The Innocents

After training an Afghani police force, Quinn Colson returns to Jericho, Miss., where Lillie Virgil is acting sheriff. Quinn's father has grand plans to turn Quinn's farm into a dude ranch. His girlfriend Anna Lee is moving to Memphis. And a teenager consumed by raging fire walks down the middle of the road in a desperate attempt to get help. The sixth in Ace Atkins's series may be his darkest yet.

Quinn thought he was finished policing in his hometown when the community voted him out as sheriff. But the gruesome homicide of former high school cheerleader Milly Jones has all of Mississippi watching the investigation, and Lillie needs as much help as she can recruit. The suspect list is long--the strip club boss Milly shortchanged on tips, the drug dealer she refused to sleep with, her drunkard father who feels disgraced by her employment--and the flames devoured any significant forensic evidence that could identify the killer. As Quinn and Lillie dig through the ashes for answers, they find far more than they bargained for.

The marriage of Quinn's law enforcement and complex interpersonal relationships make this series an addictive read. The Innocents shines a glaring spotlight down the darkest alleys of small-town Mississippi, but does so with the compassion of one who loves the region and wants to reveal the diamonds along with the dregs. Seasoned Quinn Colson readers will likely predict the outcome early, but the journey there is the true joy in this gem of a crime novel. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

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