You won’t be disappointed when diving into “The Sinners”

The appointment is on the books.

It was made a long time ago, and you couldn’t get out of it if you wanted to. Cancellation is impossible, rescheduling is not an option. One way or the other, you’re booked and you will be there — even if, as in the new novel, “The Sinners” by Ace Atkins, somebody’s been murdered.

Half of Tibbehah County had the opinion that Maggie Powers and Quinn Colson were marrying too fast. It’d only been about a year, after all, since Sheriff Quinn arrested Maggie’s husband on a murder charge.

The other half of Tibbehah, however, was invited to the wedding, although Quinn hadn’t wanted it that way. He wanted a quiet little ceremony — her son, his nephew, close family, and his friend, Boom, as best man. That’s all Quinn needed.

Boom, however, needed some peace of mind.

After finally landing a job that paid good money, Boom was re-thinking his over-the-road dreams. Taking a truckload to Tupelo one night, he discovered that his “avocado” freight was actually stolen electronics, and it got worse: Boom soon realized that a lot of his cargo was illegal, and he wanted nothing to do with that.

And then Ordeen Davis was found dead.

Boom knew the boy; went to church with his mama. Ordeen was just a kid who’d gotten wrapped up with the wrong crowd and lately, he’d been working as Fannie Hathcock’s right-hand man. Fannie was Tibbehah County ’s local madam and Ordeen was the second young man who died while working for her but, much like last time, she told Quinn that she didn’t know anything.

As it turned out, though, maybe she didn’t.

On the truckbox where Ordeen’s body was found was a fingerprint of someone familiar: Heath Pritchard, who’d been trouble all his sorry life and had spent 20-odd years in prison for drug dealing. Was he back living with his nephews and growing marijuana in Tibbeheh County for a cartel of powerful gangsters?

Was Pritchard the reason Quinn found himself thinking not of a wedding, but of a funeral?

There’s a lot going on in “The Sinners.” That’s the first thing to know — that there’s profanity, a lot of characters, and a lot of action.

But you didn’t come to a novel like this to sit nicely, did you?

Nope, so from the first few pages, a kind of Burt Reynolds-ish caper, you won’t be one bit disappointed with what you get. Reading a novel by Ace Atkins is like that, like having a seat to one side of a drug deal, a murder, or a half-baked idea; like leaning over a redneck’s race car on a hot Saturday morning, cussing and spitting in the dirt; like a day of fishing in a bayou before someone dredges up a body.

Fans of the Quinn Colson novels will find familiar characters here but beware that it may take a minute to catch up. Same goes if you’re new to this series, too; either way, “The Sinners” is something you’ll want. Book it now.

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