The Broken Places: a Quinn Colson Novel by Ace Atkins
I believe I may have mentioned Atkins before. The Quinn Colson novels are his own mystery series, featuring the titular character, an ex-US Army Ranger (thus, the first book is titled, The Ranger) turned sheriff in Tibbehah County, Mississippi (his home town). Colson’s a very Spenser-esque hero; macho, masculine, sure in himself and strong. He’s also having an affair with his best friend’s wife, but that’s neither here nor there.
In this book his sister, Caddy, having returned to town to try to go straight after a period of wild living, including drug addiction and stripping (possibly prostitution also), has gotten involved with an ex-con, one Jamey Dixon, who was pardoned for the murder of a local girl. Now he seems determined to go straight, setting up a church in a local barn, but the family of the dead girl doesn’t believe it and they warn Quinn to keep an eye on Caddy.
And problems there soon will be, because two violent felons escape from prison and head right for Tibbehah. They have business with Jamey Dixon, and they are riding on the very wings of the storm (almost literally). Before the book’s over, a massive tornado will pass through Tibbehah, with the expected affect on the manhunt.
This is a fairly grim book. It’s less mystery- than action-centred. We never do find out if Dixon killed the first girl, and a lot of people get shot, beat up, or rendered homeless. And there’s a brief bit involving Quinn’s ex-girlfriend, so brief that you might miss it, that left me unsure if I was supposed to laugh, or feel sad, but mostly had me going, “don’t be an asshole, Atkins.” Recommendation? Try The Ranger first and go on from there if you like it.
The Blue Girl by Charles deLint
Re-read. First written-up here . Still highly recommended.