Wednesday, 15 August 2018

One Man's Opinion: THE GENTLEMEN'S HOUR by DON WINSLOW


Boone Daniels surfs with two groups of buddies. The first is the Dawn Patrol, a tight bunch of friends who spend time on the sea before work starts. The second is a bunch of old-timers who don't need to hurry off and can afford to chew the fat while lying on their boards during the Gentlemen's Hour. 

The reason Boone can hang with both is that he has little else to do. He's a creature of habit, picks up the same free breakfast every day, misses his old flame, Sonny, is kind of dating a lady called Peter and he spends evenings wherever his hat is hanging. On top of living his life, he does a little work as a Private Investigator. 

The PI business soon draws him in a direction that is going to ruin his Nirvana. He takes on work for a defence team representing a young surfer who murdered an international surfing hero. In doing so, he risks alienating every friend with a board that he's ever had. The problem is that he knows it's the right thing to do and, if there's one thing that Boone's going to do it's that. 

At the same time, he takes on a gig from a wealthy member of The Gentlemen's Hour (US) who believes his wife might be cheating on him. 
On the fringes of these plotlines are local gangsters, members of cartels and a terrifying torturer. 

The loops of the story overlap and tighten like nooses around Boone's neck. The only saving graces are that he's good at his job and knows a thing or two about investigation and looking after himself. 

This is a brilliant read. The hooks go in right at the beginning. The main thrusts of the novel are gripping and the tangents are fun and informative. Boone's a terrific character and his crew are outstanding people. No one with a heart will be able to stand firm when faced with the impending bust up of the community. 

Much as everything fits neatly into place and every ounce of juice is sucked from the bones of the story, it's the voice that's the ace in the pack. It's another of Winslow's triumphs, allowing the reader to get to know the ins and outs as if they're standing right in the middle of it all rather than watching from the outside. 

10/10, A+, 5 Star, take your pick. It's definitely one of those. 

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