Just about the time I’d abandoned my search for the perfect summer read, Quinn Colson rescued me. Quinn’s a decorated war hero and genuine badass—which isn’t too surprising since he spent ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. Once the town hellraiser, Quinn comes home to Jericho, Mississippi, where he’s eventually elected sheriff of Tibbehah County.
Quinn Colson is the creation of author Ace Atkins, a former crime reporter for The Tampa Tribune. Atkins earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a 1950’s murder, which later became his first novel, White Shadow. He’s written several other series, but with Quinn Colson, Atkins says he’s returning to his first love: “hero-driven fiction.”
Even before he’s elected sheriff, Quinn discovers that life in Tibbehah County holds almost as many hazards as a tour of duty in Afghanistan. In The Ranger, he’s chasing meth dealers and dealing with corrupt county officials. The Lost Ones and The Broken Places feature Sheriff Colson pursuing Mexican gunrunners and escaped convicts. Yet Atkins’ Tibbehah County is more than mere background for Quinn’s adventures in law enforcement—it’s a richly detailed place that informs the people who live there at the most basic level.
Quinn’s personal life presents as many challenges as his professional one does. His momma likes her box wine a little too much. Sister Caddy has more ups and downs than the Texas roller coaster that tossed that unfortunate woman to her death last week. And Quinn’s love life? Problematic, to say the least.
As a woman reading this series, I applaud the fact that badass Quinn Colson has an equally badass female deputy. Lillie Virgil spent two years as a Memphis cop before returning to Jericho, and Quinn often defers to her superior knowledge of the law. She was also a star on the Ole Miss rifle team, and her sharpshooting saves Quinn’s bacon on more than one occasion.
The Quinn Colson series belongs to a genre some have dubbed redneck noir—sort of Sam Spade in cowboy boots. Given the success of the series and the level of crime and corruption in Tibbehah County, we can expect to see a great deal more of Quinn’s exploits. I, for one, am grateful.