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If you are a big fan of Don Winslow, like I am, you can now quit holding your breath. His newest book, “Broken,” has just been released. It’s not quite a novel, being billed as six short novels (or as I think of them, novellas), but there are three short novels that are interconnected (as a couple of the characters are seen in all three) to each other. That’s not to say that you can’t jump around when you read this book, but it’s best if you read novels two, three and four in order.

Three of these short novels, “Broken”, “Crime 101” and “The Last Ride” introduce new individuals to Winslow’s already existing stable of characters. The other three remaining short novels reintroduce the reader to some of characters from Winslow’s previous novels. We catch up on the activities of The Dawn Patrol, the cast of his novel “Savages” and individuals, from their own novels, like Bobby Z and Frankie Machine. Not having read any of Winslow’s novels published prior to “The Power of the Dog”, I had to do some research on folks like Nick Carey, Ben, Chon and O.

There are two serious stories in this book. The title novel “Broken” deals with the revenge extracted on a New Orleans drug gang for the murder of a NOLA police officer. Of course, the murdered cop’s brother, who heads up the drug unit within the police force, and his crew do the deed. The other novel, “The Last Ride”, tells the story of a former cowboy and soldier turned Border Patrol agent in Texas and his efforts to restore one of the children in his custody to her mother living in Mexico. “The Last Ride” is a powerful indictment of the existing situation along our southern border and the toll it takes not only on illegal immigrant children but on the agents tasked with taking care of these children in cages.

“Crime 101”, “The San Diego Zoo” and “Sunset” are lighter-hearted, interconnected short novels that deal with all manner of crimes from the activities of a master jewel thief, to an escaped chimpanzee armed with a revolver, to an aging surfer dude who is also a drug dealer.

If you’ve never read Don Winslow, then now’s your chance to get a taste of his writing, in short batches. You just never know; you might like his style. If you are already a fan, then you can get a quick Winslow fix and reacquaint yourself with some old friends from previous novels. I highly recommend anything written by Don Winslow, especially “Broken”!

Bill Patton is a bibliophile extraordinaire, man about town and Friend of the Cabell County Library.

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