We all knew a That Guy from our younger years. The guy who isn’t necessarily a bad guy but always seems to get caught doing bad things. The guy who never has any luck. The guy who can’t catch a break.
Ace Atkins does a great job bringing a That Guy to life in Quinn Colson’s nemesis Donnie, while also revealing a little more of Colson’s back story to see how he nearly became That Guy. The contrast here worked well. I thought Donnie was going to be a stock redneck villain and that’s not the case. Two books in and I need to remind myself of how great Atkins is at defying expectations.
This one played out in a similar way to the first one: Atkins takes his time setting up the pieces, allowing for moments of action while the characters also try to suss out each others motives. He’s an intricate plotter but not a complex one. It allows for great characterization. I felt like I knew these people.
There’s also a deeper dive into Quinn’s past, especially how it relates to his sister Caddy. I didn’t like the method he used (and it could be potentially triggering for abuse survivors so beware) but I appreciate how he was able to get Quinn, a male character, a LEO and a retired army ranger, the paragon of masculinity to some, how he was not able to fully process his feelings without help.
My quibble here is the cartel angle. The cartels are, of course, really bad with an abundance of tattoos and stories about severed heads. One of the characters is fleshed out well, the rest…eh. Otherwise, this is another quality entry in a series I’m excited to read.