Friday, June 14, 2013

Ace Atkins and Smooth Sweet Tea

Today's guest blogger in our summer read and matching drink recommendation series is Gerald So from The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly and My Life Called So, blogs. 

Ace Atkins is getting attention as the choice of G.P. Putnam's Sons and Robert B. Parker's estate to continue Parker's Spenser series of Boston private eye novels. Atkins' two novels, ROBERT B. PARKER'S LULLABY (2012) and ROBERT B. PARKER'S WONDERLAND (2013), are steeped in Spenser's history, respectful of Parker's legacy, yet confident in where they take the characters. At the same time, Atkins is writing his own Quinn Colson novels. The first two, THE RANGER (2011) and THE LOST ONES (2012), were nominated for Best Novel Edgar Awards.

In THE RANGER, Army Ranger Quinn Colson returns to his hometown of Jericho, Mississippi for his uncle's funeral. The townspeople believe Quinn's uncle, Sheriff Hampton Beckett, committed suicide, but Quinn doesn't accept it, feeling loyalty to a man who helped raise him.

I identified most strongly with the theme of coming home, being forced to revisit the past, reopen old wounds. In the process, Quinn finds himself opposed to the county's most prominent developer and the muscle hired to compel Quinn to sell land inherited from Hamp. THE RANGER has the feel of a contemporary Western. Good and evil aren't black and white, giving the novel its complexity and surprise.

Atkins and Parker share the eloquence to spin a fully realized tale without wasting a word. Quinn and Spenser are both tough-minded, but the Colson series differs from Spenser in atmosphere and narrative style.

The third Colson novel, THE BROKEN PLACES, was published May 30, 2013. I hope you enjoy the Colson series with some sweet tea. Here's a recipe (

Today's guest blogger, Gerald So, edits The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly ( From 2001 to 2009, he edited the original fiction section of Kevin Burton Smith's Thrilling Detective Web Site ( To see what else he's reading this summer, visit My Life Called So (


  1. This book sounds great, Gerald. I can't wait to dig in and make my sweet tea.

  2. I love the continuation of Spenser and as a result have begun the Quinn Colson series. I like my sweet tea with a touch of mint!

  3. I haven't read Atkins yet but it's on my list now. Thanks.