If you’ve read only a few of Don Winslow’s books, you may not realize what a shape-shifter he is ...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 ... The feeling of brokenness is palpable here, and it’s a big part of the author’s sensibility when he isn’t being clever ... 'Broken,' the novella that opens the book...[is] well executed and propulsive, but its unalloyed viciousness makes it a tough read for the moment ... 'Broken' would work better if it had more context. But there’s only so much Winslow can do with a 60-page format and a lot of varied physical damage on the menu.
Like a home run derby or an all-star game where great talent turns up to flex and pivot, to dazzle the audience with a low-stakes performance, Don Winslow’s new story collection is an enjoyable showcase of the author’s myriad talents, but it’s missing something you might have come to expect from his recent work: it’s missing the sense of risk ... what we get here with Broken is the portrait of an author having fun ... opening story, 'Broken', is both a skilled piece of writing and the worst thing in the book: the story is fast-paced, it’s exciting, and it ends with a brilliantly orchestrated crescendo of violence—but it amounts to nothing more than noise and blood, a watered-down version of Winslow’s epic NYPD novel from 2016, The Force...It’s a harrowing start to the book, because it raises the question of whether an author of ambitious tomes can forget the subtler craft of a small-scale story ... There’s definitely an urgency, in Broken, of somebody frothing with stories to tell; these are, in fact, novellas, if you wanna get technical, and every single one feels like it could have been a novel but for the fact that its author’s appreciative of the fact that you and he both only have so much time on this earth ... It’s a testament to a writer’s talent when the most scathing thing you can say about his latest release is that it isn’t as good as his last one ... If somebody proves to be great company, as Winslow certainly has over the years, you take that company as readily for a three-course meal as you do for a beer...Broken goes down more like a beer. A good one.
Winslow takes a breather from the intensely dark depictions of violence in his Cartel crime trilogy, but he still provides plenty of action to satisfy readers. The six little doses of crime fiction here run the gamut from gritty, bloody thrillers to a humorous encounter with a gun-wielding chimpanzee ... The bulk of the tales here include serious and cautionary themes of corruption, vengeance, loss and redemption. But time and again, Winslow creates deeply believable characters by highlighting their desires and the setbacks to fulfilling those desires — goals to which readers can easily relate ... Longtime readers will be especially happy to see some of his recurring characters making return appearances here...But rest assured, if you haven’t encountered Winslow’s cast before, you won’t feel lost. Winslow takes deliberate care to make each character and story stand alone.
One of the masters of both mystery and thriller, Don Winslow’s latest volume is a reading bonanza: a collection of six crime-focused short novels (‘novellas’ feels too fancy for a writer so unpretentious) that riffs off the genre with technical virtuosity, building to a staggering immersion in the possibilities of the form. It’s a hugely enjoyable crash course in the chameleon-like possibilities of crime; a whizz of a read ... Winslow’s writing is fuelled by anger, fury, cynicism and amusement at the mess that people make. Even when his scale is miniature, as with the short novels in Broken, his scope encompasses the complex evils and flashes of good in modern society, dealing in ambiguity and uncertainty ... what Winslow does here, and in the stories that follow, is somehow make you believe in the characters and their world, although it could not be further from the direct experience of his readers. The tales are jammed with information, painlessly conveyed ... These novels are about America now, and each of Winslow’s stories is satisfyingly complex: not always redemptive, but clear in its trajectory. The good guys often get hurt. Acute in its observations, the collection asks to be savoured slowly: each of the six has a short word count, but a long reach. This review is really a fan letter. Just read.
Exhibiting a remarkable range, they reveal that he’s just as good at sprints as long distances, is as adept at mimicking screwball capers as mobster movies, and can charm as well as chill ... Cormac McCarthy may be an influence on this modern-day western, and other stories are dedicated to 'Mr Elmore Leonard' and 'Mr Raymond Chandler'. While it’s not hard to see parallels — Leonard’s dialogue-driven storytelling, Chandler’s West Coast backdrops — the homages serve to highlight what sets Winslow’s writing apart: his detailed understanding of criminal and police MOs, and an exhilarating ability to switch equally convincingly between detectives’ and villains’ perspectives ... A dazzling display of versatility, this set of novellas shows Winslow to be an author who, at 66, has hit his prime just when his top-flight thriller-writing peers appear to be either in decline or dropping out.
