Monday, June 30, 2014

The Forsaken -- Ace Atkins

One of the dangers of following any writer for any length of time is running up on that inevitable book that misses the mark, sometimes just by a hair. You can forgive this, of course, because no matter what it is a person does, nobody doesn't have an off day. It was with a certain level of trepidation, therefore, that I cracked open The Forsaken, the new Quinn Colson novel by Ace Atkins.

In order to finish this one last night I shooed my husband out to the picture show. Finish it, I did. I thought better of writing my review last night, because I really needed to think through what I could say about it that would make you want to read it.

I've had a good night's sleep, and now, in the light of morning and two strong cups of coffee into the day, here's what I have to say about it.

Oh. My. Stars. In. Heaven.

How does Ace do this?

How does he consistently make his well-limned characters even more interesting every single time?

If you're waiting for Ace to trip over his own success, you're going to have to keep waiting, folks.

Sheriff Quinn Colson is compelled to investigate what appeared to be a closed case from 1977, one in which two young girls were brutalized, and one of the girls was killed. A man was hanged by a lynch mob for that crime, but now survivor Diane Tull has come forward to say that her assailant was not the man who was hanged all those years ago.

Quinn soon meets with plenty of tightly locked lips, and a growing realization that his father may have been a member of the motorcycle club who was responsible for the unjust hanging.  The leader of that club, Chains LeDoux, is still so feared that his imminent release from prison has series bad-guy Johnny Stagg practically begging for help from Quinn.

All of this sets up a mighty powerful and moving story about how hard, and how necessary, it is to make past wrongs right.

If that's not enough, The Forsaken made me fully appreciate how strong Ace Atkins' women characters are, strength that comes from a place of quietude and necessity. That he stays well clear of making these women caricatures of the Steel Magnolia variety is even more remarkable.

Oh -- and it appears Atkins has introduced a new and, I hope, recurring character who should provide even more interesting plot developments down the road.

If you have not yet read any of Atkins' Quinn Colson novels then you now have your summer reading list. Start from the beginning. (The Ranger, The Lost Ones, and The Broken Places)

Trust me.

A very, very solid ***** of ***** 

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