Do you know how smokin’ Ace is? You’d have to be with a moniker like that one. Whoever named the kid set him up for big success or big failure. Lucky for us, we get the former. Ace Atkins is a tall, handsome, athletic guy with an encyclopedia of Americana (history, culture, crime, popular folklore) shelved in the space between his ears, and he can write to boot. Some guys have it all, yeah?
After playing college football (at Auburn), Ace wrote for the Tampa Tribune before turning to fiction. His debut, Crossroad Blues, introduced his first series character, Nick Travers – an ex-football player, turned blues musician and music professor, who he would write three more titles with: Leavin' Trunk Blues, Dark End of the Street and Dirty South. (You like private eyes and the blues? Check out William Hjortsberg’s Falling Angel or John Hornor Jacobs’ Southern Gods).
After Travers, Atkins penned some seriously enthralling stand alones drawing inspiration from notorious true crimes and characters of the early-twentieth-century, America. White Shadow (about Charlie Wall), Wicked City (Albert Patterson), Devil's Garden (Fatty Arbuckle) and Infamous (Machine Gun Kelly) played well with fans of James Ellroy’s or Megan Abbott’s historical tomes (really, check out The Black Dahlia or Bury Me Deep and I’m kicking myself for letting Ron Hansen’s A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion slip through my fingers last year, so I’ve got my eye on J.I. Baker’s The Empty Glass).
Now Atkins finds himself in the enviable position of currently writing two popular mystery series, as well as in the (perhaps) unenviable position of competing for sales with – himself. The Lost Ones is his second book featuring Quinn Colson a former Army Ranger now Sheriff of Tibbehah county Mississippi (after last year’s Edgar nominated The Ranger). His other gig is filling the shoes of the late great Robert B. Parker. Parker, who died two and a half years ago, was the creator of such beloved characters as Jesse Stone, Virgil Cole and Sunny Randall, but he’s best known and will always be remembered for his most popular creation – Spenser.
Spenser was Parker’s answer to Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe and his instinct for the character and effortless prose style landed him the job of completing Chandler’s unfinished Marlowe novel Poodle Springs. Now the favor is returned by Atkins, whose first shot at a Spenser novel - Lullaby - is out now.
Learn more about Ace Atkins here.
Jedidiah Ayres writes fiction and keeps the blog Hardboiled Wonderland.
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