Book Review: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

July 6, 2018 Book Reviews 1

Book Review: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
Genres: Action Thriller
Published by Putnam Adult on May 31, 2012
Pages: 339
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: The Ranger

Second in the Quinn Colson action thriller series and revolving around a newly elected sheriff fresh out of the Rangers and based in Jericho, Mississippi.

My Take

Atkins caught me right off with that hook, surprising me with the combination of county fair rides and gunrunning. I gotta love it. It’s such a guy story with succinct descriptions and that male-male relationship that rings so true throughout with Atkins using a third person protagonist point-of-view from Quinn’s perspective.

It’s a mixture of the horrors from war, what Quinn remembers of his uncle when he was a boy, the truth behind his uncle’s searching for him for five days…jesus, and then that homey feeling about a guy putting up preserves, even as he’s filling his freezer with meat he’s shot, having breakfast and holding office hours at the diner, and appreciates (and can work with) an assertive woman with a big gun, lol.

Jericho itself is small town where most everyone knows everyone else, and they celebrate events like Dinner on the Grounds, a picnic in the cemetery where they tell stories about those who’ve gone on.

That Donnie. You can’t help but like him, even as lazily ambitious and denigrating as he is. He’s got a good heart, and he’ll do his best in both directions: getting whatever thievin’ he can and accepting when he’s licked. That attitude of his when he was digging that hole…whew… He’s something of a white knight in gray armor. As for Johnny Stagg. Well, he’s a confusing mess who does not understand conflict of interest. He simply doesn’t get it that he’ll never be accepted by the class he wants to join, and it doesn’t help that he’s such a jerkwad. He does all sorts of illegal things and tries to shine himself up with teaching Sunday school, throwing barbecues, hanging with celebrities, and getting on the supervisory board.

If anything, I gotta read this series to find out what Anna Lee is up to. She may blow hot and cold like Luz, but hers is a much more subtle version.

There are several turning points in this: Boom is sick and tired of being owned by this shit; Bobby gets his — as does Lillie and Kenny; and, Caddy has come to Jesus.

I do wonder, though, what the fallout was with that shiny new Ford? Nor did I ever figure out what the deal was with ATF. Were they corrupt or aiming for something bigger?

There is no lack of action in this. Thankfully it wasn’t the “I don’t dare open the book out of fear!” kind, *grin*. And I’ve already ordered up The Broken Places.

The Story

Quinn Colson couldn’t face being deskbound, and the troubles in his hometown were calling out to him. Part of that trouble is that Johnny Stagg and having to make nice at his Annual Good Ole Boy party.

It starts out simple when Quinn and Deputy Lillie Virgil are led into the heart of a bootleg baby racket and a trail of darkness and death that collide in beatings and shootouts.

Nope, Quinn won’t have any time at all to miss being in the Rangers…

The Characters

Quinn Colson, the former town bad boy, quit the Rangers after ten years and four Purple Hearts and is the newly elected sheriff of Jericho with all its pains and excitement. In The Ranger, 1, Quinn inherited his uncle Hamp‘s farmhouse, land that had been in his family since 1895, and his cattle dog, Hondo. Aunt Halley had been Hamp’s wife. Jean Colson is his mama with an obsession with Elvis, and she’s always looking after Jason, Caddy’s mixed-race son. Caddy, well, that sister of Quinn’s has her issues: drugs, sex, and abandoning her son over and over. Uncle Van used to buy the boys whiskey and beer. His father, Jason, is an over-the-hill Hollywood stuntman who used to double for Burt Reynolds and who ran off years ago.

Boom Kimbrough is Quinn’s best friend who lost his arm and drinks too much. He farms the family’s five hundred acres of cotton but has to split the cut with his father and eight brothers and sisters.

Tibbehah County Sheriff’s Department
Chief Deputy Lillie Virgil is more man than woman and does what’s right; she’s got the most law enforcement experience of all of ’em. Quinn fired all the old deputies and took on eight new ones including Ike McCaslin, Chris Smith, Art Watts, Dave Cullison, Chris Smith, and Kenny. Mary Alice, Hamp’s secretary, is still there. She did want to burn all the files. The County Barn is the maintenance shed for all county vehicles, but Stagg shut it down.

Special Agents Dinah Brand, Willis, and Caruthers are with ATF.

