New revelations on a notorious local cold case raise ghosts of the past in the newest thriller from New York Times-bestselling author Ace Atkins.
Twenty years ago, teenager Brandon Taylor walked into the Big Woods north of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, and never returned. For former Army Ranger-turned-sheriff Quinn Colson, the Taylor case has particular meaning. As a ten-year-old, Colson had been lost in those same woods, and came back from them alive and a local legend.
Years later, bones of a child are found in the woods, confirming for many the end to the Taylor story. As the case reopens, some point fingers to Quinn's uncle, the former sheriff, who took his own life in a cloud of corruption and shame. Still, Quinn's wife, Maggie, can't believe it. As a childhood friend of the Taylor boy, she thinks there's a darker conspiracy at work. Letters she receives from a mysterious inmate at a Tennessee state pen may hold the answers.
With a heated election for governor on the horizon and the strengthening of a criminal syndicate's death grip on the state, Quinn's search for answers will upset the corruption that's plagued his home since before he came back from Afghanistan. Greed, false piety, power, bigotry, and dirty deals make for a dangerous mix he knows all too well.
In bestseller Atkins's gritty ninth Quinn Colson novel (after 2018's The Sinners), Colson, the sheriff of Tibbehah County, Miss., is alarmed by the growing popularity of Jimmy Vardaman, a gubernatorial candidate who dismisses accusations of racism as "fake news." Vardaman has appeared on the fringes of Colson's corruption investigations, but the sheriff has been unable to get sufficient evidence to bring charges. Colson hopes that will change after he gets custody of Wes Taggart, a lowlife who attempted to kill one of Colson's friends, who he believes is connected with Vardaman. Meanwhile, Tashi Coleman, the host of a true crime podcast, has arrived in Tibbehah County to look into a 20-year-old mystery the death of 15-year-old Brandon Taylor. Taylor went missing in the woods, only to be found a week later, dead of a gunshot wound. Tashi has doubts about the rigor of the investigation led by the sheriff at the time, Quinn's uncle, Hamp Beckett. The suspense rises as the two cases converge. Atkins makes the thrilling plot accessible for first-timers, while further deepening both main and secondary characters. Series fans will be eager to see what's next in store for Quinn. Author tour.