Cases both hot and cold force a Mississippi sheriff to confront issues from the past.
For now at least, former Army Ranger Quinn Colson (All the Broken Places, 2013, etc.) is the sheriff of Tibbehah County. Hidden behind the county’s down-home atmosphere is a seething mass of corruption, drug dealing and violent crime. Quinn and his sharpshooting deputy, Lillie Virgil, are under investigation for shooting a crooked sheriff and stealing money. Former sheriff Johnny Stagg remains Tibbehah’s political power. His legitimate business is vastly overshadowed by his income from drugs and prostitution, and he aims to get the all-too-honest Quinn removed from office. Stagg has hired a tough new bodyguard because his nemesis, Chains LeDoux, a crazed biker who ran the Born Losers, is about to be released from prison. Quinn himself is preoccupied by crimes committed before he was born. Some time after Diane Tull was raped and her friend Lori Stillwell murdered, an unidentified man was found beaten, burned and hanged. But Diane, who knows the dead man wasn’t the rapist, asks Quinn to right that old wrong and find whomever killed the nameless victim. Lori’s father, Hank Stillwell, was part of the Born Losers. So was Quinn’s father, Jason, who got sucked into the biker gang on a visit home from his job as a Hollywood stuntman. Quinn’s mother would never reveal why Jason left his family. Now Quinn must investigate the father he hasn’t seen since childhood for murder. Meantime, Stagg, the Born Losers, and rival black and Mexican drug lords continue to fight for control of the lucrative drug market.
Atkins is at the top of his game in Quinn’s fourth appearance, filled with nonstop action and moral ambiguities. The sheriff’s many flaws only enhance his human appeal.