white supremacist. Excuse me if this sounds a little tired, but it all depends on whether you like the setting (surfers) and the Private Eye, Boone Daniels. I liked him in his first in this series, but I’m just a little bored, especially with three line chapters and – well – the refusal of Boone himself to get a life outside of the surfing scene.

It’s well written, don’t get me wrong, but it really does depend on whether you are a ‘surf’s-up’ freak. The action is good, in parts – and I think he’s done enough to make this a successful read, but I’m not a surfer and this time there is little to learn. We already know about his commitment problems, and we know about his surfing credentials, but the ocean is: “as flat as Kansas” in this book and there is nothing really new to learn about Boone here. My reaction is, sadly, move along people, there’s nothing to see here. Development of the ‘Raine’ superstructure plot might get me back, but I’m reserving judgement on this one.
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on 18 February 2014
The Gentlemen's Hour follows Boone Daniels, a laid-back Private Investigator who lives by the pier and likes to surf. It would have been nice to start this series from the beginning so I could get a better feel of his history and past relationships, etc., but it doesn't detract from the novel or the reading experience. Don Winslow introduces him, and his posse, well enough, without having to go through five books' worth of backstory.

The plot, in simplistic form is this: his friend thinks his wife is cheating on him, so Boone investigates. At the same time, he's helping his friend/love interest Petra, on a murder case. And from there, his life explodes and implodes and everything twists and turns into a dark oblivion.

The writing is quick, sharp, and straight to the point; the dialogue is cute in places, never boring or wooden, and always fun to read. And the story is a strong one. Or at least it's strong enough to maintain interest, if not exactly offering anything groundbreaking in the field. It has the twists and double-crosses that people expect in the PI genre, and it manages to weave some interesting characters along the way. I had no real complaints as I read it, although a couple things he wrote niggled at me, such as his use of the term "at the end of the day", which, in my house, is punishable by death. That's if someone utters it once--Don Winslow uses this phrase at least three times. That's the death penalty times three.

But aside from that, I recommend this book to anyone who reads Robert Crais or Dennis Lehane--or any other author of good PI novels. I have to warn you in advance, though: there are a lot of surfing metaphors in this novel; and many events or incidences are somehow related back to surfing or catching a big wave. It was part of the main character's background, his life, so I allowed it, but I could also see how it might annoy some people and put them off reading any further.

Also, on an unrelated note, there's a part in the novel where a character's name changes from Bill Blasingame to Bill Burlingame. Then it changes straight back a few lines down. I don't know if this is because the character was originally called Burlingame when Don Winslow wrote the book and some lazy editor just pressed SEARCH on WORD and didn't notice it, but it was irritating to see. How do these editors not spot such a glaring mistake? How did nobody in the company not read or see this? Was everyone asleep?

Anyway, here's a line I liked:

--If you know where the bodies are buried, sooner or later you're going to be one of them.
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on 19 February 2010
I have read most of Don's other books available in the UK and have loved them. They are so good I was slightly apprehensive about this one as its not one of his best known books. However it is an excellent book, continuing on with the great cast of characters from Dawn Patrol. I loved the language in the book and the evocation of the surfing culture. The plot is a little simpler than his other books and there are a couple of minor holes (for me at least). But I really recommend this and his other books to those who love a clever, well written thriller/PI novel.
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on 22 June 2016
Good, but not as good as other Don Winslow books I've read. The author tends to provide a lot of often fascinating detail about the subject matter - the Mafia or Mexican drug cartels, for instance - and he did the same this time. Unfortunately, I was a good deal less fascinated by the surfer lifestyle / language than about other topics so I found it a little tedious at times. But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book; on the contrary, my overall experience was very positive.
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on 20 September 2016
I have read 4 of Winslow's books. Every one has been a great read. I'm 73 and read thousands of books in my lifetime. Don Winslow ha a unique style often marrying extreme violence with wry wit, odd as that may sound. His characters have real depth, plots which can be complex and a style which is very easy to read. Be warned get 20 or 30 pages into one of his books and you won't put it down. Luckily I have several more to read on my iPhone!!
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on 3 June 2016
I keep dreading that moment I finally read a Don Winslow and feel it wasn't up to standard .... Yet one more nailed a follow up to the excellent Dawn Patrol he rolls straight into another cracking tale...

So what's next?

Whatever it is I'm almost certain he won't fail me again....
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