I just finished The Redeemers, a fine book by Mississippi writer Ace Atkins….

Born June 28, 1970, in Troy, Alabama, Ace Atkins played football at Auburn University, and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1993 when Auburn won the National Championship.

Atkins worked as a crime reporter at the Tampa Tribune. His first novel, Crossroad Blues, was published in 1998. Atkins earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for crime reporting in 2000. Atkins’ writing style follows the economical tradition of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Elmore Leonard.

Atkins knew Elmore Leonard. Before Leonard passed away in 2013 he wrote this about the writing of Ace Atkins: “Keep an eye on Ace Atkins–he can write rings around most of the names in the crime field.”

Atkins’ latest book–The Redeemers–was released during July of 2015 and counts as his seventeenth book. Former President Bill Clinton purchased three books in July at New York City’s Strand Book Store, and one of them was The Redeemers.

The Redeemers serves as the fifth book in the Quinn Colson series. The book’s cover art is a photo of the writer’s Mississippi home taken by his wife with her cell phone.

In this story, Colson, an ex-U.S. Army Ranger just lost re-election for sheriff in his hometown of Tibbehah County, MS. The story unfolds during Colson’s last few days on the job. On his last night as sheriff, a robbery transpires with fatal implications for the network of colorful characters in this small southern county.

The Redeemers transpires in contemporary Mississippi. Yet, the characters conjure references to Gram Parsons, Bear Bryant, George Jones amid current times. The story weaves criminal activities in small southern towns in North Mississippi, Memphis and even Alabama where corruption is almost palpable as the fanatical spirit of football. The book contains unforgettable characters such as Uncle Peewee, Johnny Stagg, Deputy Lillie Virgil, Mickey Walls and Kyle Hazelwood.

The story contains a web of characters that all know each other in a small Mississippi town. Atkins leaves the reader in suspense until the last page. The Redeemers serves as another testimony that Ace Atkins ranks as a first rate storyteller.