TheLostOnes-medRecently the Mystery Writers of America announced their nominees for the 2013 Edgar Awards.  There are many categories involved but I have chosen to read, review and rank only the books nominated for Best Novel.  They nominees are:

  1. Ace Atkins: The Lost Ones
  2. Lyndsay Faye:  The Gods of Gotham
  3. Gillian Flynn:  Gone Girl
  4. Jesse Kellerman:  Potboiler
  5. Al Lamanda:  Sunset
  6. Dennis Lehane:  Live by Night
  7. Walter Mosley:  All I Did Was Shoot My Man      

My writing partner and pal, Karen Burgess, is also reviewing the above books as well as the nominees for the Best First Novel.  You can read her catchy blog and see if we end up agreeing on the winners when announced in May.

 I was pleased to note the return of Ace Atkins in the nominees for this year.  I enjoyed the introduction of his protagonist, Quinn Colson, in The Ranger, which was nominated by MWA last year for Best First Novel (you can read my review here).  Unfortunately my pleasure at seeing his name did not extend to the reading of his book, The Lost Ones.

Quinn Colson has been elected sheriff of Tibbehah County, MS, after returning home from ten years as a U.S. Army Ranger (which is the subject of the first suspensful novel).  His buddy from high school, Donnie Varner, is also home from the war (“Trashcanistan”) and runs a gun shop/shooting range with his father.  Donnie figures he put in his time and the guns he smuggles back from the war are his just payment.  He’s not a bad guy, just an opportunist.  The guns draw larger fish to the small town pond and Quinn suspects Donnie’s part in the Mexican Cartel’s sudden arrival.  Much of the story revolves around the selling of guns and the selling-out and murder of smaller illegal dealers.  I kept thinking that this book would make a better screenplay…lots of shooting, lots of killing, a little sex thrown in and then the good guys win.

 A small part of the story touches on a local woman, Janet Torres, who is running an illegal international baby-selling scheme.  By the time Quinn has word to check out her place, she has absconded with the bambinos.  We hear about her from time to time in the story, but the ending is unsatisfying:  the children are saved but Janet escapes.  I thought the story would have benefitted from more focus on the search for the babies and would have provided more suspense.  Maybe Ace is saving her capture for the next book in the series.

Finally, Ace’s sister Caddy, an addict who abandons her young son pretty much full-time to her mother and Quinn while she runs around, is brought back in this story and we learn about the reason she is so messed up.  I won’t give away the backstory, which is told in a series of flashbacks, but suffice it to say that I found it less than compelling to serve as the reason she’s never grown up.  I was disappointed with this second novel in what looks to be a series, especially when compared to his first effort.

 On a scale of one to ten, The Lost Ones rates a 3.