- Crossroad Blues: A Nick Travers Mystery (1998)
- Leavin’ Trunk Blues (2001)
- Dark End of the Street (2002)
- Dirty South (2004)
- White Shadow (2006)
- Wicked City (2008)
- Devil’s Garden (2009)
- Infamous (2010)
- The Ranger (A Quinn Colson Novel) (2011)
- The Lost Ones (A Quinn Colson Novel) (2012)
- Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby (Spenser Series Book 2)) (2012)
- The Broken Places (A Quinn Colson Novel), (May 30, 2013)
- Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland (Spenser Series Book 2) (May 7,2013)
- The Broken Places (A Quinn Colson novel, Book 3) May 1, 2014)
- Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot (Spenser, Book 3) (May 6, 2014
- The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson novel) July 24, 2014
- Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (Spenser Book 28) by Ace Atkins (May 19, 2015)
- The Redeemers (A Quinn Colson Novel Book 5) July 2015
- Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn (Spenser) May, 2016
- The Innocents (A Quinn Colson Novel) July 2016
- Nick Travers Volume 1: Last Fair Deal Gone Down Graphic Novel (2016)
- Little White Lies (Spenser) 2017
- The Fallen ( A Quinn Colson Novel) 2017
Ace Atkins: A Biography
by Juan C. Ferrer (SHS) (2003) Information has been updated.
Ace Atkins was born William Ace Atkins in Troy, Alabama, on June 28, 1970. As a young student at Auburn High School, he never read the books he was supposed to read; but because his teachers constantly encouraged him to read and write, he finally discovered the joy of writing (Atkins). After receiving a football scholarship for college, he played defensive end on the undefeated 1993 Auburn football team and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In college, he majored in screenplay writing. After receiving his degree from Auburn University, Atkins decided that being a reporter was a good apprenticeship for his goal of eventually writing novels. After covering crimes as a staff reporter for the Tampa Tribune from 1996 through 2001 (Brown) and being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Atkins decided to write novels full time (Atkins). Atkins wrote his first two novels, Crossroad Blues and Leavin’ Trunk Blues while working as a reporter (Brown).
Atkins now lives near Oxford, Mississippi, after being offered a job as visiting professor in journalism at the University of Mississippi (Brown), and he spends his time writing in his farmhouse outside Oxford with his dogs, Elvis and Polk Salad Annie and several others, when he is not teaching at Ole Miss.
Ace Atkins published a Nick Travers novel called Dirty South in 2004. Also in 2004 he was a speaker at the Welty Symposium at MUW in Columbus, Mississippi. Using his experiences as a reporter for the Tampa Tribune, Atkins wrote White Shadow, which was published May 4, 2006. It is a fictionalized story of the unsolved murder in 1955 of the real-life Tampa crime boss Charlie Wall, whose nickname “the white shadow” is the title of the book. Wall’s murder occurs at the beginning of the book when he is an old man, and Detective Ed Dodge and a Tampa reporter search Tampa and Havana (before Castro) for the killer. The novel is set in Florida in the 1950s. Atkins then published Devil’s Garden (2009), Infamous (2010), The Ranger (A Quinn Colson Novel) 2012, The Lost Ones (A Quinn Colson Novel) 2012, Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby (Spenser) 2012, The Broken Places (A Quinn Colson Novel), May 30, 2013, and Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland (Spenser) May 7,2013).
Atkins covered Hurricane Katrina for Outside magazine, Hurricane Ivan for Newsweek magazine, and has an essay in the September 2007 issue of Outside magazine called “Shut Up About My Truck.” His work is included in two anthologies: They Write Among Us, 2003, and New Orleans Noir, 2007.
Since 2013 he has published The Broken Places (A Quinn Colson novel, Book 3) May 1, 2014; Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot (Spenser, Book 3) May 6, 2014; The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson novel) July 24, 2014; Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (Spenser Book 28) by Ace Atkins, May 19, 2015; and The Redeemers (A Quinn Colson Novel Book 5) July 2015; Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn (Spenser) May, 2016; and The Innocents (A Quinn Colson Novel) July 2016.
In 2016 also published Nick Travers Volume 1: Last Fair Deal Gone Down Graphic Novel, the first in a series of graphic novel adaptations to be published by 12-Gauge Comics.
His honors and awards include a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 and a nomination for the Livingston Award in 2000. He was awarded the first Arts Advancement Award from Auburn University and was nominated for the Gumshoe Award in 2004 and the Barry Award in 2007.
