Monday, July 24, 2017

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: The Ranger by Ace Atkins

I have a couple of the books from this series as part of the massive tbr pile that was moved to the house. Just have not had time to read them yet. Aubrey Hamilton has and has read some of them including the first book which is the subject of her review today.

Most people know Ace Atkins through his fictionalized true crime books and his continuation of the Spenser series through the Robert B. Parker estate. I read his books about Nick Travers, the jazz-loving ex-football player, years ago, so I recognized his name when I found one of his Quinn Colson books in my book bag at a conference. I was enthralled with the portrayal of a small town and its residents in the South, caught between its history and the incursion of the 21st century. Viewers of the FX series Justified will recognize the scenario.

I found the first book in the series recently and realized that I started with book 3 or 4 and never got around to seeing how the saga began. In this initial volume Quinn Colson returns to his hometown in northeastern Mississippi to attend the funeral of his uncle after 10 years as an Army Ranger in the Middle East. He finds a town overrun by meth dealers, a thriving strip joint at the local truck stop, and a corrupt local politician claiming his uncle’s estate. His mother is caring for a toddler, the son of Quinn’s unmarried sister, who has an ongoing drug problem and who has disappeared again. Quinn’s long-time girlfriend, who dumped him while he was overseas to marry the local doctor, doesn’t seem to be finished with Quinn despite the presence of her husband. Deputy sheriff Lillie Virgil prods Quinn to investigate his uncle’s death. Gun-toting goons are everywhere.

This book wasn’t as satisfying to read as the others in the series, despite the high quality of the writing. Perhaps because all it does is set the framework for future books and I picked that up as I read the succeeding titles. The good guy comes home to clean house premise is predictable and a bit tiresome. However, the following books are very good. I spoke to Ace Atkins briefly at Bouchercon last fall, and he said he was focusing hard on this series, which was clear to me as each book is better than the previous one. The setting is somewhat bleak and many of the people are unlikable, but this is an exceptional series. The Ranger is a good place to start for anyone unfamilar with Quinn Colson. 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (June 2011)
·         ISBN-13: 9780425247495
ISBN-10: 042524749X

Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.


Larry W. Chavis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry W. Chavis said...

Love the Quinn Colson series.