Book Review: The Heathens by Ace Atkins

July 19, 2021


The Heathens by Ace Atkins is the 11th book in the Quinn Colson series, or The Ranger. Mr. Atkins is a published author, and former crime reporter.

  • 416 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0593328396

Book Review: The Heathens by Ace Atkins
My rat­ing for The Heathens5

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There are explicitly two reasons I knew I was immediately going to like The Heathens by Ace Atkins. The first is obvious, I’ve been a fan of the series since the beginning. Furthermore, is the author’s unnamed homage to the fantastic 1985 film The Legend of Billie Jean, which I have seen numerous times as a teen.

I was especially looking forward to see where the next Quinn Colson book will go. After all, the Sheriff cleaned up Tibbehah County quite nicely already. Mr. Atkins, however, brings back old villains which we love to hate.

It was a good idea for the recurring characters in The Range series move aside in the novel to favor the new ones. This was because the main characters are already well developed and are not afraid to let new ones take center stage.

We find Quinn Colson finally settling into the life he never knew he wanted and needed, married with children. Lillie Virgil juggles her daughter and career, meanwhile Boon has only a small part in this novel.

The author captures life in a small town brilliantly meanwhile. The complex relationships of people who know each other well, sometimes too well, are explored in a subtle way. That being said, the charms of living in such a place are not skipped over, making Tibbehah County a character of its own.

This a smart crime story, not a mystery. A retelling of The Legend of Billie Jean for the modern age, with twists and turns at the same time. The Heathens is a great book if you’re a fan of the series, however new readers might not enjoy it as old fans. We are familiar with the recurring characters, their nuances, personalities, and histories which makes this series one of my favorites.


Quinn Colson, sheriff of Tibbehah County in northeast Mississippi, has a strange case on his hands on account of TJ Byrd. TJ is a teenage girl, insists she didn’t kill her mother, a drug addict. Sheriff Colson is the only one to believe her.

TJ herself is no angel, she runs away with her boyfriend a nine-year-old brother, becoming a social-media phenomena. Together with Lillie Virgil, Colson tracks the kids over the state line in an attempt to find the truth.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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