Broken is something different: a collection of six novellas that feature characters we have encountered before. The good news? Winslow proves to be as adroit with these forms as with his arm-straining epics. In the pulse-racing title story, a tough group of New Orleans narcotics cops undertake a bloody revenge mission, while in “The Last Ride” a border patrol agent tries to reunite a kidnapped Mexican child with her mother. In pared-down Hemingway-esque prose, every one of these pieces is top-drawer Winslow — and they will do nicely until the next hefty tome.
Ben, Chon and O, the “ethical” dope dealers first met in Winslow’s 2010 novel Savages, cause havoc in Hawaii when they attempt to grow their business. Finally, The Last Ride straddles the Tex-Mex border, where patrolman Cal Strickland tries to reunite a refugee girl with her mother. It ends in tears (the reader’s). This is an outstanding sextet in which — praise be! — “love and loyalty trump the law”. It is fast, furious and very funny.
Winslow has now delivered a collection of six novellas that show off his range. It’s called “Broken,” after the first (and weakest) story in the bunch. A better title might have come from the next one, “Crime 101” — an elegantly choreographed pas de deux that is dedicated to “Mr. Steve McQueen,” and that lives up to that level of cool. It certainly captures Winslow’s stature as a writer from whom others can learn the ropes.