A SHADOW REVIEW
Besides the compelling relationship between Quinn and Lillie Virgil, the deputy, the book is rife with colorful Southern characters. Atkins strength has always been his ability to bring his settings to life and deliver "pulse of place" to his readers. Tibbehah county comes alive under Atkins pen and is as much a character in the book as the humans are. The pace is quick, the action non-stop, and the western vibe shimmers above it all. I look forward to the next chapter in Quinn Colson's life.
Ace Atkins started on his road to fame as a star football player for Auburn University. His team won a national title and Ace was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Not many writers can lay that claim. Rather than try the NFL Ace became a newspaper reporter which led to his becoming a novelist. His first series, featuring Nick Travers, combined music, mystery, and the Deep South. Ace followed that up with four outstanding crime novels. These books covering Phenix City, Tampa, The Fatty Arbuckle trial, and Machine Kelly stand as unique and superb historical fiction. Each book is beautifully rendered with Ace's ability to evoke both character and setting in a way that makes the reader feel he is there. In particular I found "White Shadow", about organized crime in Tampa, Florida masterfully executed. In "Devil's Garden", the story of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, we see the action through the eyes of Dashiell Hammett; a unique perspective indeed.
As a youngster Ace's literary hero was Robert Parker. Oddly Parker's nickname was "Ace". And in a final and fortuitous chain of events Ace has been chosen by the Parker family to continue the "Spenser" series. Look for the first new Atkin's penned "Spenser" later this year.
We wish Ace good luck with the new challenge and while he hopefully reaps monetary rewards, we his readers, now reap literary rewards by having two series to look forward to.
STEVE SHADOW SCHWARTZ
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