The new Ace Atkins novel featuring ex-Ranger-turned-Sheriff Quinn Colson came out on May 30, and I have to say, it’s a winner. The Broken Places is a much more focused and compelling narrative than Atkins’ book The Lost Ones, and easily rivals his first Colson outing, The Ranger. Both previous books were nominated for MWA Edgars for Best Novel; you can read my reviews here (Ranger) and here (Lost Ones).
The plot’s compelling. Quinn’s sister Caddy has cleaned up her act, is back in town with her son, and has a new love interest: fundamentalist preacher Jamey Dixon. The downside: Dixon’s a murderer who found Jesus in prison. Is it all a con? And what’s going to happen when Esau Davis and Bones McGee get to town? Their prison break was successful, they’re armed and dangerous, and they think Dixon is their key to big money. Talk about tension.
Of course, recurring characters recur and are used effectively: Quinn’s married soul-mate, Anna Lee, is back in his life, further messing with Quinn’s mind. Buddy Boom is on hand for heavy lifting and unquestioning support. And nemesis Johnny Stagg’s involved with the Dixon-Davis-McGee storyline, stirring the pot and making the most of a big situation. Add a tornado to ratchet up the tension, and The Broken Places is a book you won’t want to put down.