Attica Locke * Mulholland Books * September 12, 2017 * 307 Pages
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The body of a wealthy black lawyer from Chicago turns up in a bayou near a small town in Texas. Local authorities don’t seem too interested in solving the case—that is until a second body, this time a young white woman with connections to the Klan, shows up in the same place a few days later. Because of racial tension in the area, recently-suspended Texas Ranger Darren Mathews (it’s complicated…) is sent to investigate the two deaths. Local law enforcement downplay any racially-motivated explanation, but Ranger Mathews is convinced that the lawyer was murdered. What he discovers during the course of his investigation, though, is a lot more complicated than that, and eventually he’s forced to conclude that love and hate, black and white, are more deeply intertwined in this town than he would have ever guessed.
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Ohmydeargod, I loved this book. The first few pages confused me somewhat, but once Mathews traveled to Lark and began his investigation, I was absolutely hooked. The book reads like a movie. Author Attica Locke sets the scene and builds tension so beautifully. I could “see” every interaction and picture each character so vividly. Geneva, the cafe owner, was one of my favorites. I loved how her backstory unrolled over time, adding layers to the story and revealing bits and pieces about the town’s complicated history. Truly, everything in this book is integrated seamlessly, all events and characters building perfectly on each other and leading to a conclusion that I didn’t see coming.
My only minor gripe is that the very end of the book felt rushed and slightly unbelievable. I was impressed with how Locke solved the mystery of the two deaths, but some of the resolutions between characters afterward—for example, between Mathews and his wife, and between Mathews and Mack—seemed forced and even a little contrived. I felt like Locke was slapping a bandaid on some deeper issues, and that was disappointing.
Still, it was a joy to read this book. I finished it a week ago, and I’m still thinking about it. Plus, apparently Bluebird, Bluebird is the first in a series of books that will share the same setting. I can’t wait to read the next one.
Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.