Books by Ace Atkins

By the time he had turned 30, Ace had published two critically acclaimed crime novels, CROSSROAD BLUES and LEAVIN’ TRUNK BLUES with St. Martin’s Press. At 34, he added two more books, DARK END OF THE STREET and DIRTY SOUTH, published by William Morrow, to


ROBERT B. PARKER'S ANGEL EYES by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 19, 2019

"Readers who've always wanted to see Spenser in Tinseltown can cross that off their bucket lists."
Spenser goes to Hollywood. Read full book review >
THE SHAMELESS  by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 9, 2019

"Like James Lee Burke's Louisiana, Atkins' violent Mississippi idylls seem more and more clearly shaped as installments in an ongoing serial drama, and this one, ending with both a bang and a whimper, seems mainly intended to set up the next."
As if Mississippi's Tibbehah County didn't have enough present-day malfeasance to keep Sheriff Quinn Colson hopping, a cold case brings the customary pot of criminals and misfits to yet another boil. Read full book review >
THE SINNERS  by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 17, 2018

"Though it's amusing on its own terms, the constant infighting among lowlifes keeps this installment below Atkins' high standard (The Fallen, 2017, etc.). When bad guys are mostly targeting other bad guys, there's just not that much for good guys to do besides stand aside and watch the carnage."
Quinn Colson, the sheriff of Mississippi's Tibbehah County, juggles old-school and newfangled gangs while praying that someone will get him to the church on time. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S OLD BLACK MAGIC  by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2018

"The case gets successively murkier, but Atkins, in his best imitation of Parker's voice to date, never gets lazy. Readers who approach the last chapter anticipating relief at finally seeing the case solved should be warned that a final twist virtually guarantees a sequel."
Twenty years after a storied theft from a Boston institution—no, not the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—the powers that be want Spenser, another Boston institution, to recover three stolen artworks that are still missing. Read full book review >
THE FALLEN by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 18, 2017

"Beneath the down-home Southern trappings, fans will find Atkins' customary mixture of political corruption, true-blue policing, intimate betrayals, and wholesale violence. The satisfyingly inconclusive ending of this sequel to the equally dark The Innocents (2016) puts a whole new spin on catharsis."
Reluctantly back in the saddle as the sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, Quinn Colson goes up against a trio of bank robbers as cunning as they are clueless. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S LITTLE WHITE LIES by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 2, 2017

"Readers taken in by Atkins' sureness of touch in the first half of this schizoid yarn richly deserve to get flimflammed by the bait-and-switch that follows."
A damsel in distress enlists Boston's most storied private eye in her cause and then has second and third thoughts. Read full book review >
THE INNOCENTS  by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 2016

"The rough-and-tumble relationship between two tough-as-nails law officers and the place they love provides plenty of action, well-developed characters, and an ending that will more likely leave you disgusted than surprised."
Even snakes are straighter than many of the denizens of Tibbehah County, Mississippi. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S SLOW BURN by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 3, 2016

"Not much energy or conviction in the larger rhythms of this case, but the scene-by-scene, line-by-line pleasures are authentic enough."
Spenser fiddles while Boston burns. Read full book review >
THE REDEEMERS by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 21, 2015

"Colson's fifth (The Forsaken, 2014, etc.) is another wild ride for a flawed, valiant hero who's impossible to dislike."
The sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, is out of a job but not out of trouble. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S KICKBACK by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 19, 2015

"The ritualistic series of face-offs will be red meat for franchise fans, and it's great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life, even though his rescue of Dillon predictably fails to put much of a dent in even little Blackburn's prison-for-profit scheme."
Spenser heads back to the Boston suburbs to help a mother whose son has been arrested for—wait for it—setting up a fake Twitter account. Read full book review >
THE FORSAKEN by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 24, 2014

Cases both hot and cold force a Mississippi sheriff to confront issues from the past. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S CHEAP SHOT by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 6, 2014

