ace atkins

Review: The Innocents by Ace Atkins

the innocents

The Innocents by Ace Atkins, (Quinn Colson, #6), Netgalley copy, 12 July 2016, 384p.

4 out of 5 stars.

I have reviewed previously:
The Ranger, The Lost Ones and The Broken Places (Quinn Colson, #1, #2, & #3)
The Forsaken (Quinn Colson, #4)
The Redeemers (Quinn Colson, #5)

The Innocents is a glorious return to thriller form for Ace Atkins. Quinn Colson and the residents of Tibbehah County are fantastically interesting characters who live in a world believable but disjointed from my own reality. The world building that Atkins has put into this series is unrivaled (I actually googled a year ago to see if Tibbehah County was a real place. It’s not.) and when I step back into a Colson novel it is like visiting best friends who have been away on holiday.

When a woman is found walking down the highway, on fire, the community demands a quick result from the Sheriff, Lillie Virgil. She and Quinn Colson, recently back from training the police force in Afghanistan, have to investigate the crime and discover an insidious conspiracy of silence. As always, the focus of the investigation soon falls on the local titty bar, although it is no longer owned by Stagg. The new owner, Fannie Hathcock, is delightfully dark and a force to be reckoned with. While we are talking about Fannie Hathcock, let me just say that her name is even better in Australia – where a woman’s vagina is called a fanny. I assume in America it’s something similar, but we don’t say ‘fanny-pack’ here because that’s just too dirty. Anyway, I think that is the first time I’ve ever talked about genitals in a book review. ONWARDS!

The last two Colson novels were somewhat lackluster compared with the first three, and The Innocents certainly takes back the trophy and holds it high. The characters, setting and plot all combine to create an atmospheric thriller that took hold of my interest and didn’t let go. The atmosphere that Atkins creates in these novels is surreal, and his ability to get across a mood took me by surprise. My one pet peeve with the writing style of The Innocents is that the description of the people seemed over-done and unnecessary. We get hardly any description (which is what I prefer) of the main characters in this book, but know everything background characters are wearing (including brand names) and what they look like. It did lead to a fun game in which I tried to use Ace Atkin’s style to describe random people on the street to my boyfriend. This is such a minor issue that it feels silly to mention it, but it did stand out to me. I find this is the accepted style as opposed to what I actually prefer.

Now I have to wait for a year for the next book to be released. I really want to see what happens in Quinn’s personal life now that my shipping dreams have come true. I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, but oh, my god. Just grab yourself a copy of this book and be blown away!


Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year


Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases in the Second Half of 2016. I’ve included releases from July, August and early September. I’ll probably do another list similar to this in late August/early September when more release dates are available. One of my favourites, Geoffrey McGeachin’s Charlie Berlin series, will be due for a new book soon, but so far I haven’t heard anything about it.


Sean Black’s The Edge of Alone – July 10. The 7th in a great series about Ryan Lock, who works in private security but always seems to find himself in deep trouble. Already pre-ordered.

Scott McEwen’s Ghost Sniper – July 12. A favourite series of mine, and one of the few American military fiction authors who I don’t want to give a lesson on tolerance to. His characters are real, but so so tough. Will buy on kindle.

Ace Atkins’s The Innocents – July 12. I’m hoping that this one can recapture the awesomeness that was the early releases of this series. Has one of the most memorable sidekicks ever written in Boom. Netgalley copy.

Alex Kava’s Reckless Creed – July 26. Cute series about a man (called Creed) who trains service dogs. They are still thrilling, but I will admit to reading mostly because of the dogs.

Stephen Leather’s Dark Forces – July 28. SPIDER SHEPHERD! The best UK thriller series, in my humble opinion. My favourite series, and I always pre-order this one. (and often end up with a hardback and kindle copy.)

Jack Coughlin’s Long Shot – August 16. Excellent series about a sniper – was the first American military fiction author that I ever enjoyed. The last book made some questionable choices regarding characters and who would be featured in this book, but I’m waiting to see how this one turns out. Will order from library.

Erik Storey’s Nothing Short of Dying – August 16. I’ve already read this one! AND IT WAS SO GOOD. Expect more fapping, more hyping and lots of 5 star reviews for Nothing Short of Dying. Best thriller debut of 2016, hands down. Netgalley copy.

