By Heidi Simmons
by Ace Atkins
by Alex Kava
Men and women love a guy who can take charge. Someone who isn’t afraid to buck the system to get things done and is willing to take risks to save the day is everyone’s hero. In Ace Atkin’s The Redeemers (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 384 pages) and Alex Kava’s Silent Creed (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 336 pages) returning franchise characters continue to make things right.
Third in the Quinn Colson series, The Redeemers finds our hero at the end of his term as Sheriff. Voted out of office, the good ole boy’s corrupt network has put an inside man in Colson’s place. They want change, but it’s not all legal.
When the bad guys start to turn on each other, Colson is forced back into action even without his badge. After a botched break-in during which one of his deputies is shot, the entire small community of Tibbehah County, Mississippi is affected.
Faced with family issues, girlfriend problems and an unsure future, Colson manages to set things back to normal while exposing the corruption and finding the thieves and killers.
Character Ryder Creed returns for a second time in Silent Creed. An Afghanistan veteran and former military K-9 handler, Creed now trains search and rescue dogs in the Florida Panhandle. When he and his dogs are called to assist in finding survivors after a devastating mudslide, he and his team dig up much more than dirt.
Turns out the United States government had a secret research facility where the doctors in charge had gone rogue forming new chemical weapon compounds. When Creed and his dogs meet up with FBI agent Maggie O’Dell, they not only uncover bodies but a conspiracy. Creed gets to the bottom of the situation, but the top leads all the way in Washington, D.C.
Franchise novel, character series are a lot of fun. It’s great to get to know their problems, history, strengths and flaws. When you understand a protagonist intimately – his world, circle of friends and enemies – the story leaps ahead and becomes more engaging as the narrative unfolds.
The Redeemers and Silent Creed are novels still early in the series making it easy to jump on board. Readers are able to share the complicated nature of the heroic protagonist as he sets out on new adventures and mysteries. Quinn Colson is in his 30s and Ryder Creed is only 28, so (if the author is so inclined) these characters may have a long future.
There are many similarities in these two books. Both have men who are former military and are haunted by that experience. Each is set in the South and each has a strong female counter part.
Although this is my first visit into Colson and Creed’s worlds, the author makes it clear who the important relationships are to these complicated men. Creed is in fact a spin-off from author Kava’s “Maggie O’Dell” series. By the way, Alex Kava is a woman with 15 books to her credit.
In The Redeemers, I was not sure who the “redeemers” really were. Maybe it is actually Colson’s sister and father who have returned to the family after leaving addiction behind. I loved the villains in this story. They are bad, colorful and very dangerous.
I especially loved the world of the dogs in Silent Creed. I learned so much about how animals are trained and the nature of search and rescue. The dogs are equally interesting and important characters in the story. I think I’m more curious to see what becomes of “Grace,” the Jack Russell terrier, “Bolo,” the Ridgeback and the new dog, “Molly,” who was dug out of the mud after being buried alive with her human family who did not survive.
These books have short chapters and that helps make it a quick read. Neither novel shies away from violence or controversy. They are not poetic and they are not pretentious. The writing is straight forward just like the characters on the page.
I encourage you to find a character franchise to enjoy. As the authors crank out future titles, you will feel more and more a part of the story. Finding characters you love and hate will keep you entertained for years to come.