Edgar-winner Locke’s searing sequel to 2017’s Bluebird, Bluebird finds African-American Texas Ranger Darren Matthews reconciled with his wife, though to maintain their marriage, he has agreed to take a desk job at the Rangers’ Houston office, where he’s assigned to analyze digital surveillance data on his state’s chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood. Then nine-year-old Levi King, the son of Aryan Brotherhood of Texas captain Bill “Big Kill” King, disappears in Marion County, and Matthews returns to field duty. Meanwhile, Bill, who evaded justice for killing a black man but is serving 20 years in prison on drug charges, writes to the governor to request an exhaustive search for his son. Matthews’s boss, who’s seeking an indictment of the Brotherhood, including Bill, hopes that the search for Levi will yield information that can be used against his father—before the incoming Trump administration, with its lack of interest in pursuing white supremacists, takes power. Matthew’s legal jeopardy from a prior case hovers over the action, but Locke makes the complex backstory accessible. This one’s another Edgar contender. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Sept.)
"Timely and evocative."NPR "Fresh Air"
"Bewitching story and luscious language . . . . The story has legs, the characters have character, and the dialogue has a wonderful regional tang. But it's Locke's descriptive language that gets me."New York Times
"Atmospheric . . . Ms. Locke, a canny storyteller, ties up enough strands to satisfy readers, while leaving enough loose ends to make us eager for Ranger Mathews's next adventure in the Lone Star State."Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
"Locke's beautifully written crime fiction (which also includes "Pleasantville," "Black Water Rising," and "The Cutting Season") have a remarkable immediacyyou breathe with the characters and walk in their paths."Seattle Times
"Locke skillfully packs Heaven, My Home with realistic and, at times, uncomfortable situations as she depicts complicated characters. In Darren, Locke has fearlessly shaped a character that constantly walks a tightrope of being a good man with a quest for justice and being an extremely flawed person. . . . [Locke] once again excels in her superior storytelling."Oline Cogdill, Associated Press
"With her usual aplomb, Locke tackles history and its all-too-real emotional fallout in this splendid follow-up."Boston Globe
"[Locke] has proved that there's demand for stories about black characters. . . . Her books, categorized as mystery or crime, are also unabashedly about black experiences, examining the legacy of black history in the context of modern politics and culture. The crime she really concerns herself with is an existential one: the legacy of America's original sin. The protagonists in her novels are mostly black men, and she writes with the authenticity of a lived experience."Madhulika Sikka, Washington Post
"Attica Locke has gained a reputation as a marquee literary chronicler of Texas and the South, particularly the parts and people that usually go unnoticed, and one of the hallmarks of her fiction is the insightful way she explores how black and white people can live almost entirely different experiences inside the same time and place. . . . [Heaven, My Home] is a thrilling mystery, yes, but it's also a powerful meditation on what it means to be human in these frightening times."Texas Observer
"In this scalp-prickling encore to her Edgar-winning Bluebird, Bluebird, Locke brings back intrepid Texas Ranger Darren Matthews . . . a gumbo of race and class prejudices captured in vivid detail."O Magazine
"Attica Locke's novel is masterful. It's a quick read, not in the sense that it is short, but that it goes - and goes fast. It's a page-turner in every way."San Francisco Chronicle
"HEAVEN, MY HOME may be complex, but it's worth every blistering word Locke puts on the page. . . . One of the most affecting mysteries of the year."Los Angeles Times
"Heaven, My Home is a propulsive and compelling novel [with] passages of gorgeous lyricism, with loving, elegiac evocations of Texas set alongside extended meditations on displacement, reconciliation and forgiveness, and on what 'home' means. Locke suggests that being black in America has meant a constant, disorienting search for terra firma, fighting to claim some piece of the 'fields and prairies that we once tilled until our backs broke and bled", and that this feeling has returned with terrible urgency, or perhaps that it never left.'"Guardian [UK]
"[Locke is] the most celebrated African-American writer of crime fiction. Although her books are about the black experience in the US, they are universal in scope."Financial Times [UK]
"This is a beautifully and instantly gripping crime novel. . . . Locke is one of the emerging stars of crime fiction."Booklist, starred review
"In addition to her gifts for tight pacing and intense lyricism, Locke shows with this installment of her Highway 59 series a facility for unraveling the tangled strands of the Southwest's cultural legacy and weaving them back together with the volatile racial politics and traumatic economic stresses of the present day...Locke's advancement here is so bracing that you can't wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway."Kirkus, starred review
"Locke makes the complex backstory accessible. This one's another Edgar contender."Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Few suspense novelists display a better grip of political and racial divides than Attica Locke, and she spins a hell of a good story as well, introducing characters and locales you will want to visit again and again."BookPage (starred review)
