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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 March 2017
For me, it took a little time to adapt to the author's writing style but it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this book.
I was introduced to some great characters and to the state of Mississippi where an interesting story was unfolded.
A good read that has left me with the intention of following Quinn Colson's, his co-characters and their exploits in the other books of this series.
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on 16 April 2017
Not really my style of literature but I'm always looking for a challenge. This story was ok but seemed a bit disconnected the plot was disjointed and no real depth to the characters they were a bit cliche still I got all the way through it so if couldn't have been that bad
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on 18 August 2017
Enjoyable read
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on 11 December 2013
I like my thrillers more of a Techno Thriller normally, but this was recommended and had caught my eye, I had time on my hands and I was looking for a book, so I downloaded the preview onto my Kindle
Before I knew it I had read the preview and wanted more...

It is a well written mystery / crime novel in which I really felt for the dysfunctional characters. I really felt that I had been transported into rural Mississippi.

Quinn Colson, the main protagonist, is a US Army Ranger on a leave of absence following the violent death of his Uncle, a small town Sheriff. Few characters are what they appear, from the top to the bottom of society, neither, old school friends, town worthies & family, many just wanting Quinn to go back to the Army. More violence ensues...

I finished the book and wanted more...
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on 15 June 2014
Good storyline but reminds me of Jack Teacher or Oliver Stone type adventure, although not as good. Proofreading not good and too much Mississippi drawl for my liking. Felt a little like the wild west at times rather than modern day USA.
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on 7 November 2012
I actually read the follow up book to this one first (The Lost Ones) and since it was great I just had to find and read the first one in the series as well. That turned out to be a great idea since The Ranger is an excellent story told by an author who knows how to write.

The Story is about a ranger sergeant home on leave for a funeral and how he gets tangled up in the local crime scene in his small home town in Mississippi. This is a perfect mix of mystery combined with a number of interesting characters. The Story just flows along and you with it. The Ending is a little like OK Coral but it does not feel to artificial. 300+ pages just went by rapidly.

Ace Atkins has created an interesting hero in Quinn Colson that I hope to meet a number of times in the future.
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on 24 March 2013
Being a steadfast fan of the wonderful Ace Atkins for many years, I always relish a new book from this gifted and compelling crime writer. I am pleased to report that `The Ranger' does not disappoint and, in my ever so humble opinion, marks the start of what I believe will be a superlative series featuring Quinn Colson, a man who would be more than capable of giving Jack Reacher a good old run for his money!

When the book opens Colson has returned from Afghanistan and is at a crossroads in his Army career, so along with attending his uncle's funeral is using the time back home to reassess his future career. It becomes evident that there is a lot more to his uncle's apparent suicide, drawing Colson into the crosshairs of a community with more than one secret lurking beneath the surface. What Atkins does so well is draw together aspects of Colson's upbringing within this community, and how the loyalties of the past must inevitably fall by the wayside in his search for the truth. Colson's immediate family is put under the microscope what with the reckless and selfish actions of his errant sister, and the gradual unveiling of his uncle's troubles with the most powerful members of this community. This is world of trailer parks and meth labs, and another reviewer tags this book as `redneck noir'. Entering into the fray are a small violent band of typical backwoods criminals, highly reminiscent of the criminal fraternity in `Justified', who also have Colson in their sights, but it soon becomes clear that the last thing you should do is underestimate this tough and uncompromising soldier. The plot is gripping and action packed throughout and although largely unsentimental in tone is, at times, punctuated with some more emotional scenes as Colson uncovers betrayal from some unexpected quarters, which adds a good balance to the overall story arc. It isn't just simply a thriller as you will discover for yourselves...

The characterisation is absolutely pitch perfect as Colson is an archetypal tough guy who through his Army training is well-honed and resourceful in his defence of those he seeks to protect, and is no stranger to physical violence. He exudes an air of morality and is not adverse to expressing his finer feelings, and with this combination of traits makes him an extremely attractive character to male and female readers alike. He is supported by a perfectly drawn cast of characters from his brilliant sidekick Boom, to local deputy Lillie Virgil and the rapport and interaction between these three in particular engages throughout. Likewise, Atkins surrounds them with a cast of typical Mississippi folk, no strangers to violence, but also just trying to get along the best they can. The baddies are great- inbred and for the most part stupid- and whenever they enter the story I heard a distant echo of duelling banjos as they are continually thwarted by Colson's actions and his dogged determination to bring them to book. The dialogue is taut and slick, with many an interaction suffused with the natural sassy wit of this region's inhabitants, and the natural intonation of the South sings from every page.

