The Ranger by Ace Atkins
The Ranger by Ace Atkins

Genre: Suspense, Crime Fiction
Series: #1 in the Quinn Colson series
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 334
Source: Copy provided by publisher

The Short Version:
Army Ranger Quinn Colson returns to his hometown in Northern Mississippi for his uncle’s funeral, but discovers both unanswered questions and plenty of trouble brewing in town.

Why I Read It:
I’d read a couple of Atkins earlier books from the Nick Travers series and liked their noir-ish feel. When I heard that this newest book from him was the first in a new series I didn’t hesitate to say yes when I had the opportunity to read it.

The Book:
Quinn Colson returns home to small town Northern Mississipi for his uncle’s funeral. His uncle was the local Sheriff and for Quinn he was a father figure taking the place of Quinn’s own absent father. When his old friend Lillie (who is now a Sheriff’s deputy) shares her suspicions about the death, Quinn starts asking questions. Soon he discovers that his hometown is not only struggling with economic troubles, but is also home to corrupt politicians, meth labs and a crazy separatist group leader training his gang for a race war.

In this mix of old friends and new enemies, Quinn sets out to save the family land from a corrupt politician and find out the truth about his uncle’s death.

My Thoughts:
I’m already eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. Quinn Colson is a great character. His career as an Army Ranger is at a crossroads and he’s not happy to be out of the action and he’s now an instructor after being in the thick of things in Afghanistan. The training comes in handy when he goes up against a great cast of bad guys in his hometown.

This is a wonderful blend of old fashioned western and contemporary mystery that’s thick with Southern atmosphere. Quinn is a hero in the mode of Jack Reacher but with a hometown and roots. The secondary characters are great. I spent half the book reading with my fingers crossed and thinking “please don’t kill off ____” because I want that character to be back in the next book.

Lillie Virgil is the female deputy with heart and Boom Kimbrough is a National Guard vet back home minus his right arm thanks to an IED in Iraq. Quinn’s ex-girlfriend who is now married to his high school friend is still a bit more entwined in Quinn’s life than he’d like. Lena, the pregnant teen brings out the protector in Quinn and I found myself rooting for her to make the right choices as the story went on. All of these characters are interesting and round out Quinn’s past and present in a way that keeps him the central character without being a total loner.

Atkins has created a hero I like and in this book set him against a group of villains that keep the story changing direction and moving along. It’s fast paced but at the same time is establishing Quinn and his background to set up for a series that I will be reading. I’m going to pass this one on to The Hubster because this is a series that we’ll both enjoy.

Rating 4/5