Ace Atkins Bibliography

Ace Atkins is the author of the very popular Nick Travers series. Travers is an ex-New Orleans Saint who has become a part-time detective and is also a blues historian. The series is strongly weighted towards the blues music that Travers favors.

A second series features​ a returning army ranger who served in Afghanistan with the principal character named Quinn Colson.

As well as these two series ​Atkins has written 4 stand-alone books, the first of them, White Shadow, was a finalist for the 2007 Barry Award for Best Novel. These stand-alone novels are notable for the fact that they are based on real-life crimes that took place in the mid-20th century.

​His most recent project has been to take up Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. The prolific author sadly and suddenly passed away in January 2010 at the age of 77 and the Spenser series to that point had reached an impressive 39 novels. For those of us who have enjoyed both Parker's Spenser series and Ace Atkins' work it will be a pleasure to read the continuation of the series.

Ace Atkins Novels

Author Website

Nick Travers Series

Quinn Colson Series

Robert B. Parker's Spenser Series Continuation

Stand Alone Books

Looking to learn more about the books written by Ace Atkins? Below are brief reviews of each of the books as well as the covers. Click on the book titles to head over to Amazon where you will be able to read many more reviews of each book.

The Nick Travers Series

Crossroad Blues (1998)

The debut novel and first book in the Nick Travers series was Crossroad Blues (1998) and launched Atkins as a detective author to keep squarely on the radar.

Travers is a former pro footballer who has a number of strings to his bow including a job as a professor of the Blues at Tulane University and a sometime private investigator. He is asked to look into the disappearance of a man who was looking for the lost recordings of blues legend Robert Johnson.

The case is heavy in blues facts and influences with a great many references to the genre to keep both the music fans happy and the mystery reader satisfied. Crazy-ass bad guys such as the killer who believes he’s Elvis adds a delicious element to the story, too.

Leavin' Trunk Blues (2000)

The blues theme continues in the second book Leavin’ Trunk Blues (2000) when another connection to the blues industry reaches out and drags Travers in.

In this case blues singer Ruby Walker is interviewed by Travers from her prison cell. She was convicted decades before of murdering her producer and lover. One of the conditions to the interview is that Nick agrees to investigate the hours leading up to the time of the murder.

This is another atmospheric novel that once again envelopes itself into the blues industry and introduces more weird and wonderful sleazy characters.

It is the music and its history that provides the bulk of the interest in this story with the perennial evil characterization of Stagger Lee drawn out of the songs and into the story. This gives Travers a truly dangerous and challenging enemy to face off against.

Dark End of the Street (2002)

The 3rd book in the series, Dark End of the Street (2002) is described with the following: With a precise eye for detail, Atkins takes Nick Travers on a journey into the hidden pockets of New Orleans, the battered roadhouses and truck stops of Mississippi, and the streets of Memphis that only an insider could know.

Dirty South (2004)

Dirty South is the 4th and, by the looks of things, the last book in the Nick Travers series. The story returns to New Orleans where a pro footballer engages Travers to help out a young rap star called ALIAS who has been conned and lost a fortune. It’s a job that will send him into a situation where violence is always just around the corner.

The answer for Travers is to hide out in the Mississippi Delta and engage the help of blues legend JoJo Jackson. Ultimately the story leads to a showdown between Travers, along with ALIAS and the group of conmen, record producers and agents.

It's gritty and mean while continuing the theme of including some healthy doses of Blues lore and legend. At times, it is also a little slow-paced while crucial pieces fall inevitably into place.​

Quinn Colson Series

The Ranger (2011)

The Ranger is the first book in the series featuring Quinn Colson. After years of war, Army Ranger Quinn Colson returns home to the rugged, rough hill country of northeast Mississippi to find his native Tibbehah County overrun with corruption, decay, meth runners, and violence. His uncle, the longtime county sheriff, is dead. A suicide, he’s told, but others—like tomboy deputy Lillie Virgil—whisper murder.

In the days that follow, it’s up to Colson to discover the truth, not only about his uncle, but about his family, his friends, his town, and himself. And once it’s discovered, there’s no going back for this real hero of the Deep South.

The Lost Ones (2012)

The second book in the Quinn Colson series reveals that he is now the sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi and he is settling in despite some slight local opposition. He is faced with a case of child abuse that turns out to involve more than just a few youngsters who have been caught in a baby mill being run by a couple of locals.

As this story unfolds it becomes clear that there is also a gun running scheme in operation that involves a more sinister group of Mexican drug runners. All hell breaks loose, which Quinn and his deputy Lillie Virgil must come up with a sensational plan to handle.

The characters that were introduced in The Range become more fully developed and fleshed out in The Lost Ones and you get a big sense that there is more to come.

The Fallen (2017)

Robert B. Parker's Spenser Series

Lullaby (2012)

This is the first of the Spenser continuation books that takes the original series written by Robert B. Parker and carries it on.

