04 August 2009

The Dawn Patrol

by Don Winslow

Another book that I'm reading for a book club. The guy at the bookstore described it as "surfing crime noir." I commented that that was possibly the most specific genre I'd ever heard of. Is there actually more than one book that would fall into this category?

The book was okay. Fairly fast-paced, and definitely an easy, quick read. I bought it on a whim, based entirely on the bookstore guy's recommendation, and the fact that because I'd just been to San Diego the weekend before, and I thought it would be intriguing to read about a place I'd just visited.

My main problem with Mr. Winslow is that he jerks back and forth between plot development and backstory and information-sharing. I appreciate his chapter-long, scientific explanations of how waves work, and his description of this specific section of the 101 highway in California, and the fact that he inserts chapters here and there to explain something that happened years before. All of these things help me understand the characters and the setting. Nothing wrong with including them.

Here's the thing: For some reason, he decided to insert these soliloquys right in the middle of the action. Literally, something big is about to happen, then there's 8 or 10 pages of blah-blah-blah, and then the next chapter starts and that big something happens. Only, I have forgotten by that point that something exciting is about to happen, and I have to go back and read the lead-up again so that I remember. It makes for herky-jerky reading, and it makes for a lot of flipping back and forth, is all I'm saying.

This is probably the crime version of chick-lit. Not challenging to read, doesn't require a lot of thought. A good summertime read; would have been perfect if I'd been lying on the sand instead of contemplating my return to work the next day.

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