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The Redeemers: A Quinn Colson Novel


The Redeemers: A Quinn Colson Novel

It occurred to me as I was reading THE REDEEMERS that someone should make a cable series out of Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson novels. The book series has been one of the best out there since its inception. The latest installment, though, has a definite cinematic feel to it, one that is framed by its opening paragraph and echoes forward throughout the book. Atkins, who never brings less than his “A” game to the party, somehow kicks things up yet another notch here, with the introduction of some new and very colorful characters (you know people like this) as frame-by-frame he wraps up some long-running storylines while beginning another one at story’s end.  

THE REDEEMERS begins in fine form with the aftermath of a momentous meeting that resonates throughout the book and ultimately influences the series itself. Mickey Walls and Kyle Hazlewood are a couple of small businessmen in Jericho, Mississippi. They’ve just finished eating a meal at a local restaurant when Walls raises the issue of a shared grievance. Both men have had problems with Larry Cobb, a successful but unscrupulous entrepreneur in the area. This is particularly true of Walls, who at one time was Cobb’s son-in-law.

"Atkins, who never brings less than his 'A' game to the party, somehow kicks things up yet another notch here, with the introduction of some new and very colorful characters..."

Cobb, in happier times and in a drunken moment, had revealed to Walls that he had a large safe full of cash in his bedroom closet. Walls enlists Hazlewood in a caper to rob the safe with the proceeds to be split evenly. Hazlewood readily agrees, but is extremely unhappy when Walls brings in Peewee and Chase Clanton, an uncle-nephew team of safecrackers from Alabama who are members of a notorious outlaw family. Indeed, the duo is both more and less than the reputations that precede them, all of it being bad. The plan to crack the safe on a cold Mississippi New Year’s Eve goes badly for all concerned in ways they do not expect.

Meanwhile, Quinn Colson, who has been defeated recently in his bid to be re-elected Jericho’s sheriff, serves out his last night on duty and broods about his future. Colson’s sister, possibly irreparably damaged from an incident in their childhood, is in a rehab clinic; his once and possibly future girlfriend is married; and he is out of a job. His successor is a better politician than a law enforcement official, and is ill-prepared for the manure storm that he steps into when he is confronted on his first official day of duty by the heavy-handed burglary of the home of one of Jericho’s most prominent and least honest citizens.

The quartet who engineered the burglary don’t know it, but they have in their possession a lot more than money. Cobb, as scrupulous in record-keeping as he is unscrupulous in business, kept ledgers in his safe that very powerful individuals do not want to see the light of day. These would include, but not be limited to, Johnny Stagg, whose diverse interests have made him the ultimate power in Jericho and stretches far beyond the county lines. Colson runs his own informal investigation, aided by his former deputy, who is all too aware of the inadequacies of Colson’s successor. Meanwhile, opposing forces are gathering just over the county line, and Colson, caught in the crossfire, is about to experience one of the major fights of his life.

THE REDEEMERS marks a turning point in the series. It does so with a not-so-small drop of irony as one of the secondary plot lines that has been running through the series from the beginning comes full circle. There is also a changing of the guard of sorts --- one that you would not expect --- and, on the last page, a hint of what is to come. It appears that after several books, Atkins and Colson are just getting started. You will not want to wait to see what happens next.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 24, 2015

The Redeemers: A Quinn Colson Novel
by Ace Atkins

  • Publication Date: June 7, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 042528283X
  • ISBN-13: 9780425282830