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THE RANGER by Ace Atkins


by Ace Atkins

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-15748-6
Publisher: Putnam

Home is the Ranger, home from the wars, to a town full of good old boys, bad old betrayals and some fresh ones.

Quinn Colson has been gone from Jericho in deep-south Mississippi since he was a rambunctious, trouble-prone kid. Gone but not forgotten. An 18-year-old hell-raiser, he’d left behind an indelible string of colorful exploits. He’s 29 now, a mission-tested, combat-scarred veteran of all his country’s recent wars. Quinn’s a Ranger sergeant, an elite soldier, complete with a fighting man’s stare and recognizable haircut. On a week’s emergency furlough from Fort Benning, he’s headed home for a favorite uncle’s funeral, the uncle who also happened to be the much-admired, frequently reelected Tibbehah County sheriff, the uncle who has allegedly taken his own life. Hamp Beckett a suicide? Hard for Quinn to accept, and yet there’s the note, cryptic, perhaps, but convincing. In addition, there’s Acting Sheriff Wesley Ruth, with whom Quinn played high-school football, expounding on the darker aspects of a secretive, skillfully sublimated nature. On the other hand, there’s Deputy Lillie Virgil, holding a dissenting view, which she maintains the on-scene evidence supports, though no one, including Quinn at first, seems in any way persuaded. In all, he soon has much on his plate, including issues with a vicious, unprincipled longtime enemy, a savage crew of no-holds-barred meth dealers and, oh yes, a gorgeous ex-girlfriend currently married to someone else who, despite that, might be disinclined to remain history. Hardly Iraq or Afghanistan revisited, but, as agendas clash, the body count mounts, and suddenly Quinn finds himself fighting battles all over Jericho.   

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.