"Two-thirds of a perfectly controlled kidnap tale, with Spenser close to his top form, crashes, burns and goes down without a trace in the end."
Boston's premier private eye signs on to recover the kidnapped son of one of Boston's sports heroes. Read full book review >
THE BROKEN PLACES by Ace Atkins
Released: May 30, 2013

"The third in Atkins' acclaimed series (The Lost Ones, 2012, etc.) is a high-tension thriller with a hero to rival Jack Reacher."
A small-town Mississippi sheriff fights criminals and corruption. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S WONDERLAND by Ace Atkins
Released: May 7, 2013

"Since his creator's death, Spenser's dialogue, flippant to start with, has become relentlessly arch, and the tendency must be catching, since several other characters get into verbal jousts with him. Still, it may be unfair to complain that Atkins (Robert B. Parker's Lullaby, 2012) doesn't write exactly like Parker. All in all, an entertaining effort."
Spenser goes to bat for an old friend whose condo in Revere has become a most desirable property for all the wrong reasons. Read full book review >
THE LOST ONES by Ace Atkins
Released: June 1, 2012

"A valiant hero to root for, a vividly rendered small-town setting, lots of expertly managed violence: another crowd-pleaser from a thriller-meister at the top of his game."
Atkins' sequel to The Ranger (2011) finds Quinn Colson counting the ways in which his Afghanistan tours resemble life in the nice little Mississippi town that's just elected him sheriff. Read full book review >
ROBERT B. PARKER'S LULLABY by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2012

"Parker fans will like it that the Atkins version is virtually indistinguishable from the prototype. "
And the beat goes on. Read full book review >
THE RANGER by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2011

"Another solid entertainment from Atkins (Infamous, 2010, etc.), whose estimable Ranger may bring to mind Lee Child's hard-fisted, soft-hearted Jack Reacher, which is entirely a good thing."
Home is the Ranger, home from the wars, to a town full of good old boys, bad old betrayals and some fresh ones. Read full book review >
INFAMOUS by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 15, 2010

"Atkins, who loves his characters colorful, makes readers love them too, and it doesn't much matter whether they're naughty or nice."
In his compulsively readable latest, Atkins (Devil's Garden, 2009, etc.) takes a revisionist look at the life and times of Machine Gun Kelly and the very bad woman who stood behind him. Read full book review >
DEVIL’S GARDEN by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 2, 2009

"Atkins (Wicked City, 2008, etc.) writes so well that some readers—but not all—will forget to ask if that's enough to validate time spent with irredeemable lowlifes in a modern-day Sodom."
Facing a manslaughter rap, big-time movie star Fatty Arbuckle gets the Pinkerton agent Dashiell Hammett working on his behalf. Read full book review >
WICKED CITY by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 2008

"Atkins (White Shadow, 2006, etc.) is clearly in love with his colorful characters—on both sides of the moral divide—and makes them wonderfully believable."
A riveting story about how the triumph of evil is forestalled when good men…do something. Read full book review >
WHITE SHADOW by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 4, 2006

"Atkins (Dirty South, 2004, etc.) mutes his Nick Travers series, benching the blues-loving ex-footballer, for something much more ambitious. This is a big-time crime novel crammed with violence, sex and some pretty good writing makes it hard to put down."
A wild ride back to south Florida in the mid-1950s, when reporters were boozy, women were floozies, cops were for sale and stone killers managed somehow to be colorful. Read full book review >
DIRTY SOUTH by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 2, 2004

"As usual (Dark End of the Street, 2002, etc.), Atkins's sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always colorful characters are better than his overstuffed plot."
Nick Travers, erstwhile football player, blues historian extraordinaire, and latter-day knight errant, breaks still another lance in behalf of a beset friend. Read full book review >
DARK END OF THE STREET by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 8, 2002