When fourteen-year-old Mattie Sullivan asks Spenser to look into her mother’s murder, he’s not convinced by her claim that the wrong man was convicted. Mattie is street-smart, wise beyond her years, and now left to care for her younger siblings and an alcoholic grandmother in a dilapidated apartment in South Boston. But her need for closure and her determination to make things right hits Spenser where he lives.

As Spenser becomes more involved, he thinks that Mattie may be onto something after all. And he’s going to need the help of his friend Hawk to find peace for Mattie—a job that’s more dangerous than he ever thought.

Wonderland (2013)

Old friends. Small favors. Bitter rivals. Stirred together, it all makes for one explosive cocktail. Spenser can feel the heat stretching from Boston to Vegas—and people are about to get burned.

Henry Cimoli and Spenser have been friends for years, yet the old boxing trainer has never asked the private eye for a favor. Until now. A developer is trying to buy up Henry’s condo on Revere Beach—with a push from local thugs. Soon Spenser and his apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, are on the trail of a mysterious woman, a megalomaniacal Las Vegas kingpin, and a shady plan to turn a chunk of land north of Boston into a sprawling casino. As alliances shift and twisted dreams surface, the Boston political machine looks to end Spenser’s investigation one way or another—and once and for all.

Cheap Shot (2014)

Kinjo Heywood is one of the New England Patriots’ marquee players—a hard-nosed linebacker who’s earned his standing as one of the toughest guys in the league. He may be worth millions but his connection to a nightclub shooting two years before is still putting a dangerous spin on his life, and his career.

When Heywood’s nine-year-old son, Akira, is kidnapped, and a winding trail through Boston’s underworld begins, Spenser puts together his own all-star team of toughs. It will take both Hawk and Spenser’s protégé, Zebulon Sixkill, to watch Spenser’s back. Because Heywood’s next unpredictable move puts everyone in jeopardy as the clock winds down on Akira’s future.

Kickback (2015)

What started out as a joke landed seventeen-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Mass., where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life.

Leading the movement is tough-as-nails judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about coming down hard on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. From the Harbor Islands to a gated Florida community, Spenser and trusted ally Hawk follow a trail through the Boston underworld with links to a shadowy corporation that runs New England’s private prisons. They eventually uncover a culture of corruption and cover-ups in the old mill town, where hundreds of kids are sent off to for-profit juvie jails.

Slow Burn (2016)

The fire at a boarded-up Catholic church raged hot and fast, lighting up Boston’s South End and killing three firefighters who were trapped in the inferno. A year later, as the city prepares to honor their sacrifice, there are still no answers about how the deadly fire started. Most at the department believe it was just a simple accident: faulty wiring in a century-old building. But Boston firefighter Jack McGee, who lost his best friend in the blaze, suspects arson.

McGee is convinced department investigators aren’t sufficiently connected to the city’s lowlifes to get a handle on who’s behind the blaze—so he takes the case to Spenser. Spenser quickly learns not only that McGee might be right, but that the fire might be linked to a rash of new arsons, spreading through the city, burning faster and hotter every night. Spenser follows the trail of fires to Boston’s underworld, bringing him, his trusted ally Hawk, and his apprentice Sixkill toe-to-toe with a dangerous new enemy who wants Spenser dead, and doesn’t play by the city’s old rules. Spenser has to find the firebug before he kills again – and stay alive himself.

Little White Lies (2017)

Boston PI Spenser and right hand Hawk follow a con man’s trail of smoke and mirrors in the latest entry of the iconic crime series. After conning everyone from the cable news shows to the local cops, it looks like the grifter’s latest double cross may be his last.

Connie Kelly thought she’d found her perfect man on an online dating site. He was silver-haired and handsome, with a mysterious background working for the C.I.A. She fell so hard for M. Brooks Welles that she wrote him a check for almost three hundred thousand dollars, hoping for a big return on her investment.

But within weeks, both Welles and her money are gone. Her therapist, Dr. Susan Silverman, hands her Spenser’s card.

A self-proclaimed military hotshot, Welles had been a frequent guest on national news shows speaking with authority about politics and world events. But when he disappears, he leaves not only a jilted lover but a growing list of angry investors, duped cops, and a team of paramilitary contractors looking for revenge.

Enter Spenser, who quickly discovers that everything about Welles is phony. His name, his résumé, and his client list are nothing but an elaborate fraud. But uncovering the truth won’t be easy, as he’ll have to keep the mystery man alive long enough to get back his client’s money. As the trail winds from Boston to backroads Georgia, Spenser will need help from trusted allies Hawk and Teddy Sapp to make sure Welles’s next con is his last.

Stand Alone Books

White Shadow (2006)

Wicked City (2007)

Infamous (2010)