THE INNOCENTS  by Ace Atkins


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Even snakes are straighter than many of the denizens of Tibbehah County, Mississippi.

Quinn Colson’s roots go deep in Tibbehah. The former Army Ranger was sheriff for a while, but cleaning up some of the county’s worst sins didn’t endear him to many voters. Now that he’s returned from training Afghan police officers, his former colleague Sheriff Lillie Virgil has asked him to become a deputy. Quinn is still trying to work things out with his high school sweetheart, who’s taken her child and left her husband. Quinn’s father, Jason, a former Hollywood stuntman absent for most of his son's childhood, is back with a moneymaking scheme that involves getting into bed with a big-time crook Quinn and the FBI took down (The Redeemers, 2015). Meanwhile, Milly Jones, a former cheerleader desperate to get out of town, takes a job at the newly renovated strip club run by Fannie Hathcock. As soon as she’s made enough money, she plans to stiff Fannie for her share and run off, leaving her best friend information she claims will blow the lid off the county and its mealy-mouthed Bible beaters whose heads are eternally stuck in the sand. That plan ends when she’s found walking down a road, her body aflame, and dies an excruciating death. Sheriff Virgil suspects Fannie and her enforcers, a bunch of doped-up motorcycle gang members. Among the numerous other suspects are two wild young men Milly was seen with before she died. As Colson and Virgil struggle to make sense of her death, the county they’ve struggled to clean up continues down the same old road of drug dealing, petty larceny, and criminal stupidity.

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.

Pub Date: July 12th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-17395-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2016

Kirkus Interview
Ace Atkins
June 2, 2015

P.I. Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in Kickback, the latest in the iconic New York Times–bestselling series from author Ace Atkins. What started out as a joke landed 17-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life. Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. “It’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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