I’ve more or less binged Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson series while in quarantine. These books are perfect for the middlebrow crime lover: good dialogue, believable characters, textured but not complicated plot, and either a refreshing take or at least not a boring rehash of genre tropes. When suggested to me over the years, I assumed these would be Walking Tall ripoffs but they’re not. Atkins is a quality writer and he creates characters with real depth. Perhaps most crucially: he lets his male characters have complicated emotions. Even if they come out in dialogue or internal monologue, we get a sense that the tough guy act is a facade, born from their hardbitten (frequently racist) ancestors who never felt good enough.
Although it gets the same 4-star rating as the others, this is probably my favorite of the series. The criminals verge on the screwball type reminiscent of Elmore Leonard but Atkins always makes sure to note how their machinations are steeped in lower class southern hardship. You root against them but you also feel bad for them. Atkins also does a good job continuing to build the world of Tibbehah, making it feel like a real place, almost a character in the story itself.
Aside from the predictable shootout, which was a bit too cinematic for my taste, I really liked the ending here. Five novels in and it’s probably high time for the chessboard to be rearranged. Atkins does a great job of it. I was hanging off every word.
Gonna probably take a small break here from them and let it sit before I get to the back half (apparently, there’s a 10th book coming out this year so I’m halfway through).