Thirty-six years ago, a nameless black man wandered into Jericho, Mississippi, with nothing but the clothes on his back and a pair of paratrooper boots. Less than two days later, he was accused of rape and murder, hunted down by a self-appointed posse, and lynched.
Now evidence has surfaced of his innocence, and county sheriff Quinn Colson sets out not only to identify the stranger's remains, but to charge those responsible for the lynching. As he starts to uncover old lies and dirty secrets, though, he runs up against fierce opposition from those with the most to lose - and they can play dirty themselves.
Soon Colson will find himself accused of terrible crimes, and the worst part is, the accusations just might stick. As the two investigations come to a head, it is anybody's guess who will prevail - or even come out of it alive.
Lean prose, solid pacing, and a compelling lead distinguish bestseller Atkins's gritty fourth Quinn Colson novel. The aftermath of the violence that ended the previous entry, The Broken Places (2013), continues to enmesh Colson, the sheriff of Jericho, Miss., though the former U.S. Ranger also has two cold cases to unravel. On July 4, 1977, a driver stopped his car on a country road and accosted 17-year-old Diane Tull and her 14-year-old friend, Lori Stillwell. The stranger shot Lori to death after raping Diane. When Lori's father urges the now middle-aged Diane to finally get the case reinvestigated, Quinn agrees to take on the job. Along the way, Quinn comes across a related unsolved murder that ends up striking close to home. That Quinn resembles the late Robert B. Parker's Spenser both are uncomplicated, principled men unafraid to use violence to protect themselves and others isn't surprising, since Atkins now writes the continuation of the Spenser series. Author tour.