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Monday 6 October 2014

‘The Ranger’ by Ace Atkins

 Published by Corsair, 
14 March 2013. 
ISBN: 978-1-4721-0031-3

Quinn Colson, Army Ranger, returns to his Mississippi home town from a tour of duty in Afghanistan to find that his uncle, the Sheriff, has committed suicide while  the house and farm left to him by the uncle is in the hands of a crooked smooth-as-butter wannabe-politician who started out life on the wrong side of the tracks.  This story is classic deep-south noir:  the loner returning home from the wars, determined to set things right, at least in his own patch, the general sense of small-town corruption, everyone scratching everyone else's back and looking out for Number One, the evil drug-running psychopath with his gang of wild and brutal followers.

However, this book stands out from the others in this sub-genre because it's peopled with a number of real – and amusing – eccentrics, from a mad old preacher to a crazy sex-mad octogenarian. This is trailer-park country, and Atkins does a good job of displaying the seediness and hopelessness that infest such communities, particularly for the women. 

When the rumours begin that the Sheriff uncle did not after all kill himself, when the farm that is rightfully his is burned down, when the cattle grazing on his fields are killed, when bodies start falling left, right and centre, Quinn Colson realizes he has a job to do, and sets out to do it.
Atkins writes really well, and I was drawn deeply into a part of the States where I would most definitely watch my back!"
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the forthcoming The Broken Places and Robert B. Parker's Wonderland
A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. In addition to numerous awards, Ace was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston's iconic private eye, Spenser. As a reporter, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics. In his next novels, Wicked City, Devil's Garden, and Infamous, blended first-hand interviews and original research into police and court records with tightly woven plots and incisive characters. The historical novels told great American stories by weaving fact and fiction into a colourful, seamless tapestry. The Broken Places, The Lost Ones, and The Ranger -- all part of the unfolding Quinn Colson saga -- represent a return to Ace's first love: hero-driven series fiction. Colson is a real hero--a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan--who comes home to north Mississippi to fight corruption on his home turf. The stories, contemporary tales with a dash of classic westerns and noir, are currently in development for a major television series.
Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan.

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