MYSTERY

Broken

Morrow. Apr. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062988904. $27.99. THRILLER
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Crime novelist Winslow (The Force; “Cartel” trilogy) expands his repertoire with a collection of crime novellas, some of them loosely connected. The first three entries are the strongest. “Broken” has a cop family exacting revenge when their youngest member is tortured and killed by a drug lord. “Crime 101” is a pleasurable cat-and-mouse game played by a jewel thief and an erudite cop, Lou Lubesnick. Lubesnick makes an appearance in the comical “The San Diego Zoo,” which has a hapless patrolman chasing an armed chimp and his pretty handler. The other stories have high points, too: surfing and surf culture is lovingly described in “Sunset” and “Paradise,” which skews a bit colonialist and features too many plot contrivances. The final piece, “The Last Ride,” is a moving but clichéd story about a Texas border lawman who tries to do the right thing against all odds. Winslow’s women are as tough as the men, and the author does a good job conveying the “dance of the sexes” but inhabits the men’s heads better and more believably.
VERDICT Fans of the author will eat up these neat, taut, action-packed stories, told in staccato sentences and one-line paragraphs. Newcomers to Winslow’s world will hope to see more of Lubesnick—or almost any of the characters still standing after the stories end.

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