Editorial Review: Wade Garrison: Atonement by Richard Greene
Atonement is the fittingly titled sequel to God's Coffin and follows Wade Garrison as he leaves everything behind to protect his family.
Unlike the big gap in time between Wade Garrison's Promise and God's Coffin, the events in Atonement are set directly after the events of the second novel. God's Coffin introduced us to Wade Garrison as a more mature family man with a wife and child but also showed us what happens when those he loves are threatened. Wade started the previous book as a deputy Marshal and ended it as a wanted man, which means this book could go in any direction. Thankfully, Richard Greene has managed to craft another compelling adventure for Wade that shows him struggling with his past actions but trying to atone for them in his own way.
As Wade Garrison is essentially on the run it means that most of the characters featured in previous books are absent for large parts of this one. However, as much as we missed the scenes with characters like Sarah and Sheriff Bowlen, Atonement proves yet again that Greene can write compelling characters. As Wade's journey takes him into Montana Territory he encounters a few new faces who are every bit as fascinating as the ones Wade leaves behind during his self-imposed exile. The new characters include a gunman named Morgan Hunter from west Texas who could easily star as the protagonist of his own book. However, even characters like Jed Canon are interesting enough in their own ways to keep Wade's interactions with them entertaining.
Fans of the previous books might find it disappointing that initially, it seems like Wade is running away from his problems, but the author does a good job of explaining his motives and fears. Wade has proven himself over and over to be a fair and just man, but he is not perfect and his mistakes continue to haunt him. He does, however, try to atone for them in his own way, which thankfully makes for a thrilling read. Most of the story is set in the small town of Pickering, Montana, but Wade still finds plenty of ways to attract trouble. These include saving and adopting a coyote pup, investigating murders, and trying to figure out who is trying to kill him. The author also doesn't keep readers hanging in regards to events in the previous book and wraps things up neatly in Atonement.
Atonement also continues to showcase the authors' knack for prose that is simple yet engrossing. Even with numerous paragraphs dedicated to characters simply drinking coffee or having breakfast it never feels like the story is dragging its feet. Instead, by showing the more mundane side of characters the author keeps the story accessible while quietly fleshing out their personalities. This is also one of the reasons why Atonement, like the rest of the novels in the Wade Garrison series, is great to read even if you are not a fan of the cowboy genre in general. Overall, Atonement offers a satisfying conclusion to the events of the previous book while also introducing a slew of charismatic new characters in the process.