I first 'discovered' Ace Atkins with last year's release of The Ranger - the first book featuring Quinn Colson. I loved it and have been eagerly awaiting the next in this series. The Lost Onesis newly released and is just as good (or better) as the first one!
After ten years as an Army Ranger, Quinn Colson returned to his home town of Jericho in Tibbehah County, Mississippi. He's now the new sheriff in town. When a local doctor calls him about a child brought in with a head injury, Quinn and his chief deputy Lillie Virgil head out to investigate. What they find is an empty, filthy house. It looks like the residents were running a puppy mill...and a baby trafficking outfit. Donnie Varner, an old friend of Quinn, is doing his own trafficking as well - in guns. As Quinn and Lillie investigate, it looks like the two cases might have something - or someone - in common.
Atkins draws his characters so well. I have a firm picture in my mind of Quinn - a tough, loyal, cagey lawman who knows his county well. And umm, did I mention he's kind of (okay a lot) sexy too. Kind of that holdin' out for a hero vibe. Lillie is firmly planted in my mind as well - she's a female version of Quinn, although we see some vulnerability this time round. We also get to know some of Quinn's back story with flashbacks to his younger days with his sister Caddy.
The supporting cast is equally well drawn, with one-armed Boom standing out for me. In fact I found myself rooting for one of the 'bad guys', hoping he would get a break. The dialogue really fleshs out the mental pictures I've created. A lot of it is short and snappy, and quite humourous at times. Anything more involved would detract from the atmosphere Atkins has created. The setting is just as much of a character. Stark and gritty, Atkins brings to life a county beset by poverty, abuse and corruption.
The plotting is excellent, zigging just when I thought it would zag. Lots and lots of action, kept me frantically turning pages until I finished the book far too quickly.
So pull up a rocker, grab a glass of sweet tea, put your feet up on the railing and be prepared to set a spell. It's a hell of a read - one you won't want to put down.