According to Atkins, his book, Wicked City (2008), is his most personal book to date. It is set in a vice-ridden Alabama town twenty miles from where he attended high school and college. Although many of the characters in Wicked City are historical figures, some are drawn from the imagination and still others are “composites taken from Atkins’ rich family history of Alabama bootleggers, tied to Southern-fried political corruption and demagoguery in the 1940s and ‘50s.” (Atkins)
Last Fair Deal Gone Down, a short story written fifteen years ago and which features music historian and detective Nick Travers (four early novels have Nick Travers as the protagonist), was published in a tenth anniversary edition of Crossroad Blues in 2008. That edition was nominated for an Edgar Award. The short story has now been turned into a graphic novel.
Atkins was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser. Atkins has now written five novels that imitate the style of Robert B. Parker. Now a New York Times bestselling author of more than a nineteen novels, Atkins has written eight Quinn Colson novels in which the protagonist is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who comes home to Mississippi to fight corruption at home.. The novels are currently in development for a major television series. He also writes essays and investigative articles for several magazines that include Outside and Garden and Gun.
Little White Lies, a Spenser novel and The Fallen: A Quinn Colson novel were both published in 2017.
Atkins, who is 47 in 2017, lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and young son.
A Review of Dark End of the Street
by Juan C. Ferrer (SHS) (2002)
A jazz historian and a professor at Tulane University, Nick Travers spends most of his time tracking down long lost and forgotten musicians. When one of his best friends, Loretta Jackson, asks him to find her brother, Soul music legend Clyde James, who has not been seen for fifteen years, Nick immediately starts to track him down. Nick’s search leads him to a casino in Tunica, Mississippi. From this point, the wild ride in the chase of Clyde James begins.
While searching for James, Travers along the way rescues from the casino in Tunica a kidnapped girl whose parents were killed , discovers a cover-up to a fifteen-year-old murder, and repeatedly escapes from an assassin who thinks that he is the deceased brother of Elvis. Throughout the story, there are many uses of foul language, suggestive dialogue and sexual situations, which I believe, are done for verisimilitude. I really liked the way the story moves along, although sometimes it can be hard to follow because of the overwhelming amount of information the reader has to know for each character.
Dark End of the Street has great reviews from the critics and is a must read for the thriller and suspense lover.
A Telephone Interview with Ace Atkins by Juan Ferrer (2002)
(December 12, 2002)
Where were you born?
Troy, Alabama, in 1970.
Where did you go to high school?
Auburn High School.
Where did you go to college?
When did you become interested in writing?
Got interested in writing during high school when teachers encouraged me to read and write. I never read the books I was supposed to read.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Steinbeck, James Lee Burke, and J.D. Salinger.
Where do you get the inspiration for your books?
Mainly from music.
Are your books based on real life?
Sometimes, the first book is based on the murder of Robert Johnson in 1938, and Dark End of the Street is about the murder of the singer James Carr.
Do you relate yourself with any of your characters?
Yes, Jon Burrows, because he likes Elvis, but I don’t take it as extreme as Jon Burrows does.
Have you had other jobs besides being a writer?
I worked as a newspaper reporter, writing about crimes, and now I teach Journalism at the University of Mississippi.
Have you won any awards?
No, but I was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for my work on reporting crime.
Why did you move to Mississippi?
Because most of my books are set in Mississippi, because the looks of the land and the people are different from the rest of the country, and because Mississippi is a very culturally rich state.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, it continues the story of an earlier book, and it’s completely set in New Orleans.
- The official web site of Ace Atkins gives much information about him.
- Tampa Bay Times review of Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn by Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor
- The Redeemers is one of the best crime books of 2015. Ace Atkins Feature on Football Saturday’s in the South on Youtube
- The Ace Atkins author page on Amazon
- Black Raven Press gives an excerpt from the interview by James Clar in the December/January 2007 issue of Mystery News
- Reviews of Crossroad Blues on Amazon.
- Reviews for Leavin’ Trunk Blues on Amazon.
- Allreaders.com review of Dirty South by Harriet Klausner
- Atkins, Ace. Dark End of the Street. New York: Williams Morrow. 2002.
- McIntosh Brown, Melissa. Dark End of the Street extends ‘love affair.’ 4 November 2002. 14 December 2002. gomemphis.com
- Atkins, Ace. Telephone Interview. 12 December 2002.