Chris Ryan’s Bad Soldier – August 25. The Fourth book in the Danny Black series. Each one is just as good as the previous release – all have been four star reads for me. Black is a believable character who you can’t help but root for. Will order from library.

David McCaleb’s Recall – August 30. I’ve never read McCaleb’s work before (he might be a debutant for all I know), but I saw Recall on netgalley and immediately wanted to request it. I’m trying to get ahead of my reviewing queue before I request any more, but this is high up my list of anticipated new releases. Netgalley/kindle copy.

William Kent Krueger’s Manitou Canyon – September 6. Kreuger writes atmospheric thrillers, of which I have read three or four, but I am so behind on the Cork O’Conner series I know I should just pick up the next book in the series and read my way up to these new releases.

Review: The Redeemers by Ace Atkins


The Redeemers by Ace Atkins (Quinn Colson, #5), Hardback from Library, July 2015, 373p.

I live tweeted this book: #visitingjericho

I have reviewed previous titles in this series:
The Ranger, The Lost Ones and The Broken Places (books 1-3)
The Forsaken (book 4)

3 stars.

I’ve been waiting on The Redeemers since reading the last book in the Quinn Colson series: The Forsaken, which had such a great cliffhanger I have been thinking about it for around a year. The Redeemers did a great job in resolving that cliffhanger – leaving Jericho shaken up and the reader feeling very satisfied.

Atkins’ talent lies in creating strong, believable characters that you can’t help but root for. Lillie Virgil is one of these, and in The Redeemers she really gets to shine. I enjoy how she had a starring role in this book, she is tough as nails and mentally strong that she often comes across as cold, but in the past book or two of this series she has been revealed as one of the most generous and awesome of people. I’d happily hand over my hard-earned for a series of books in which Virgil is the main character.

I want to also quickly talk about Johnny Stagg. He’s a baddie who walks that line between despicable business man and despicable human being, and every scene that he is in I end up laughing uncontrollably. The Redeemers is strange in that Colson and Stagg don’t actually have to do with one another, but as always they are still connected and constantly thinking of their nemesis.

The thing that always drags me back to this series is the setting. I like the characters, but I LOVE the setting. Tibbehah County and Jericho feel so real, I actually googled them to see if they are real places (they’re not). It feels like Atkins is writing about real – fleshed out – places. I get (and appreciate) the small town vibe, I grew up in a small town but Tibbehah is still so foreign to me, the American South is a million miles distant from the Australian South. There are some similarities between the places, and there are familiar character tropes, the ‘redneck’ is essentially our ‘bogan’. I feel connected but distant from the people in the Colson series.

To conclude, I enjoyed The Redeemers by Ace Atkins – it is a good addition to the series. It’s a solid three star read for me.

The Wacky Bookish Blog Tag

I’ve just stolen this book tag from littlebookblog, because I thought it was interesting.


It would have to be Mrs. Beetons Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton. In my family, everyone is gifted a copy of Mrs. Beetons Book of Household management when they move out of the family home. It includes information on how to cook 1800’s food, what is the appropriate time (and attire) for visiting neighbors. It backfired, because it made me just want to get servants (because it detailed how to manage your help.)


Perfume, by Patrick Suskind – It is one of my favourite books of all time, but when asked why I love it so much I usually get lost. Answering… “it’s about a guy with a great sense of smell who can smell insane things and then goes on a murdering rampage” usually doesn’t entice people to read this book!


Well, I would have used Perfume as this answer, but considering my last answer I will have to go with John Stratton by Duncan Falconer. He is an SBS operative who is the most antisocial and introverted character. That’s all fine, but he seems to really enjoy killing people. The worst thing about Stratton is I kinda like him and would want to be friends with him. He needs to talk to a psychologist, ASAP.


Rink from the Joe Hunter series. AH RINK! My love for Rink is well documented, and I always get excited when he and Joe engage in their strange foreplay/debate/banter.


I am going to go with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones. They are related because I analysed them both for a literature course, as I had to read them both for the same topic. The Gaiman book is one of my all time favourites, and I hated Dreams of Speaking more than I had ever hated a book before. Having to compare and contrast them for a paper was nigh impossible.


So far it’s 51 – I’m excited because I set my goodreads goal as 52 this year and I am about to hit it!


This is a hard one – almost no books I read and love have strong pairings, but I will go with Quinn Colson and Lillie Virgil from the Quinn Colson series. He is in love with someone else (who is completely wrong for him!) and everyone thinks she is a lesbian (and maybe she is) but I think she likes the ex-sheriff a little too much and I silently ship them together.


Hmmmm that is really hard. I’m not going to pick one, but there are a few I follow who are quite different.


As soon as the new Spider Shepherd book from Stephen Leather comes out my happiness levels skyrocket. It’s an addiction.


Breaking Creed by Alex Kava, I sat down and started to read and finished that 400p book in a day.



This is a hard one, because I don’t read many books with magic in them, but the only series that I actually follow that would suit this is the Jack Nightingale series by Stephen Leather. It’s a detective story meets the occult.


I’m not going to answer this one either – there are a few bloggers who I follow who are a little ‘random’, mostly people who post about their own lives and other features not book related. I think it’s a good thing, and something I always try to start doing, but never actually get around to.

Who Do You Tag?

Phew. Some of those where harder than I thought – but fun. I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you liked this tag, feel free to do it yourself and share your answers with me!

Book Review: The Forsaken by Ace Atkins


The Forsaken by Ace Atkins, 2014, Hardback borrowed from library, 384p.

Three out of five golden stars

The Forsaken is the fourth book in the Quinn Colson series and in my opinion, the weakest thus far. The novel spends much of its time tidying up loose ends from a shootout that happened in the previous novel, the amazing The Broken Places. It was refreshing to see characters face consequences for their actions, but at the same time it wasn’t really interesting until the second half of the book. My main issue with The Forsaken was that it took me a while to get into the primary storyline, which included investigating an old crime. One of the main things I like about the Colson novels is the action – there is usually so much action, but in The Forsaken, Quinn spends much of his time in meetings and talking with people. This is the main reason I dislike legal thrillers – as soon as the main character is in a meeting that lasts more than a page, my brain tunes out. I don’t know why, but it has always been like that. The big action scene that these books usually deliver was present, but seemed flat, formulaic and not long enough – more gunfights, less verbal jousting, thanks.

I know I’ve just spent the previous paragraph bitching about this novel, but there were plenty of things that I did really enjoy about it – mostly things that the Colson novels always nail. Firstly the characters are awesome, although I would have preferred more Boom in this story, I still love all the people! Second, Atkins creates the little town vibe so well, you feel like you know all the places the action takes you.

But the real reason I will be picking up the next book in this series was the ending. OMG. So good. I didn’t see something coming, even though I should have, but it has made me SUPER excited for the next novel. So yes, although I didn’t think The Forsaken was perfect, it was still a decent instalment in an otherwise terrific series.

Review: The Ranger, The Lost Ones and The Broken Places by Ace Atkins


The Ranger by Ace Atkins, kindle edition, 2011, 334p

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins, kindle edition, 2012, 352p

The Broken Places by Ace Atkins, hardback, 2013, 368p

Ace Atkins is a new addition to the list of authors I can turn to when I want an edge of my seat, heart in my throat thrill fest. I knocked off the first three books in this series in a week, and am now waiting anxiously for the fourth book from the library – damn waiting lists.

The plot in The Ranger is an old tried and tested sequence, one that is very comfortable to a reader of thrillers. The simple plot just allows the characters to take centre stage, and the characters are sensational. They are real people, I swear it. I love Quinn’s family and his friend, Boom. For me, however, the best character was Lillie. She is one mad but awesome chick. I also like the fact that Atkins writes her with respect, she is not wall-flower who needs protecting from every person who talks to her, nor is she portrayed as being a man – she is definitely all woman.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series to be released, but it just means I’ve started another series, without finishing one of my older ones!  I like to imagine that one day I will follow over 50 awesome series, and each week I will just read the latest book in a series I love. At the same time, I imagine that as being a horrible senario, because I have the world’s worst memory, and I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Just wondering… how many series do you guys all follow, and are up to date with? I think my number is about 6, and I think that is pretty low for someone who reads genre fiction.