Attica Locke is an American author I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I chose to start with the 4th of her 5 novels, the first in her so far two novel series “Highway 59” which features black Texan Ranger Darren Matthews.
In this novel Darren uses a temporary suspension from duties to visit the small East Texan town of Lark where two bodies have been fished out of the Bayou in rapid succession; a black man visiting the area followed a few days later by a young mother who lived locally. This is not the usual order for murder victims in a location where the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas still operates, historically, too often a black man has been killed in retaliation for a white woman killing so the Rangers interest and his local knowledge of both the black and white local communities leads him to risk his fragile marriage and stay to unravel the case, meeting up with the dead man’s widow in the process.
Tensions simmer and occasionally bubble to the surface in this oppressive atmosphere which the author very effectively conveys. Her main character is flawed but driven by a background brought up by two uncles, one himself a Texan Ranger, the other a lawyer, and a strong sense to do the right thing. The story behind his suspension adds another layer to the plot and feels like it will carry over to the next in the series. Richly written, strong characterisation and subtle plot twists made this very enjoyable and I would certainly want to catch up with this author’s other novels.
Bluebird Bluebird was published by Serpent’s Tail in 2017.