Book tip: "The Lost Ones"

Ace Atkins

Putnam

In this very space a few months back, The Day's managing editor Tim Cotter proclaimed "Lullaby," Atkins' debut effort as the inheritor of Robert B. Parker's Spenser franchise, the best mystery of the year. Well, "The Lost Ones" is damned great, too - and very different. (It's worth marveling over how adept Atkins in completely different styles.) "The Lost Ones" is the second in a series set in the fictional north Mississippi county of Tibbehah and starring ex-Army Ranger-turned-sheriff Quinn Colson. This time out, Colson and his winning deputy, Lillie Virgil, simultaneously face intruding Mexican cartels, gun-running, and a child-trafficking epidemic. Also, age-old family secrets, a high school buddy gone bad, and a lovely FBI agent. Atkins poetically and effortlessly blends humor, vicious action, and Faulknerian layers of humanity and provincial culture. Amazing stuff. (Oh, the requisite disclosure: we adopted our dog Gumbo from Atkins, who, with his wife Angela, rescues and fosters many, many good animals.)

- RICK KOSTER

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