Union County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Drake and Deputy Virgil have a warrant they’ll serve for Quinn.

The Tibbeha County Supervisors includes…
Johnny T. Stagg as the board president, white trash who made his millions ripping off the elderly, trashing the countryside via his development company, enjoying a good bit of profit from the Rebel Truck Stop and strip joint, The Booby Trap. Britney and Dara are some of the strippers. Fat Leonard used to be a deputy and now works openly for Stagg as security. Bobby Campo is big in Atlanta and has helped Stagg make some of those millions.

The District Four supervisor is DuPuy, a black slumlord who runs Sugar Ditch; the short, fat supervisor from the northwest party of the county, MacDougal, is a yes-man; Sam Bishop, Jr, runs the county co-op; and, Bobby Pickens is a wildcard redneck.

Betty Jo Mize runs the weekly Tibbehah Monitor and loves to shoot down the politicos. The pregnant Anna Lee Amsden, er, Stevens, is Quinn’s old girlfriend now married to Dr Luke Stevens, an old classmate of Quinn’s. Javier owns the El Dorado restaurant, a good guy. Jess Colley is the veterinarian. The Jericho VFW Hall serves up a mean catfish fry-up on Thursdays. Mr Hill has the pull-a-part junkyard. Mary is a tired waitress at the Fillin’ Station Diner who had been Hamp’s girlfriend. Joe Burney has a daughter. Sam Bishop, Sr, is the county clerk. Club Disco 9000 is located in Sugar Ditch, and Spam is the bartender and owner. The Southern Star Bar has been open for the past two years. Dwana is the preacher’s daughter. Alma Jane used to put the kegs in the creek at the field parties. The Reverend Rebecca White tells a good sermon. Mr Davis, he’d been with 82nd Airborne, is taken by the Lord and thinks he’s Gabriel. The owner of Pap’s Place, a restaurant that serves up catfish, is a friend of Jean’s and a fellow believer in Elvis. Mrs Shelton runs the ABC Learning Center. Mr. Jim, a veteran of Patton’s 3rd Army, runs the town barbershop. Judge Blanton gets a mention. Luther Varner is a Marine sniper who served in Vietnam; he’s Donnie’s dad and runs a convenience store, the Quick Mart where Miss Peaches is the cook.

Donnie Varner is done with the National Guard, all that shrapnel they pulled out made sure of that. Now he’s running a gunshop and range in a cluster of three trailers, one of which he rents out to Tiny. He and Shane are his friends, having served together in the 223rd, and watching his back.

Janet Torres, née Sanders, is a clerk at the Dollar General who’s selling babies and seems to be running a puppy mill. She used to operate Little Angels Daycare in the city. *shudder* Janet’s with Ramón Torres these days. Mara is her psychologically stunted daughter; Fred Black, a welder, is Mara’s father. Mara’s public defender is really young. Gabriela is the baby who died.

Kay Bain is a spitfire in her seventies who fronts a country band from Tupelo. The Tiffin family had cut a record and used to play in Jericho frequently.

Los Zetas are…
…a Mexican drug cell led by Tony the Tiger, Luz’s boyfriend and Alejandro’s boss. Ramón’s brother is high up in the cartel. Luz, a.k.a., Laura Zuniga, leads Javier; Luis; and, “Junior”, the son of the woman who used to care for Luz as a child, and can he ever shoot. Alejandro “Tattoo Boy” Ramírez Umana is an MS-13 gangbanger out of Texas and in charge of the cell working at Lone Star Amusements. Francisco Quevedo Sanchez used to be one of them.

In Quinn’s childhood
Porter is the park ranger and a youth pastor furious with Quinn’s “pranks”. And he’s as bigoted as Ronnie Hankins.

The Cover and Title

The cover is grim and lonely all in grays with a wee bright sun and its orange aura attempting to provide hope over this lonely landscape, a farmhouse tucked into a swale with only the roof visible over a dried-out field and leafed-out and bare tree branches partially lost in the mist. A testimonial is set about one-fourth of the way down in a sunny orange with the title in an embossed white partially lost in the gray. The author’s name is below that in an embossed black. At the bottom right is the series info in the same sunny orange.

The title is applies to a number of characters in different situations, for there are so many of The Lost Ones.

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