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The Ranger (Quinn Colson Novels) Hardcover – June 9, 2011

Book 1 of 5 in the Quinn Colson Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known for historical thrillers like Infamous, Atkins kicks off a new series with a solid action-packed yarn featuring U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. When Colson returns home to Jericho, Miss., from his most recent tour of duty in Afghanistan for his uncle's funeral, he's surprised to learn that his uncle, former sheriff Hampton Beckett, shot himself to death. An old friend, Deputy Lillie Virgil, suspects that Beckett was actually murdered. Colson's efforts to prove that theory bring him up against both the violent and the corrupt. During Colson's time away, his rural community has been overrun with meth dealers, whose blight affects those close to him. The contours of the story line are a bit too familiar—the prodigal son returning home to clean up the town—and the setup for sequels is predictable, but the author's superior prose will carry most readers along and raise hopes for more original plotting next time. Greg Iles fans will find much to like. (June)


I have always been impressed with (jealous of) how easy Ace Atkins makes it look. The Ranger is by far his best work...I hope Quinn Colson and Lillie Virgil stick around for a good long time, -- Michael Connelly Atkins has written a bunch of great thrillers, but this one sets up a series that should push him to the top of the bestseller list. -- John Sandford Atkins can run rings around most of the names in the crime field. -- Elmore Leonard This exciting thriller leaves you looking forward to the ranger's return. Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Quinn Colson Novels
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (June 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399157486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157486
  • ASIN: 0399157484
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of seventeen novels, including the forthcoming The Redeemers and Robert B. Parker's Kickback, both out from G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2015.

One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he's friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Find out more about Ace and his novels on his official website:, on Facebook Ace Atkins, and on Twitter @aceatkins.

Customer Reviews

Great characters,with good action.
S. Kaplan
The main character is boring and underdeveloped, and really does very little.
You will root for the hero and those he protects.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ace Atkins was a new to me author. But he was quickly added to my 'must read authors' list. His latest novel The Ranger (releases June 9th) is phenomenal!

Quinn Colson, an Army Ranger, returns to his hometown of Jericho in Tibbehah County, Mississippi. He's on leave to attend the funeral of his Uncle Hamp, who was the sheriff of Jericho. Quinn hasn't been home in almost seven years. As he reconnects with his past, the underbelly of Tibbehah County shows itself. Meth dealers, crooked politicians and wounded souls populate the county. Determined to hold on to a piece of family property, Quinn decides to stick around for a bit. Aided by his old friend Boom, back from Iraq minus an arm, and Lillie Virgil - a female deputy as tough as nails, Quinn goes head to head with the slime bent on taking whatever they want in Tibbehah County.

Atkins has put a great spin on the old fashioned western. Our heroes are those who have faced the horrors of war and have come home to find just as ugly a war on the home front. Racism, drugs and corruption are all coiled like a snake under the front porch, waiting to strike.

The dialogue is short and terse, with no unnecessary speeches to clutter up the action. It just adds to the overall tone of the book. Much is said by the words left unspoken. The characters populating the novel are all vividly drawn. The landscape and settings are just as stark and gritty. I had a clear picture in my head as I read.

Or rather, raced through the book. I literally could not put it down.The action is fast and furious. Secondary plots involving past relationships and new relatives do add a human touch to Quinn's character.

The ending is set up for the second book in the series - due out in summer of 2012.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By JEFFREY MCGRAW on June 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came to Ace Atkins through the announcement that he was chosen to continue the Robert B. Parker Spenser series. Prior to this, his work hadn't crossed my path. Then I bought the debut novel on Kindle of his new series called THE RANGER about an Army Ranger named Quinn Colson. I thought this would give me an inkling as to what to expect from an Ace Atkins Spenser novel.

First things first, THE RANGER does what a debut novel is supposed to do. It introduces the main character, the next tier of recurring characters and then those needed to flesh out the book for plot purposes. Atkins seems to be able to thread that needle in his sleep.

Next, he sets the scene with descriptions which are both vivid and minimalist at the same time. Elmore Leonard Lite. There are only so many plots so, in my view, it comes down to the execution of same.

The action is detailed and unyielding. You will root for the hero and those he protects. If body count makes you squeamish then read this and sleep with a light on.

THE RANGER is an excellent, entertaining debut effort for a new series. Not a whole lot of mystery but more thrills and twists than you can shake a stick at, if that's your idea of fun.

Worth your time and money. Treat yourself.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Quinn Colson returns home for his Idealized uncle's funeral after six years absence and 10 years worth of Mid-East tours. He's an army Ranger aka a proven tough guy with wilderness skills. He can face almost anything....except maybe his high school sweetheart who dumped him and married his buddy while he was off fighting for his country. Oh and then there's his Elvis and Jesus obsessed mom and his drug addled younger sister. Other than that he's primed for a lovely home visit but as he travels from Fort Benning to the Oxford, Mississippi area he comes within inches of running down a pregnant teen who's dazedly wandering the back roads in search of her baby daddy. And our hero is still not home yet! He's not surprised that his mom and sister have skipped the funeral but the town's leaders, the three wise men, are there. They have a few drinks, toast the dearly departed, and swap war stories.

Then the action really picks up. Supposedly his uncle who was the (drunken) Sheriff committed suicide. Quinn doesn't buy it. As he starts to investigate he reunites with various friends and enemies from his past (and it's not always clear who falls into which category) he finds a hornet's nest of political and financial rivalries, prostitution, racism, religion and downright orneriness. Atkins does a swell job of bringing these folks to life especially against the backdrop of an isolated southern town that could almost be a throwback to the 1800's. From the first conversation you can almost taste the south. My only issue with Mr. Atkins is that he never once mentions home time Oxfordian William Faulkner. This is a great first installment in what promises to be a fun series.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Giordano on July 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished this book but it took real discipline. The Ranger was a complete disappointment. Michael Connelly aside this was not the finest book Mr. Atkins has written. His White Shadow is an excellent crime novel. So I imagine that some glowing comments were more publisher directed then heart felt. As Sherlock Holmes would say 'the games afoot' .

My first problem with The Ranger is with the ranger. Quinn is a static's hard to work up any feeling for him. Quinn is supposed to be a highly trained ranger with a boat load of skills including discipline and leadership abilities. I am glad that was mentioned because I would not have known from the story itself. The first violent encounter hinted that he was lethal and fearless but after that it was just ho hum stuff.

The way around a bland hero is to surround him with some outstanding secondary characters who can challenge him to hell and back until we begin to appreciate his restraint. That duty usually falls to the villain, in this case he's a drug addled psycho who quickly becomes tedious. He's vile enough but you don't really feel the menace.
The other characters who do get page time are ambiguous at best. Good guys, bad guys who knows. Nor does it help that all of these uninteresting people are placed in a plotline that is a bit inane and worse.........annoying.

Settings can help or even make a series in many cases but there's no help here. There is little sense of time and place. Even the psycho villain expresses distain for the town telling a women in the local bank to " smile sometime. Son of a bitch, this old town is sad." Son of a bitch .....he's right.

So what kept me reading on? The hope that there would be a pay off. I bought this one.
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