I’ve discovered the pattern in Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson series, this being book four: person from the past comes back to Tibbehah County, a lot of staring and some incidents happen and then it all leads up to a big bang. If these books weren’t so well-written, I’d probably be done with them but Ace Atkins keeps finding ways to make his world an interesting and readable one.
It helps that Quinn Colson, while being a tough guy Army Ranger sheriff, is also allowed to be human. He’s not the world’s greatest detective. He can’t always bring down the bad guys. He doesn’t take the law into his own hands. He’s a cipher to the world and the reader to a degree but Atkins does a great job of fusing his character with the poor, corrupt county he polices.
This one draws heavily on the blast-from-the-past angle and while the biker gang stuff didn’t do much for me, we got a good look at Quinn’s past through the case he’s investigating. It impacts his entire family in ways that set up real consequences for future tales.
I also enjoyed that Quinn’s nemesis Johnny Stagg hired a right hand man who’s ex-military and essentially Quinn’s mirror image. Watching those two figure each other out with large doses of both empathy and suspicion was fun.
The centerpiece of the mystery is a black person who was lynched and while his murder is not described in great detail, it could be traumatizing for some to read so be mindful.
Otherwise, if you like the series, this is another fine entry.