Bluebird, Bluebird
A powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire.When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules--a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders--a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman--have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes--and save himself in the process--before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

Bluebird, Bluebird Details

TitleBluebird, Bluebird
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherMulholland Books
ISBN-139780316363297
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Crime

Bluebird, Bluebird Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Attica Locke has written a superb novel that is bleak, compelling, atmospheric, with a strong sense of location of small town East Texas, that depressingly mirrors many parts of the USA today. It gives us the disturbingly unsettling everyday experiences of Darren Mathews that suggest nothing has changed since the days of an openly active KKK running rife, where lynchings were common, and where black communities lived in fear of their lives on a daily basis. Darren is a black Texan Ranger, suspen Attica Locke has written a superb novel that is bleak, compelling, atmospheric, with a strong sense of location of small town East Texas, that depressingly mirrors many parts of the USA today. It gives us the disturbingly unsettling everyday experiences of Darren Mathews that suggest nothing has changed since the days of an openly active KKK running rife, where lynchings were common, and where black communities lived in fear of their lives on a daily basis. Darren is a black Texan Ranger, suspended for going to the aid of Mack, whose granddaughter, Breana, is harassed by Ronnie Malvo, a diehard ABT racist. A few days later, Malvo is found shot dead, and Mack is seen as the main suspect. Darren tries to do his best for Mack to ensure he does not stand trial for murder, and this outcome hangs over Darren throughout the story. The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) is a strong and active presence in East Texas, additionally involved in meths production and the illegal sale of guns. Darren is a troubled man, his marriage to Lisa is threatening to splinter because of the dangers of him being a Ranger, his drinking, and the time he spends away from home. Darren hears of two bodies recovered from a bayou in Lark, in Shelby County. One is a black lawyer, Michael Wright, from Chicago but with local roots and the other is local white girl, Missy, discovered two days later. Despite his suspension, he goes to Lark to investigate. He is in redneck country and discovers that it is impossible to understand the black grandmother Geneva, and her black community cafe without Wally's icehouse, a local ABT bar run by the repulsive Brady. Geneva lost her beloved husband, Joe Sweet shot in 2010, and her son was shot by his wife, Mary, in 2013. Wally is wealthy, although it is not clear where the money comes from, and he has plenty of clout with the local sheriff. Lark is not welcoming of Darren, he finds a dead fox left in his truck, and his life in deadly danger. However, he identifies with the dead Michael and feels for the widow, Randie, as he searches for the truth against all the odds. Neither the Texas Rangers nor local law enforcement will consider or allow for race as a motive for the murders due to political implications. As Darren trawls through the murky waters of local intertwined history, he finds that family, love, hate and jealousy have lead to murders in the past and present. The title Bluebird, Bluebird is a reference to the highly symbolic John Lee Hooker's song, Bluebird, Bluebird, take this letter down South for me. I loved Locke's novel Black Water Rising, but this is superlative, it has her trademark beautiful prose. It is a compelling story with its insightful and pertinent social and political commentary on the incendiary issues of race and justice that continue to divide and threaten the US today. It chillingly explains just how strong the bedrock of support for Donald Trump is and why worryingly it remains undiminished. It is a complex tale with a central character, Darren, caught up in a fraught situation with personal reverberations that have him questioning his identity and if he should continue to serve as a Texas Ranger. This is the first of the Highway 59 series by Locke and I cannot wait to read the next. A phenomenal read that I highly recommend. Many thanks to Serpent's Tail for an ARC.
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  • Rincey
    January 1, 1970
    Daaaaaaaaaaaang
  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    "Geneva Sweet ran an orange extension cord past Mayva Greenwood, Beloved Wife and Mother, May She Rest With her Heavenly Father." The first line of this novel caught my attention immediately. What a great beginning! And it only got better from there. Being from Texas, and being very familiar with Houston, Hwy 59, and the tiny little East Texas towns that dot the highway like so many mosquito bites on a redneck's arm, I was quickly drawn to this story of a black Texas Ranger and the two murders h "Geneva Sweet ran an orange extension cord past Mayva Greenwood, Beloved Wife and Mother, May She Rest With her Heavenly Father." The first line of this novel caught my attention immediately. What a great beginning! And it only got better from there. Being from Texas, and being very familiar with Houston, Hwy 59, and the tiny little East Texas towns that dot the highway like so many mosquito bites on a redneck's arm, I was quickly drawn to this story of a black Texas Ranger and the two murders he is driven to investigate in an area that still holds on to some old-style traditions. And I don't mean the good kind of traditions. Darren Matthews, Texas Ranger living in Houston, in the midst of an investigation that could mean his job, and a crisis and drinking problem that could affect his marriage, hears of the murders of a black man and a white woman in the little town of Lark in northeast Texas. While on suspension from the Rangers, he decides to check out the situation for himself. What he discovers in this rural setting, is that the stench of white supremacy has overtaken the sweet scent of the area's piney woods. As Ranger Matthews investigates further and gets to know the people in Lark, he uncovers secrets that have been around for years, hiding in plain sight. By the end of the book, an intricate web has been laid bare, as well as a realistic portrait of racial and criminal activities that still happen today - more often than we choose to believe. This book was so well written, that I couldn't put it down. I read it in almost one sitting. Attica Locke has won multiple awards for her other books, and although I haven't read any others by her, that's going to change right away! Her style is descriptive, her characters well-formed and believable. Her use of real locations and her knowledge of the best and the worst of Texas had me smiling with enjoyment or shaking my head with shame throughout the story. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Monica **can't read fast enough**