"Locke's new novel is a mystery ripe for this age. . . . What makes Locke's mysteries so good is her ability to conjure up a mood with vivid prose. Her depiction of Texas is so evocative you can practically hear the beer cans cracking open and smell the swamp water."Buzzfeed
"Both a fascinating, smartly plotted mystery and a pertinent picture of the contemporary United States, Heaven, My Home is refreshing, dour and thrilling all at once. Readers will be anxious for more of Ranger Darren Mathews. This scintillating murder mystery, set in Trump-era East Texas, with a black main cast and racial concerns, is gripping, gorgeously written and relevant."Shelf Awareness
"Locke is brilliant at creating tense mysteries where the setting is as alive, and important, as the characters without distracting-but rather enhancing-the mystery element. You get history, a great mystery, smart twists, rich characters, and a deep exploration of the justice-and injustice-system of our country."BookRiot
"Locke is adept at making her crime fiction transcend and become a powerful tool of social commentary, writing about race relations in the Deep South today."Philip Cu-Unjieng, Metro Style
"Here, antebellum sympathies abound, and the current political landscape in which the novel is set makes this a heartfelt read on race relations in the south."Sheena Kamal, CrimeReads
"Locke’s Darren Mathews is one of my favorite crime-fiction heroes these days, in no small part because he’s not always heroic. Mathews is Black and a Texas Ranger, and he has a complicated love/hate relationship with his home state. As she did in “Bluebird, Bluebird,” the Edgar Award-winning first book in the series, Locke makes him both appealing and very real, and weaves a story — about a missing child with connections to white supremacists — thick with rich characterizations, elegant descriptions and complicated motivations."Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, whose latest assignment has been on a task force probing the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, is sent to the town of Jefferson to help the local sheriff investigate the disappearance of nine-year-old Levi King, the son of a major player in the Brotherhood now serving time in prison. Darren's personal life is in a precarious position, and he is harboring secrets concerning the previous murder of another member of the Brotherhood (see Bluebird, Bluebird). Once in Jefferson, Darren immediately gets caught up in the bigotry in the area and is not welcomed by the white sheriff, his deputies, or the matriarch of the town. He soon finds the twists and turns of this investigation to be as difficult to navigate as the cypress swamp of nearby Caddo Lake, which seems to be central to the entire case. VERDICT Edgar Award winner Locke is definitely worth following, here presenting a well-crafted mystery that evokes a steamy east Texas and the racial tensions inherent in small Southern towns.—Sandra Knowles, formerly South Carolina State Lib., Columbia
The redoubtable Locke follows up her Edgar-winning Bluebird, Bluebird (2017) with an even knottier tale of racism and deceit set in the same scruffy East Texas boondocks.
It's the 2016 holiday season, and African American Texas Ranger Darren Matthews has plenty of reasons for disquiet besides the recent election results. Chiefly there's the ongoing fallout from Darren's double murder investigation involving the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. He and his wife are in counseling. He's become a "desk jockey" in the Rangers' Houston office while fending off suspicions from a district attorney who thinks Darren hasn't been totally upfront with him about a Brotherhood member's death. (He hasn't.) And his not-so-loving mother is holding on to evidence that could either save or crucify him with the district attorney. So maybe it's kind of a relief for Darren to head for the once-thriving coastal town of Jefferson, where the 9-year-old son of another Brotherhood member serving hard time for murdering a black man has gone missing while motorboating on a nearby lake. Then again, there isn't that much relief given the presence of short-fused white supremacists living not far from descendants of the town's original black and Native American settlers—one of whom, an elderly black man, is a suspect in the possible murder of the still-missing boy. Meanwhile, Darren's cultivating his own suspicions of chicanery involving the boy's wealthy and imperious grandmother, whose own family history is entwined with the town's antebellum past and who isn't so fazed with her grandson's disappearance that she can't have a lavish dinner party at her mansion. In addition to her gifts for tight pacing and intense lyricism, Locke shows with this installment of her Highway 59 series a facility for unraveling the tangled strands of the Southwest's cultural legacy and weaving them back together with the volatile racial politics and traumatic economic stresses of the present day. With her confident narrative hands on the wheel, this novel manages to evoke a portrait of Trump-era America—which, as someone observes of a pivotal character in the story, resembles "a toy ball tottering on a wire fence" that "could fall either way."
Locke's advancement here is so bracing that you can't wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway.