This is another excellent addition to Ace Atkins' Quinn Colson series. In the first book, The Ranger, Colson, who served as a U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq, returned home to Tibbehah County in northeastern Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, he was elected County Sheriff, and he has spent the first three books in the series wrestling with a series of challenges confronting the county and a number of personal problems as well, involving his immediate family.
These problems continue into the present volume. Because of their actions at the conclusion of the previous book, Quinn and his lead deputy, Lillie Virgil, are facing trumped up criminal charges that could cost them their jobs and send them both to prison. At the same time, County Commissioner Johnny Stagg, a corrupt old reprobate who controls virtually all of the vice in Tibbehah County faces a worrisome problem of his own. Twenty years ago, most criminal behavior in the area was run by a man named Chains LeDoux, the leader of an outlaw biker gang. Stagg was instrumental in sending LeDoux to prison before taking over most of the criminal activity in the area, but now LeDoux is finally being paroled and has made it clear that he intends to return home and take revenge against Stagg. Stagg has been a thorn in the side of Quinn Colson ever since Colson became sheriff and he now concocts a scheme attempting to use Colson to send LeDoux right back to prison.
Finally, an ugly incident from the county's past has now also reared its head again. Thirty-six years earlier, two young girls were attacked one night. One girl was raped; the other was murdered. While sheriff's deputies stood aside and watched, a mob trapped a man they believed to be guilty of the crime, then lynched him and set fire to the body. The girl who survived the attack has now returned home as a mature woman and has asked that the case be reopened, suggesting that the mob may have killed the wrong man.
Quinn Colson must wrestle with all of these problems while at the same time attempting to protect his own freedom and to sort out some very serious family issues that also have their roots deep in the past. It's a complex job and Atkins brilliantly weaves the threads of the story in a way that keeps the reader on edge from beginning to end. These are all engaging and believable characters and the setting of Tibbehah County is expertly rendered. The reader feels that he is riding right along side Colson as he drives the dusty county roads, fighting against the various corrupt forces that threaten both him and his home county. A great read.