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The Fallen: A Quinn Colson Novel


The Fallen: A Quinn Colson Novel

I came to the conclusion a while ago --- it might have been when he wrote WICKED CITY --- that Ace Atkins can do no wrong. The latest exhibit in support of that proposition has just dropped. It is titled THE FALLEN and is part of the Quinn Colson series. It may or may not be the best of the seven installments thus far, but it is certainly my favorite. And not because of Quinn Colson, either.

Sure, I like Quinn just fine. He is an ex-Ranger who is the Sheriff of Tibbehah County, and is smart enough to choose his battles as he navigates the criminal and political landscapes in and around the county and Jericho, its county seat. It’s a wise choice, particularly when one of the main industries in the area is a truckstop/gentleman’s club with a short stay motel just across the state highway. Quinn is understated but competent (think Marshal Dillon on “Gunsmoke”) and could get better employment elsewhere, but he has a debt to the family and the soil where he was raised. What’s not to like?

"If for some reason you are not reading this fine series, you can jump on right here before moving on back and picking up on the others in order."

What is interesting about THE FALLEN is that Atkins gives all of the best lines in the novel (well, most of them anyway, and there is a passel of them) to Lillie Virgil, his predecessor and now assistant sheriff. If you would like to have some textbook examples of how to write dialogue and have a good time doing it, pick up this book and give it a read, as Quinn, Lillie and a fine supporting cast have their world torn up and turned upside down in a story that begins with the Jericho bank being robbed with military precision by a trio of bank robbers wearing very distinctive masks. This isn’t their first rodeo, by any means, nor is it their last, and they leave everyone from Quinn and his deputies to the FBI flummoxed at every turn.

Of course, THE FALLEN is about much more than a team of bank robbers, given Jericho’s culture and history, and while one might expect that one event ties in with another, most of the fun here is seeing just how this relates with that. The reader can see a glimmer of the end coming, just a little over halfway through the book, when an offhand revelation at a zoo, of all places, demonstrates that things between Quinn and the robbers --- one of them in particular --- are on an inevitable collision course, one that you might not have seen coming. As I said, though, that only provides a glimmer of the ending.

Atkins sets off a string of explosions that leads the novel to its conclusion, and not all of them will make you happy. There was one in particular --- you will know it when you see it --- that compelled me to make sure I hadn’t gotten it wrong. I hadn’t. It’s only a story, but it still brought me way down. As for the last few paragraphs, Atkins sets something up, something grand and explosive and violent and wonderful, I’m sure.

If for some reason you are not reading this fine series, you can jump on right here before moving on back and picking up on the others in order. Atkins does a fine job of bringing newcomers up to snuff while helping readers who are older in experience and age fill in the blanks in cheesecloth memory as to what has gone before. Just don’t get too attached to anyone in THE FALLEN, because not everyone who is there at the beginning is present at the end. Still, this latest installment is strongly recommended.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 21, 2017

The Fallen: A Quinn Colson Novel
by Ace Atkins

  • Publication Date: November 27, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 039957672X
  • ISBN-13: 9780399576720