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Brilliant surfer crime fiction: The Gentlemen’s Hour by Don Winslow

Don Winslow

Don Winslow is an American author. He is most recognized for his crime and mystery novels. Many of his books are set in California. He has published a series of five novels that have a private investigator named Neal Carey as their main character.

Don Winslow


  • 1991: A Cool Breeze on the Underground
  • 1992: The Trail to Buddha’s Mirror
  • 1993: Way Down on the High Lonely
  • 1994: A Long Walk Up the Water Slide
  • 1995: While Drowning in the Desert
  • 1996: Isle of Joy
  • 1997: Death and Life of Bobby Z
  • 1999: California Fire and Life
  • 2004: Looking for a Hero (with Peter Maslowski)
  • 2005: The Power of the Dog
  • 2006: The Winter of Frankie Machine
  • 2008: The Dawn Patrol
  • 2009: The Gentlemen’s Hour
  • 2010: Savages

See also Don Winslow’s website.

In Dawn Patrol, Don Winslow introduced us to Boone Daniels, The Gentlemen's Hour, Don Winslow a very laid-back ex-cop turned private investigator, and a man with a talent for detection. Boone Daniels is a likeable, sharp guy, and has a passion for surfing as well. A very interesting protagonist indeed.

And now we get to meet him again, in The Gentlemen’s Hour. Times are tough for private investigators – there is little work for our PI, and Boone has plenty of time on his hands. So his life revolves around his surfing sessions. However, one day at the beach, Daniels stays on into what is known as “the gentlemen’s hour”, when older surfers come and do their stuff, and is approached by a millionaire surfer named Dan Nichols. Nichols, it turns out, has a new case for Boone. And Boone needs a new case.

The millionaire believes his wife is cheating on him. And now he wants to find out if it is true, and if it is, he wants evidence. This is not exactly the kind of job Boone loves the most, and under other circumstances he would have said no. But times are tough, and he needs money and takes the job. And then, of course, once he has said yes to one job, many more come his way. And in the case of the suspected cheating, he quickly discovers that Nichols had it right – he is being cheated. So he considers the job done and over – until, that is, the man Nichols’ wife cheated him with turns up dead with a hole in his head.

Don Winslow is a great writer, quite noir in his style, and he knows how to tell a tale in a way that makes it intriguing and suspenseful. And on July 23, when the shortlist for The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2010 was announced, The Gentlemen’s Hour was on the list! No big surprise, but noteworthy even so.

The characters in Winslow’s books – and in this one as well – are cool, bright, have humor and are believable, and some of them are very fun as well. Also, the action is quite fast and intense, so the book is actually hard to put down. The Gentlemen’s Hour is very, very enjoyable, and Don Winslow is now high on my list of authors to watch: He can make me alternate between biting my nails and laughing out loud while sitting alone in the back yard. I strongly recommend him and this book in particular! So go get his book – it is hot and may well soon be a CWA Dagger winner!

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