In the latest installment of Atkins's Quinn Colson series, the titular sheriff begins investigating the mysterious death of a teenager named Brandon—who had been a close friend of his wife—that occurred 20 years ago. Colson takes this on while also trying to shut down the criminal syndicate that's had a stranglehold on Tibbehah for years, trafficking drugs, stolen goods, and young women through the MidSouth.
At first glance, it almost seems like Atkins may have tried to mix too many storylines this time around—several of which weren’t yet touched on—but he somehow manages to thread them all together in a way that not only makes sense but adds a sense of urgency to the plot. Without a single dull page to be found and zero 'fluff,' Atkins’ latest moves at a steady clip, touching on a number of timely issues ... Through it all, Atkins continues to develop his series protagonist, along with his growing family, and never fails to capture the Mississippi setting in a way that only he and fellow bestselling author Gregg Iles seem to be able to pull off. Bottom line: If Ace Atkins isn’t already on your summer reading list, put him there . . . The Shameless is some of his best work yet, and a must-read for fans of C.J. Box, Gregg Iles, and Craig Johnson.
While a bit more of a slow boil than the works preceding it, the narrative’s more deliberate pacing is balanced by his frequent flashes of prose brilliance and the final few chapters of the book, where the dominoes that had been painstakingly set up are explosively knocked down to great effect ... You won’t be able to read the last quarter or so of The Shameless fast enough. There is a bit of irony here that is worth the price of admission all by itself, as well as a cast of characters you will not soon forget. Some of them even make it to the end of the book. Knowing that they are out there somewhere will keep you waiting impatiently to see what happens next. The only certainty is that, with Atkins at the helm, you will not be disappointed.
Atkins peppers the narrative with allusions to President Donald Trump, but he also sticks to Colson saga basics ... There is a sudden plot twist that some may view as a flaw in the narrative structure. But Atkins tends to smooth this out as further events unfold, and the surprise element is a feature of the novel. Country music, blues and a variety of popular songs are invoked in many scenes; one of the songs is the Garth Brooks’ cover of 'Shameless.' But the book’s title, for the most part, refers to those who, without apology, twist truth or commit crimes to serve themselves. That’s a tough foe, even for Quinn Colson.