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The Dawn Patrol, By Don Winslow

The private investigator is, by convention, a romantic figure, a free spirit, and in this witty and enjoyable crime thriller, Winslow has stretched that convention to the limits. Daniel Boone is a surfer and a prominent figure in the San Diego beach community. He drives a beat-up old van called the Boonemobile, and his friends are all surfers too, with names such as Johnny Banzai.

The question is, can Boone solve his latest case, which involves a stripper who fell to her death from a hotel balcony, another stripper who's gone missing, and a captive tribe of trafficked Mexican girls, in time to catch the epic macking crunchie (surfbonics for a really big wave) that's heading San Diego way? Boone is a great creation – apparently lazy and laid-back but with unsuspected qualities of heart, muscle and intellect (he has a secret passion for Dostoevsky). His romance with the beautiful, uptight city lawyer Petra Hall is classic Lady and the Tramp stuff – corny, but it works. Does he wrap up his case in time to surf the wave? Take this to the beach with you and find out.