Allan's Reviews > Wicked City

Wicked City by Ace Atkins
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Aug 05, 2008

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Read in July, 2008

Growing up in Mississippi in the '50s, I was insulated from the harsher side of life. I'd never heard of Phenix City, AL, until a movie came out in 1955 - "The Phenix City Story." I didn't see it (I was just 10 then), but I got the impression this was a real and a bad place...and I was right.

All these years later and I've revisited those days through this strong novel, based on fact, by Southern writer Ace Atkins. I've read some strong stuff in my life - Burke's Dave Robicheaux series contains some of the most wrenching events in print, but the things that happened in Phenix City drop evil into your life to stay. I found it hard to shake some of the images Atkins lays before you.

There is good at work here as well and Edmund Burke's famous quotation about evil triumphing when good men do nothing is brought into sharp focus by the events described in 1954 Phenix City. It makes for a read best done in daylight. Night reading makes the shadows grow a little too close for me.
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