As I made reference to at the beginning, `The Ranger' marks the start of a series and I've heard from other bloggers that the second in the series, `The Lost Ones' is even better than the first. Yes, there is much to be recommended here for fans of the earlier books of Lee Child, but for my money, Atkins outreaches Reacher (sorry couldn't resist) with his superior grasp of character and location. Also once you discover Atkins, there is another world of adventure in store for you with his eclectic back catalogue, mainly set in the South, a combination of the fictional and at times cleverly drawing on the factual, but all imbued with the assured hand of one of the best crime writers you will encounter.
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on 27 March 2015
Bought this on a whim due to the endorsement by Elmore Leonard. I can only assume he was paid or coerced into his recommendation of this book: it stinks, folks.
Formulaic, badly written dialogue, & see-it-coming plotting that's worse than a Lee Child novel. Avoid if you over the age of consent...
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on 24 February 2014
Ace Atkins is an ex crime reporter for the Tampa Bay Tribune. He has been writing since 2000. The character, Quinn Colson first appeared in 2011 with this book, The Ranger. The premis has huge post modern potential. Colson is an ex US Army Ranger of the title. Rangers are a regiment sized unit and see themselves as harder, more resilient and more resourceful than the smaller but higher profile US Special Forces. The motto is 'Rangers lead the way, all the way'. Rangers were at the forefront of the disastrous US military operation in Mogadishu in 1993. See the book Blackhawk Down by Mark BOWDEN and the 2001 film by Ridley SCOTT.

Colson leaves the army after tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and returns home to the rugged hill country of NE Mississippi, Tibbehah County. There he may inherit property and pick up where he left off many years before. The scene is thus set for this idealistic soldier, hardened by fighting for freedom and the rule of law in far off lands, to fight for freedom and the rule of law in the Badlands of his own country. Colson thus springs from a post Vietnam and post 911 America. Unlike Jack Reacher, with whom he is inevitably compared, Colson has roots and lives on the grid. Other than that he is very much in the JR mold of ex military on a moral crusade righting wrongs and protecting the weak.

Now to the writing. The book disappoints in almost every department. The pace is slow, the developing action disjointed and Colson spends most of the time wandering around picking up on old friends who don’t seem to have a role or relevance in the narrative as a whole. There is little or no driving force to the narrative. At the end of each chapter one is keen to see what happens next but the next chapter begins an unrelated development. I felt the strands never came together in a coherent finale. Characters were badly drawn and undeveloped. One 1 star reviewer heavily criticises the editing and there may be something in this. The book gives the impression it was rushed out to cash in on the Hurt Locker / Jarhead schtick.

I was left with a frustrated feeling that there was a decent story struggling to get out of the book, that there was a strong character desperate to stand out of the page. All in all the author and his character inevitably fall to be compared with Childs and Jack Reacher. They don’t come out of it well, but this may be a function of the fact that Jack Reacher so dominates this genre. For that reason I give the book 2 stars.
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on 31 August 2013
Mr Atkins has written a book that has a lot of potential, there is a main character that could have been developed into a 3 dimensional character and a plot that had the potential for good 'twists and turns' to happen, however, none of them materialised. The disappointment is the plot and characters are set in a setting that is not often read about, revolving around a type of issue that is not always expressed, but it is never developed or moved in any way. There is no linear plot development or character development, it is stop-start the whole way through with thought processes jumping from one thing to another and not always related to each other. The main character seems to be able to continue with very little and events occur with little build up to them.
The worst of the novel is, whoever Mr Atkins editors are, they should be dragged into the street and shot for doing such an appalling job! I have never read a book written in such bad English, with so many grammar and spelling mistakes too! How they can justify sending a piece of work to print in the state they have, is beyond me! The editors obviously didn't do a very good job or advise their client very well on the basics of writing a novel - i.e.: plot development, the use of climax and/or anti-climax, character development etc and that basic writing skills would not go amiss when advising their client on these aspects.
I feel cheated that I actually paid money to read this book.
I am sure Mr Atkins has talent and can write, but he might want to change his editors if he wants to get anywhere with it, as they obviously don't have his best interests at heart. My only regret is, neither the author or the editors will see this review. If you were considering reading this book...don't waste your money or time.
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