In the latest installment of this crime series, Sheriff Quinn Colson and his former deputy Lillie Virgil find themselves on opposite sides of a case for the first time after a woman is found dead and three delinquent teens go on the run.
... a tale that should please longtime fans and newcomers alike ... a great deal of suspense comes from whether TJ and her little band of desperados will be caught on their interstate flight and who will nab them ... The Heathens may put one in the mind of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in all of the best ways ... Atkins continues to pepper his narrative and dialogue with homespun and regional colloquialisms from a seemingly and hopefully bottomless well. They are worth the price of admission all by themselves, though Atkins’ straightforward plotting and well-turned prose will keep you in your seat reading, which is as it should be.
Besides rethinking a tragic criminal case, The Heathens also continues the series’ terrific examination of rural crime and values, kicking over shibboleths to show off the good, bad, and ugly of life in the modern South ... this installment is a great jumping-on point for readers new to the series. But be warned: nature abhors a vacuum, and just because Quinn has gotten rid of one set of bad guys doesn’t mean another isn’t waiting to ooze its way into power, as the ending tantalizingly promises.