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.
Before he was an Army Ranger who came home to become Tibbehah County Sheriff and take down a corrupt system, Quinn Colson was a kid who got into trouble--a lot of it. So when juvenile delinquent TJ Byrd insists that she doesn’t know who killed her mother—an unreliable addict who has disappeared—Quinn’s inclined to believe her. But no one else does--not the town, not the sheriff in a neighboring county, not her mother’s older boyfriend, and certainly not Quinn’s friend and former deputy, U.S. Marshal Lillie Virgil.
The Byrd family has always been trouble, and sixteen-year-old TJ is known for petty theft, fighting, and general hellraising. She’s also no fool, and when she senses she’s about to take the fall for her mother’s murder, TJ, her boyfriend, her best friend, and her nine-year-old brother go on the run. As Lillie Virgil tracks the kids across a trail of burglaries, stolen cars and even a kidnapping, intent on bringing TJ to justice, Quinn sets out to find the truth back in Tibbehah. Someone has gone to a lot of violent trouble to make TJ and her friends the logical target of the investigation. It’s easy, and who cares about a bunch of lawless kids?
As the bloody evidence against TJ piles up, Quinn knows someone truly evil is at work here--and that puts TJ and her friends in more danger than they can imagine.
About the Author
Ace Atkins is the author of twenty-eight books, including eleven Quinn Colson novels, the first two of which, The Ranger and The Lost Ones, were nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel (he has a third Edgar nomination for his short story "Last Fair Deal Gone Down"). He is the author of nine New York Times-bestselling novels in the continuation of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. Before turning to fiction, he was a correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times and a crime reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and he played defensive end for Auburn University football.
"Exceptional. . . Atkins artfully alternates between that pursuit and Colson’s search for the people he believes slaughtered Byrd. The diverse cast of characters and their intricate relationships elevate this above most other gritty crime novels. Atkins is writing at the top of his game."−Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A rambunctious road novel. . . Evoking Edward Anderson's 1937 country noir Thieves like Us, with a touch of Bonnie and Clyde, Atkins' hard-edged yet tenderhearted novel will keep readers rooting for TJ and her gang of inadvertent outlaws on the road to the better lives they crave.”−Booklist (starred review)
“The Heathens may put one in the mind of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in all of the best ways... Atkins’ straightforward plotting and well-turned prose will keep you in your seat reading...”−BookReporter.com