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The sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, is out of a job but not out of trouble.

When former Army Ranger Quinn Colson became sheriff, he cleaned up drug gangs, solved murders old and new, and helped the county recover from a devastating tornado. But he didn’t win re-election or bring down his archenemy, Johnny Stagg, whose legal businesses are just a cover for a vast network of corruption and criminal activities. There are hopeful signs, though. Stagg’s efforts to bribe incoming sheriff Rusty Wise are going nowhere, and his new right-hand man, Ringold, is actually an FBI agent working with Colson to bring him down. Colson and deputy Lillie Virgil have just hauled Colson’s troubled sister, Caddy, out of a Memphis crack house and into a rehab facility. Lillie’s problems go back to her childhood and the recent murder of the man she loved, whose killer Colson is still seeking. Meantime, a couple of good old boys plot to steal a bundle from local lumber-mill owner Larry Cobb with the help of an Alabama safecracker and his dumb, football-crazed nephew. Mickey Walls hates Cobb, his ex-father-in-law, and enlists his friend Kyle to work with the burglars while he establishes an alibi. Unable to open the safe, the luckless crew hauls it away, attracting the attention of a deputy who’s wounded by the nephew. Along with money and jewels, the safe contains the detailed books Cobb kept of all his crooked dealings, details that could ruin political careers and send many to jail. Colson is left pondering his future job possibilities, his continuing romance with his high school sweetheart (who’s just split with her husband), and his relationship with his long-absent father. But unless he and Lillie clean up the latest crimes, he may not live to worry about his future.

Colson’s fifth (The Forsaken, 2014, etc.) is another wild ride for a flawed, valiant hero who’s impossible to dislike.

Pub Date: July 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-399-17394-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015

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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