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Don Winslow. Morrow, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-298890-4

The six crime novellas in this disappointing collection from bestseller Winslow (the Cartel trilogy) lack the superior plotting and forceful prose of the author’s best work. The opening of the weak title story suggests that the focus will be on New Orleans 911 dispatcher Eva McNabb, the wife of a tough, abusive ex-cop, and the mother of two current police officers, but it shifts to the two sons. Jimmy McNabb’s disruption of a major meth shipment has tragic unintended consequences that set his family on a path toward bloody revenge in a story that prioritizes action over depth of characterization. Other selections offer nothing particularly new. In “Crime 101,” a dogged police lieutenant pursues a thief targeting jewelry couriers in California; in “The San Diego Zoo,” the one light-hearted entry, a humane cop tries to disarm an escaped chimp that managed to get its hands on a gun without injuring the primate. Readers should be prepared for graphic violence and staccato prose (“Harold’s shotgun is at his hip./It blasts the would-be shooter into the wall./The doors close”). Winslow fans will hope for a return to form next time. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (Apr.)