Ace Atkins (born 1970) is an American journalist and author. Atkins worked as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune before he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, in 1998. He became a full-time novelist at 30.
While at the Tribune, Atkins earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which was commented on positively by noted authors and critics. In his next novels, Wicked City and Devil’s Garden, Atkins continued this kind of story-telling, a style that was compared to that of Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos.
Devil’s Garden, Wicked City, and White Shadow are all very personal books for Atkins, all set in his former homes: San Francisco, where he lived as a child; Alabama, his family’s home and where he was born and went to college; and Tampa, where he embarked on his career as a writer. Each novel contains bits of himself — friends and colleagues he once knew, people he respected or admired, family members, and personal heroes. In Devil’s Garden, Atkins explores the early life of one of those heroes: Dashiell Hammett, the originator of the hard-boiled crime novel. As a Pinkerton Agency detective, Hammett investigated the rape and manslaughter case against early Hollywood star Roscoe Arbuckle, one of the most sensational trials of the 20th Century.
Atkins lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family. He graduated from Auburn University in 1994 and lettered for the Auburn University football team in 1992 and 1993. He was featured on the Sports Illustrated cover commemorating the Tigers perfect 11-0 1993 season. The cover shows Atkins celebrating after sacking future Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel of the Florida Gators. Atkins wore #99 for the Tigers.