“The Redeemers” (Putnam), by Ace Atkins
The sense of justice and righteousness that Sheriff Quinn Colson has brought to his tenure in Mississippi’s Tibbehah County is drawing to a close in Ace Atkins’ gripping new novel, “The Redeemers.” But the fifth installment in this series is more than a look at Quinn’s last days as sheriff, having lost the election to a nice, but incompetent man who was the town criminal’s candidate of choice.
“The Redeemers” also explores Quinn’s unwavering moral code, his sense of the law, even his own failings and fragility. A strong work ethic also weaves through the novel as Quinn believes in a job well done, even in his twilight days as sheriff.
As Quinn packs up his office, he also is focused on family issues. His sister, Caddy, is back on drugs, still reeling from the murder of her fiance, and their father, Jason, who left decades ago, has returned.
Without Quinn, crime will be more rampant in Tibbehah County and the town of Jericho. Local businessman Mickey Walls has assembled a few inept criminals to open the safe of his ex-father-in-law, Larry Cobb. While attempts to break into the safe border on the absurd, Atkins doesn’t stoop to cheap laughs as he maintains the serious story lines in “The Redeemers.” Atkins shows how lawlessness that simmers just below the surface can erupt when people without a conscience can move unfettered by the law.
Atkins’ Quinn series has been twice nominated for an Edgar Award, and “The Redeemers” continues those high standards. Atkins delves deeply into each character’s motives, making each a believable person. Jericho tries to rise above corruption, but crime keeps the town at its lowest level. A thrilling chase through the woods shows the beauty and ferocity of nature while bringing back Quinn and Caddy’s memories of a childhood trauma.
Atkins, who also is continuing the late Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, showcases his storytelling versatility with “The Redeemers.”