"Once again, Atkins (Leavin' Trunk Blues, 2000, etc.) redeems shaky plotting by a colorful cast, especially big-hearted, picaresque Nick."
Legendary soul singer Clyde James has been missing for years and long presumed dead. But even though he's history, the woods are suddenly full of people looking for him—among them his sister Loretta, the beloved friend of Nick Travers, blues historian extraordinaire. Ex pro-footballer, current part-time Tulane professor, and full-time knight errant, Nick as ever is Loretta's to command. So off he goes from New Orleans to Memphis at her behest, chasing her will-o'-the-wisp brother. Nick won't be lonely. Also hunting Clyde are representatives of the Dixie Mafia, the Sons of the South (think gentrified KKK), a pair of unaffiliated thugs named Ransom and Garon, a couple of lowlife pols, and a sweet young thing whose late dad was offed because he was once Clyde's lawyer. Ruthless, remorseless Ransom is hunting Clyde in order to remedy an oversight. He should have done for Clyde 30 years ago, he now realizes, since Clyde witnessed a Ransom-perpetrated crime. Goran hunts mostly because he's certifiable. Over the moon about Elvis Presley, whom he seems to think he's reincarnated, he enjoys killing and might well be in the game even without the price Ransom has put on Clyde's head. "All I am is a voice lost in a dream," says Clyde wistfully at one point, a pronouncement that slows down none of his pursuers, who all but Nick, for variously persuasive reasons, want that voice stilled. Read full book review >
LEAVIN’ TRUNK BLUES by Ace Atkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 2000

"Atkins loves his blues musicians and writes eloquently about them, but the beat of his pacing, bogged down in backstory, can be the most funereal feature of this murderous tale."
Nick Travers, pro footballer turned academic, is back for his second riff as the blues historian with dynamite in his fists. This time out he leaves his Tulane University home base en route for Chicago to interview legendary songbird Ruby Walker (the "Sweet Black Angel"), who some think topped even Bessie Smith as the greatest blues lady of them all. Nick won't have any trouble locating her, he knows, since for the past 40 years she's bunked in an Illinois state prison. Convicted of murdering her manager/lover, downtrodden Ruby has been virtually sphinxlike while serving a life sentence—no interviews, almost no communication with anyone. But much to Nick's surprise she's expressed a desire to see him. She wants more than that, he soon learns: she wants him to put on his Sherlock cap and prove her innocence. She's heard about him, she says, heard how he helped others (Crossroad Blues, 1998). "Hope can be mean," she tells him, but thanks to him, she has hold of it again. Nick finds her irresistible, of course, and begins an investigation that takes him deep into the sad, bad world of blues musicians, where he encounters dirty secrets, ugly lies, a former lover, and a demented though dedicated murderer. In the end, however, he does give Ruby a little to smile about. Read full book review >
CROSSROAD BLUES by Ace Atkins
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 16, 1998

A first novel introducing ex-football star Nick Travers of New Orleans. Now a blues historian writing a bio of Guitar Slim, Nick spends his days and nights teaching blues history part-time at Tulane University, playing jazz harp at JoJo's Blues Bar at the edge of the French Quarter, and missing a recently departed girlfriend. Then comes a call from Randy Sexton, head of Tulane's Jazz and Blues Archives, asking for help. Michael Baker, professor of music history, has disappeared in the Greenwood area of the Mississippi Delta while tracking Robert Johnson, a jazz legend who vanished in the late 1930s. Nick heads for Greenwood and begins a long, violence-packed search, encountering characters like young, stupid Jesse Garon (a psychopathic killer who worships Elvis), Delta policeman Willie Brown (soon to die), ruthless record producer and blues-club owner Pascal Cruz, his hit man Sweet Boy Floyd, and Cracker—an aged albino who holds the key to Johnson's death and to the priceless, never-heard recordings he left behind. On the plus side there's red-headed jazz guitarist Virginia Dare, but Nick is one tired dude by the time it's all over. The plotting is endlessly confusing, and the narration heavily laden with raw language and raw sex. But the author's energy, talent, and deep love of music will leave many readers looking forward to Atkins's next outing. Read full book review >