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Publisher's Summary

Every morning, Boone Daniels is out with the Dawn Patrol: four men and one woman as single-minded about surfing as he is, or nearly. They have real jobs; Boone works as a P.I. just enough to keep himself in fish tacos and in the water.

But Boone is also obsessed with the unsolved case of a young girl named Rain who was abducted while he was with the San Diego police. He blames himself, just as almost everyone in the department did, for not being able to save her.

Unexpectedly, he finds himself with the chance to make amends, and this new investigation gives him a wilder ride than any he's ever imagined.

©2008 Don Winslow (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[A] terrific thriller....Winslow keeps raising the stakes, as well as the waves, for all involved." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Hannah
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 09-08-15

Don Winslow always surprises me

I assumed, because I am a terrible snob sometimes, that a suspense novel about surfing would have to be dumb. In fact I learned a whole lot about the deeper side of surfing and was drawn, as I always am, into the rich, odd characters that Winslow creates and consequently rediscovered the grace and humor and tough charm that he, so quirky in this genre, offers us in almost every one of his books.

52 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 11-14-15

Surfing as Catharsis Metaphor

There is a rhythm to this book's pacing, as if the sea's changing waves dictate its pace. Don Winslow tapped into this familiar harmonic, placing characters and plot astride a big longboard so we could all ride the waves.

This story of 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), and the soothing crooning of Ray Porter's voice as he adjusts our emotions with subtle shifts in timber.

If you have surfed, watched surfing, or wished you could try it someday; the reason for that near-mystical attraction to ride waves is explained in this novel - so to is the mystique of California's coast and wave riding history.

There is a lot in this book - great character twists, plot turns, over-the-falls action, devotion, transformation, an excellent close-out, and, of course, surfing. Surfer? Get it!! Not a surfer (definitely get it)!!

40 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I am from Encinitas, CA which is Don Winslow country. I love mysteries and surfing so I decided to check it out. I fell for this book right from the beginning. I loved Boone and his friends. I loved Winslow's storytelling.

But this book totally surprised me. It turned from light and even a little funny to intense and dark. I simply could not put it down. I was so drawn to the characters and the plot action and wanted to find out what happened to Boone and friends.

BTW, the narrator was just great and and really added to the enjoyment. I am reading Frankie Machine right now, by Winslow, and am really enjoying it.

Don Winslow is my favorite new author. Check it out.

51 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 07-29-15

Uncle Don's Slide Show

Winslow has the chops to play audience like a cello. But...

Imagine you've got an uncle who's a good photographer and insists you watch his summer slide show. And the pictures are lovely, but... how much lovely can you take?

The plot in Dawn Patrol is exciting, the cast interesting, and the narrative stimulating. But there are those damned deviations to look at Uncle Don's slides of Southern California. And while each of the little stories are pretty, they grow to become boring distractions away from the story arc. Pointlessly. Winslow wants to give us a poignant sense of place. Instead he gets syrupy and distracting.

I wish Winslow's editor had cut about 25% of those bursts of pretty descriptive slides away leaving a tighter story .Hey, I enjoyed Dawn Patrol but wish it had been better focused on the lead core of characters, location, and sense of moment. Ray Porter does make the cast come alive with potent acting talent.

57 of 61 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic book!

Where does The Dawn Patrol rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best, most enjoyable books that I have listened to in a long time, and I have listened to hundreds. The storyline is excellent, and the character and the story background descriptions are absolutely first rate.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Boone is probably my favorite character, although all of the characters were vividly portrayed and came totally alive in the book.

What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Ray is an excellent narrator. His ability to give each of the many characters, male an female, his or her own unique voice is remarkable. His inflections and timing are perfect.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As a man, I hate to admit to crying. However, I did. Not tears of sadness, but of joy and exultation at Sunny's success in riding the wave of her life. The narrative was so good, that I felt it was me riding that wave--and I have never been on a surf board in my life.

Any additional comments?

I was delighted to learn that Don has written many other books. This book was the first of his that I have "read," but now that I have finished it, I intend to listen to them all!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Not his best but....Ray Porter helped things

What did you like best about The Dawn Patrol? What did you like least?

At this point I've read many Don WInslow books and have enjoyed them all with various degrees of fulfillment. I'm very familiar with his formula, which I look forward to, however, this one was hard to get thru. The characters were there, but they weren't as developed as they usually are. The surfer backdrop sometimes got in the way and not because it was about surfing. I actually enjoy this part of Don. For some reason it felt more like he was daydreaming about a time gone past. Things just didn't tie together like they usually do. He would go off on a tangent and then pop back to the matter at hand, bringing nothing back with him that helped the story.There really should have been about 3 or 4 characters. In the end that's what it felt like.The best part, was the interaction between Boone and Petra.

Would you recommend The Dawn Patrol to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not, for the reasons already stated.

Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. It was typical and by typical I mean amazing.

Was The Dawn Patrol worth the listening time?

Unfortunately, I'd have to say no. LIke I said I've listened to many books by Don, roughly 7, and this one just didn't do it.

Any additional comments?

Don is still a favorite and I guess at some point the perfect Don listening streak had to end.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 09-28-17

Onto the beach, into the fog

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 is one of the big draws of Winslow. He easily delivers when it comes balancing between a page-turning plot, and laid-back details. I will jump into Don Winslow when I'm tired of wrestling with Vollmann or Gaddis. His characters are interesting, but at the margin they DO sometimes flirt with cliché. But overall? I liked it. It isn't Raymond Chandler, or Pynchon's Inherent Vice, but Winslow is edging closer to James Ellroy territory. And in Window's more brilliant moments (there are some in this book) and more brilliant books (Cartel, etc), he can sit easily with the most literary of crime writers.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Way cool!

I was blown away by the story, the characters, the humor. It is fast paced and clever. Ray Porter is magnificent with the linguistics.

32 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 03-12-09

Fun Ride

Fun story. Usually like the author and wasn't disappointed. Story surrounding a surfing community is cool and gives story a feel good vibe. Great reader too. So what's not to like.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Really Entertaining

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would highly recommend this tail to all mystery buffs. This story is much like board riding, you can bet the story takes turns that challenges your equilibrium.

What did you like best about this story?

This story tends to lead you by the nose; right off a cliff. You get led down the story line until your sure you know what comes next, then the script turns a sharp left and you are left hanging out wondering why you didn't see that change coming.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved it when Sunny blew everyone out of the water. Hard work paid off in spades. I also remember sitting on my board in the early morning just off Mission Bay, waiting on a wave as the Sun broke over the horizon - an incredible peaceful feeling.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Remembering San Diego, the beach and water. Good times from long ago.

Any additional comments?

Don Windlow is a great story teller. I would say he is a perfect cross between Chris Grabenstein and Clive Cussler. This story starts out light and even humorous then turns very dark before good over comes evil. Mr. Porter is a master narrator. He has mastered many voices, dialects, and cultures. Mr. Porter is the verbal equivalent of the "Rolling Stones."

19 of 23 people found this review helpful