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The Gentlemen's Hour
by Don Winslow

Release Date: 16th Jul 2009
Publisher: William Heinemann
ISBN: 978 0 4340 1925 0
RRP: £12.99

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Surfs up... in this rip-tide of a thriller...

Boone is an ex-cop who gave up the badge after a young girl disappeared (Rain) and the perp skipped town and disappeared just like Rain. Now an underemployed PI, barely scraping by, Boone’s life is all about the water and “The Dawn Patrol” (a diverse group of surfers and close friends).

The Gentlemen’s Hour follows Boone as he agrees to work on the defence team of the controversial murder case of K2 (a local surfer legend). Whilst this would appear to be against the grain for him to do so, Boone not only becomes intrigued by Corey’s story, but also finds himself doubting the kid’s culpability. Corey, a kid from the right side of the tracks, with a wealthy father and privileged upbringing gets embroiled in the “Rockpile Crew”, a nasty group of neo-Nazi, white supremists. Supposedly, Corey threw a single punch at K2 who winds up dead. The only trouble is Boone is having a hard time envisaging Corey having the cajones to do the deed.

In the background, Mexican gang bangers have moved into San Diego and things are starting to heat up, with several decapitated bodies showing up. Then there is the recent surfer acquaintance, from the “Gentlemen’s Hour”, Dan Nichols, who asks Boone to undertake a matrimony case. When it turns out that Mrs Nichols is indeed doing the dirty with a middle-aged soil consultant, Boone thinks little of it – just another marriage down the toilet – until that same middle-aged soil consultant turns up with a hole in his head.

Winslow weaves a great story, full of fun and tongue-in-cheek witticisms, surfer jargon and “in” humour, which admittedly is occasionally disorientating for anyone land-based, but also makes the friendship between the Dawn Patrol compatriots all the more real. There are some cracking characters in The Gentlemen’s Hour, not least the kooky reclusive billionaire known as “Cheerful”, or the spontaneously feisty defence attorney, Petra Hall. Winslow’s tight prose and short, sharp dialogue winds up the plot like a spring and when it’s let loose – the results are intense! Vastly entertaining and a certain favourite this summer, The Gentlemen’s Hour is a few hours well spent.

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