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Book Review: The Ranger by Ace Atkins

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The Ranger by Ace Atkins is a fictional book following a hometown hero fight for right. This is the first in a new series.

Army Ranger Quinn Colson is coming back home to the funeral of his uncle who also happens to be the local sheriff. Colson is a tough solider, a warrior veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and is dismayed to hear that his uncle has committed suicide.

Quickly Colson learns that the sheriff might have been murdered and starts digging more into the case. Combined with family issues, high school baggage, and teen pregnancy, Colson has his work cut out for him.

I have read several books by Ace Atkins and was very excited when I heard that Atkins is coming up with a new book. Even though all the ones I read tread the waters of historical fiction and The Ranger is a fictional book, Mr. Atkins’ writing style, southern locals, and overall feel of his books are what kept me coming back.

The story revolves around tough veteran Ranger Colson, after coming back home, when he lays down the law on the bad guys. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve seen this before” – and you’re right, the story isn’t very original but the setting, writing, and cast of characters make this book a work of art.

The Ranger takes place in northern Mississippi, somewhere around Memphis in the fictional Tibbehah County. The cast of characters are the opposite of what a northerner like myself would imagine the southern sunny happy-go-lucky folks to be.

Quite the opposite, in fact. If Tibbehah County wasn’t fictional we might have had the Rangers take it over and cleanse it out. The county is inhabited with the meanest, most ignorant, violent and unhinged people who ever populated Mississippi.

All of which makes for a captivating read from a southern author.

The action is fast, and there are no unnecessary speeches, sympathies or soliloquies. Colson is a man of few words, warts-and-all, who walks that gray area between right and wrong.

A modern western set in the South, The Ranger is not only an original story, but also a crazy ride into the shadows of Mississippi, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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