Friday, May 8, 2020

“The Last Ride” by Don Winslow


His daddy used to say that most people will do what’s right when it don’t cost much, but very few will do what’s right when it costs a lot.

Noted crime author, Don Winslow, released a volume of six novellas titled Broken. Five of these hew to his usual terse and quick-reading style and a few of them go so far as to bring back characters from past novels for another go around.

I have enjoyed Mr. Winslow much in the past, but I would be a liar if I didn’t say that this felt a bit by the numbers. It is well done mathematics but, all the same, nothing exactly new.

That is, until the last novella: “The Last Ride.”

Here Winslow takes a shot at a neo-Western in the tale of a Border Patrol agent wrestling with questions of right and wrong and the border between duty and honor.

Does it have a political bent that may rile some?

It does at that, as Mr. Winslow is not shy about his opinions. One must offer him the grace that his opinions come from a very informed place.

So how does he do in the western genre? 

Pretty damn well. This is easily the high-water mark of this volume for this reader.
It limns a complex character in almost iconic strokes and renders personal integrity in elegiac terms. 

Although it goes its own way it calls to mind Edward Abbey’s splendid The Brave Cowboy.

I’ll not rate the entire volume but this story is an easy A.

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