Ace Atkins comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest Quinn Colson novel, The Fallen, on Friday, July 21st, at 7 PM.
A few months ago, I reviewed Ace Atkins’ latest Spenser novel, Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies, full of commentary on the world of alternative facts. With his latest Quinn Colson, The Fallen, he creates a story even more rooted in its time, but with playful roots stretching back to the seventies.
The fallout from the previous book in the series, The Innocent, allows for Atkins to dive into modern politics – crime novel style. After becoming town pariahs for uncovering the crimes of Tibbehah County’s “up standing citizens,” Quinn and his under sheriff Lillie Virgil grow more ambivalent about those they’ve sworn to protect and serve. In a homage to both The Wild Bunch and Point Break, three bandits run into The First National bank with one yelling a modern political variation on Pike Bishop’s opening line. When Quinn and Lillie discuss the crime, Lillie comes to a conclusion:
“They’re not from around here.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because they’re smart.”
“Do I detect some contempt for Tibbehah County.”
“Tell me you don’t shower after a long day?”
Quinn quickly figures out the robbers are military trained – three war vets doing it as much for the adrenaline rush and brotherhood as they are the cashAn FBI agent on their trail soon predicts that the robbers will escalate to bigger challenges, and that’s when someone gets killed. Atkins builds the tension from Quinn and Lillie having to stop it before it does.
The story of the robbery weaves organically and seamlessly through three subplots. The most serious one has Quinn’s sister Caddy searching for two missing girls who worked for truck stop madame Fanny Hathcock, Quinn’s recent nemesis. Fanny finds herself in a political game with Skinner, a God, guts, and guns politician who wants to put her out of business. Quinn takes some steps toward romance with Margret, a woman who has moved back home and just happens to be the estranged wife of one of the robbery crew.
“The Fallen stands as an example of crime fiction’s ability to reflect society while completely entertaining the reader.”
All of the stories spin into a mosaic that provides a biting look at red state politics and the culture that supports it. Skinner is a politician who preaches family values when he’s more interested in the value of land. Odes to a simpler time pepper his dialogue, yet that time, upon examination, appears to be the one that was best only for white Christian males. The robbers are a fascinating contrast to ex-Army Ranger Quinn Colson, exploring the diversity of veterans’ lives. Many of the townspeople that Quinn and Lily have to deal with prove to be annoying at best and a hindrance at worst, mired in their ideologies. The main character arc of the book is how Quinn, Lillie, and Caddy decide to deal with Tibbehah County.
The Fallen stands as an example of crime fiction’s ability to reflect society while completely entertaining the reader. I laughed out loud through out the novel. It is Michael Mann’s Heat filtered though both Faulkner and Smokey & The Bandit, with Atkins fully engaged in every trope he loves as well as the time he is writing in. I hope they allow him back into Mississippi after the book tour.
The Fallen comes out July 18th – Pre-order now!
Ace Atkins comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest on Tuesday, July 21st, at 7 PM.