Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Though Out of Office, Quinn Colson Is Still on the Job in Tibbehah County

I'm a huge fan of this series, which just seems to get better with every book. The protagonist, Quinn Colson, is a former Army Ranger who served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now in his middle thirties, Colson has mustered out and returned to his home in Tibbehah County, Mississippi, where he was elected County Sheriff, succeeding his uncle in the office. He's done a very good job as Sheriff--too good in the eyes of some people like Johnny Stagg, a corrupt local businessman. Stagg, who owns a truck stop along with a strip club called the Bobby Trap, dominates the politics of the county and hates the fact that Colson is trying to clean things up.

When Colson comes up for re-election, Stagg throws his influence behind a local insurance agent named Rusty Wise, a mild-mannered lightweight whom Stagg believes he can control. Wise wins a narrow victory and as the book opens, it's New Year's Eve, Quinn Colson's last night on the job, and he's saying his farewells.

As fate would have it, a small band of thieves picks that night to break into the house of a local businessman who has ties to Johnny Stagg. The businessman is out of town for the holiday and is reputed to have nearly a million dollars in a gun safe hidden in a closet in his house. The thieves are barely competent but are nonetheless extremely dangerous, and the fallout from the robbery reverberates far and wide through Tibbehah County with serious consequences for all the major characters in the novel.

The Redeemers is a riveting story populated by a great cast of characters. In particular, the two would-be safe crackers are very well drawn and enormously entertaining. It's also fun to meet again the familiar characters we've come to know through the years, including the members of Quinn Colson's family. Those who follow the series will know that Colson has more than his share of family issues and those problems continue to bedevil him here, as does his love life. And even though he's now out of office, he still finds himself dragged into this very dangerous case. 

As always, Atkins writes beautifully and he has created such a fully-imagined setting for these stories that the reader feels as though he or she is living among the people of the county. It's a place of great beauty sullied by more than its fair share of vice and corruption, and Quinn Colson sees and understands all of it better than anyone else. The central question of the series continues to be the extent to which he or anyone else can effectively address the problems of Tibbehah County and, as several characters wonder, why he would even want to stick around and try. Happily the next installment in this series is due to be released in a couple of weeks; I can hardly wait to get to it.

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