In 1955, Look magazine called Phenix City, Alabama, 'The Wickedest City in America,' a stew of organized crime and corruption, run by a machine that dealt with complaints forcefully and with dispatch.
When crime-fighting attorney Albert Patterson is gunned down in a Phenix City alley in the spring of 1954, the entire town seems to pause just for a moment-and when it starts up again, there is something different about it. A small group of men meet and decide that they have had enough, but what that means and where it will take them is something they could not have foreseen. Over the course of the next several months, lives will change, people will die, and unexpected heroes will emerge - 'like a Randolph Scott western,' one of them remarks, 'played out not with horses and Winchesters but with Chevys and .38s and switchblades.'
Atkins draws from the worlds of pulp and Faulkner in Wicked City, using characters from the town's true history to tell a story of the best and worst of morality, and the ambiguity in between.
"This is the classic Western tale of good vs. evil, 'played out not with horses and Winchesters but with Chevys and Fords and .38s and switchblades.' The result is a gripping, superb crime story, all the more remarkable because it really did happen. Highly recommended." Library Journal
Ace Atkins is a former Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of the Tampa Tribune. He published his first novel at the age of 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.