Reviews for Lost Ones

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Most readers working their way through this novel are likely, at least once, to flip to the trumpeting blurbs on the jacket and wish they were reading that novel instead of this one. The one they're confronting has the ingredients for a surefire thriller: an ex-Ranger turned small-town Mississippi sheriff has to deal with both a cruel bootleg baby scam and an old friend who's stolen guns from the army and is trying to sell them to a drug cartel. But for over half the novel, nothing much goes on. Scenes build toward conflict but never get there. Instead, the characters sit around, smoking and drinking and saying "shit"--getting it together, hauling it, talking it--until it seems less like verisimilitude and more like what Freud called "arrested development." The author gets his "shit" together around page 221, when the various narrative lines converge. But, again, a lassitude takes over, and the scene drifts away. Atkins has an audience of fans and has written several fine books, but this isn't one of them. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 July #2
Atkins' sequel to The Ranger (2011) finds Quinn Colson counting the ways in which his Afghanistan tours resemble life in the nice little Mississippi town that's just elected him sheriff. Begin with the complicated matter of identifying "friendlies." What with turf wars and hidden agendas, not all law enforcement people march in lock step, Quinn discovers. Long legs, pretty red hair and an FBI power suit, for instance, do not, for sure, an ally make. They can signal one thing, then its opposite, and sometimes both simultaneously--mixed signals with the potential for dangerous, even deadly confusion. Along those same lines, an old pal with whom Quinn once happily tormented the juvenile authorities of Tibbehah County, Miss., now travels a crooked path to nowhere and can no longer be trusted. On the other hand, it's a good bet that even Afghanistan might never be able to duplicate the homegrown nastiness of Johnny Stagg, the bottom feeder Quinn replaced as sheriff, and about whom the usually even-tempered, essence-of-cool Quinn is heard to say, "I'd like to punch Johnny Stagg in the throat." Whether the business is dismal enough--and profitable enough--depends on ex-sheriff Stagg being somehow near the core of it. And suddenly Tibbehah County is rife with dismal profitable opportunities. There's gunrunning activity involving bloodthirsty Mexican cartels, a thriving cottage industry in baby-selling, and more, all of which keeps Sheriff Quinn stepping briskly to keep up. Add to this a full familial plate: His wayward kid sister has unexpectedly returned. To reclaim the little boy she left in Quinn's charge? Good, hard-to-answer question. So, with his own agenda piled high and spilling over every which way, it's entirely possible that from time to time Quinn might ask himself if Afghanistan was…well…quite as singular as he'd thought. A valiant hero to root for, a vividly rendered small-town setting, lots of expertly managed violence: another crowd-pleaser from a thriller-meister at the top of his game. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #1

Edgar-finalist Atkins showcases his versatility in his exciting, thoughtful second thriller starring ex-Ranger-turned-lawman Quinn Colson (after 2011's The Ranger). Colson, who survived tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has only recently become sheriff in Tibbehah County, Miss., where graft is personified by Johnny Stagg, president of the board of county supervisors. Stagg, who was Colson's opponent in a special election to fill the vacant sheriff's position, is now determined to make life difficult for his adversary. Things are challenging enough without this personal animus. A battered child brought into the local trauma center leads the authorities to a horrific baby farm, and Donnie Varner, an old friend of Colson's, has gotten mixed up with some very bad and very violent people. Atkins manages to sell the notion of a contemporary laconic lead battling evil that could come straight out of a Gary Cooper western. Author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (June)

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