... arresting ... The best of the lot feature Winslow’s slick, inventive plotting, and several familiar and seductive characters ... In a sweet reward for those who’ve been reading the guy since the dawn of time, Boone Daniels and his Pacific Beach surfing buddies from 'The Dawn Patrol' return in 'Sunset' ... Winslow has been relentlessly outspoken about those detention camps...Strickland is a vehicle for that frustration when he is inexplicably drawn to Luz Gonsalvez, an abandoned 6-year-old in the Clint cages, and tries to locate her Salvadoran mother. But 60 pages, the basic ration in 'Broken,' isn’t nearly enough to detail the emotional journey of this conservative cowboy, or the apathy and malevolence of those who stand between that 6-year-old and one last, glorious reunion.
... a splendid chance to witness one of America’s great crime authors flexing his literary muscles ... It sounds bleak, but these stories will take you through a full gamut of emotions. Yes, there’s fear, heartbreak, anger and disgust. But there’s humour too, with laughter, hope and satisfying – if not happy – endings. In most cases, anyhow. The books are also a literary tour of the United States that takes in New Orleans, San Diego, Hawaii and borderland Texas. Yeehaw ... The cops-and-crims side of crime fiction is something Don Winslow has nailed ... These are clever tales, with a lot of Winslow’s zingy humour, where the violence is dialled down and the smarts are dialled up, on both sides of the law ... Every plot twist, every minor character, every one-liner – Winslow will enthral you in every possible way ... an outstanding collection of novellas – it’s as simple as that.
... takes us on a journey through the author’s history and shows what a stone cold master he is ... The stories all sing, all a pleasure to read. Some more than others. The weakest is the lead story from which the book takes its name- a gritty cop revenge tale called Broken. It’s as compelling and page turning as everything Winslow writes but feels like a movie you might watch on HBO in 1987...It’s style recalls his gut wrenching the novel The Force but with none of the nuance or moral complexity ... Others are pure magic ... A new Don Winslow book is a gift anytime it comes. Even more so a book that comes at a time when we are all alone, trying to keep away the bad thoughts while struggling for meaning and answers. A book that brings you joy, makes you laugh and makes you ponder is a balm for the soul.
If you haven’t read American writer Don Winslow, Broken is all the introduction you need. In six novellas, each different in focus and mood, Winslow showcases his best moves. These stories may worry you – the first, Broken, is the most confronting – but then, as Winslow makes clear, America itself is indeed broken ... will make you laugh and cry, but in the end will explain why The New York Times thinks Winslow is simply 'the greatest'. Not forgetting, of course, his prose. He crafts every sentence until it beats to a rhythm of its own ... The humour may be gentle but it is acute ... devastating and brilliant.
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.
Don Winslow, whose work includes a dozen of the finest crime novels written in the last 20 years, displays all of his strengths, including propulsive narration, compelling characters and a tight, staccato writing style, in Broken,a collection of six remarkable novellas ... The tales, three of them appropriately dedicated to Elmore Leonard, Steve McQueen, and Raymond Chandler, all unfold at a torrid pace that will leave readers both satisfied and wishing for more.
After three epic-scale masterpieces...Winslow returns with a delicious serving of small plates. Bookending several novellas that reunite fans with characters from previous Winslow novels are two hard-hitting tales ... The power of these two tales notwithstanding, Winslow’s devotees may find themselves relishing even more the exquisitely entertaining nostalgia trips on offer in the middle stories, which bring back, among others, those irrepressible aging surfers from The Dawn Patrol...and The Gentlemen’s Hour as well as everybody’s favorite marijuana growers, Ben, Chon, and O, from Savages and The Kings of Cool A greatest-hits album but with all-new melodies: what could be sweeter?!
There are so many good lines in these yarns. How could the reader resist The San Diego Zoo’s opener: 'Nobody knows how the chimp got the revolver'? ... Each storyline will keep readers entertained with wit, humor, and occasional sadness. Finally, in The Last Ride, a Border Patrol agent simply wants to return one Salvadoran girl to her mother. The tale is sad and powerful as it comes back to the theme that everyone is broken somehow ... A great collection of short crime fiction.
The six crime novellas in this disappointing collection from bestseller Winslow...lack the superior plotting and forceful prose of the author’s best work ... Readers should be prepared for graphic violence and staccato prose ... Winslow fans will hope for a return to form next time.