BOOK REVIEW: Ace Atkins – The Innocents

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Corsair
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1472151674
ISBN-13: 978-1472151674
July 6, 2017

Ace Atkins builds an extremely vivid picture of how a small American community works in his sixth Quinn Colson novel The Innocents; the remoteness of surrounding landscapes and those families who live within it.

She was just 17. A high school dropout named Milly Jones, found walking down the middle of the highway, engulfed in flames. Even in a tough Mississippi county like Tibbehah, it shatters the community and it is up to Sheriff Quinn Colson, back on the job after a year away, and his deputy Lillie Virgil to investigate what happened and why.

Before long however, accusations start to fly; national media and federal authorities descend; and what seemed like a senseless act of violence begins to appear like something even more disturbing – with more victims waiting in the shadows.

There are plenty of colourful characters dotted around to lead you away from who you think might have killed Milly Jones, but the breadcrumbs lead neatly back to the main culprit.

Atkins’s language and use of dialect is vibrant and rich with the Deep South diction that instantly gives the book it’s unique atmosphere as the story pulls you even deeper into the mixed pot of do-gooders and young high school drop outs who are trying to do their best and not end up like their wasted parents.

It is a story that is familiar to any backwater small community, where if drugs and alcohol get the better of you then there are very few options of escape left open to you.

Atkins does well to build up the tension to his story slowly, adding layers of intrigue to each chapter and placing his characters firmly into the plot. His characters are well fleshed out, quite rightly as this is the sixth book in the Colson series and whether you are already an avid fan of the series or a new reader it doesn’t matter as Atkins’s protagonist has a whole lot of charm and wit about him that you get to know this character very quickly.

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Janie Phillips