Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

"Darren Matthews set his Stetson on the edge of the witness stand, brim down, the way his uncles had taught him."

Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules - a fact that Darren Matthews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. He tried to get as far away from Texas as he could, until duty called him back.

Trying to escape troubles at home, Darren is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark. where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman. He must solve the crimes - and save himself in the process - before Lark's ever-widening racial fault lines tear the community apart.

I enjoyed this book very much. My knowledge of Texas comes solely from watching episodes of Dallas back in the 80's so I was enthralled by the setting of this book as I had lots to learn. Without a single reference to JR and oil fields I really enjoyed this very different take on the State of Texas. Coupled with excellent atmospheric writing I loved the setting of this book.

I was intrigued by Darren's role as a Texas ranger within the law enforcement system. I do not think we have an equivalent here in Britian so I felt that this was a 'different' read from my usual mystery fare. This was an excellent thriller written with skill and an ability to highlight the existence of racial tensions in the modern day world.

This is a very satisfying novel. It has a great plot, an atmospheric setting and wonderful characters. In fact, I think I am a little bit in love with Darren. He is a man of strong integrity, principled and compassionate and a memorable character to boot. It is a thought-provoking book which is well-grounded in contemporary society.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am keen to read more of her books. Have you read this or any of her other works? Which one do you think I should read next?

ISBN: 978 1781257685

Publisher:  Serpent's Tail

About the Author:

Attica Locke is the author of Pleasantville, which won the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was short-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction; Black Water Rising, which was nominated for an Edgar Award and an NAACP Image Award; and The Cutting Season, a national bestseller and winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Attica is also a screenwriter and has written for Paramount, Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, HBO and Dreamworks. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on the Fox drama, Empire. 

A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.


  1. I've enjoyed the Attica Locke books I've read (which is all of them except Black Water Rising). I thought the plot of Bluebird Bluebird lost its way a bit towards the end but I loved the writing.

  2. I'm thinking I might try Pleasantville next. All her books have high ratings on Goodreads so I'm spoilt for choice.