    January 1, 1970
    In Bluebird, Bluebird Locke tackles the difficulty of being a black man in the south with education, status, and the drive to make things better. Locke begins to peel back the layers of what it means to call a place that is not always welcoming home. Of being drawn to a place that is hostile to your very existence. Darren and his family have deep roots in Texas. The Mathews family has every right and reason to be proud of their family's legacy that they fought to establish while fighting against In Bluebird, Bluebird Locke tackles the difficulty of being a black man in the south with education, status, and the drive to make things better. Locke begins to peel back the layers of what it means to call a place that is not always welcoming home. Of being drawn to a place that is hostile to your very existence. Darren and his family have deep roots in Texas. The Mathews family has every right and reason to be proud of their family's legacy that they fought to establish while fighting against people who felt entitled to more and better simply by being born white. Darren's life is as about as complicated as it can get when he becomes entangled in three murder cases that all revolve around issues of race. Darren has been suspended pending an investigation, he and his wife are separated because of differing visions for their future, and Darren's trying to decide which part of the law he wants to fight for. Continue to be a Texas Ranger and fight with his boots on the ground, or finish law school and fight in the courtroom. The cherry on top of this pile of stress is Darren's mother, who is difficult at best, and is making an appearance and making demands in his life. To deal with the mess that his life is becoming, Darren finds himself seeking refuge in bottles of whiskey. When Darren thinks that his life can't get any more complicated, a phone call from a friend sends him to the tiny community of Lark, Texas to poke around in an unofficial capacity. The trip down Highway 59 sets Darren on a path to solving a crime and answering some hard questions about himself that he's been wrestling with.Attica Locke wastes no time locking in her readers in Bluebird, Bluebird. I admit that I was partial to this story in part because of it's location. The story is set in East Texas, which is very familiar to me. My dad's people hail from the ArkLaTex area. That's Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas for those not in the know! My family and family friends still live and love in Texarkana, Shreveport, and Marshall. My family's farm is just minutes from Wiley College which is mentioned in Bluebird, Bluebird. Many of the places mentioned and described in this story were just that much more familiar to me, because I can clearly picture the farm roads, towns, and woods. I can hear the drawls and cadence of the people Locke describes. For me, this entire book felt like home and the Mathews family felt like a reflection of my own. I can barely describe how wonderful it felt to relate that closely to characters in a story. It is a very rare occurrence for me and it means a lot to truly see my reality reflected so clearly. The south is populated by many African American families who made a place for themselves and prospered through hard work and pushing for education despite the hardships and hurdles thrown at them. Unfortunately, we don't always get a realistic look at those kind of families in fiction. I appreciate Locke featuring this type of modern family as the background for Darren. Far from perfect, but reaching for their piece of the American dream. Locke did a wonderful job of encompassing the bits of really good and the really ugly of these southern communities. Close knit communities anywhere are sometimes difficult, but in the southern states, they can be especially complicated. In East Texas, as in many rural places, time has marched on, but the people there aren't growing and evolving with the times as quickly as other places. The tangled web of race, family, and community are all realistically portrayed in this story. The ending of Bluebird, Bluebird clearly suggests that this is the beginning of a series and I certainly hope that Locke gives us many more books featuring these characters. There would be so much to explore with Darren as the protagonist. I almost finished this in one sitting on a road trip and hated to see the story end, even though it was a perfect place to leave off. If you are looking for a good crime story I would recommend picking up Bluebird, Bluebird. Attica Locke is an author who is going to be an auto buy for me. **I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**You can find me at:•(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)•Twitter: @MonlatReaderInstagram: @readermonicaFacebook: Monica Reeds
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  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    My first Attica Locke and what appears to be the start of a series, this is a blistering look at contemporary race politics in small-town Texas - and could hardly be more timely in the wake of white supremacy and anti-fascist clashes across the country. As a Londoner, I found this book profoundly shocking in its depiction of 'everyday racism': that a black man *today* should have to think carefully about how (or whether?) he speaks to a white woman in case he's accused of sexual harrassment (or My first Attica Locke and what appears to be the start of a series, this is a blistering look at contemporary race politics in small-town Texas - and could hardly be more timely in the wake of white supremacy and anti-fascist clashes across the country. As a Londoner, I found this book profoundly shocking in its depiction of 'everyday racism': that a black man *today* should have to think carefully about how (or whether?) he speaks to a white woman in case he's accused of sexual harrassment (or worse); that a self-imposed apartheid might exist where the black characters eat in one place, the white in another; that descendants of the KKK can openly exist with the sickening initiation ritual of killing and skinning a black man; that, in effect, the old 'Jim Crow' south still exists in pockets - and one of the unspoken spin-offs is that Locke made me understand how a Trump could be voted in.The vehicle for this incisive race commentary is the deaths of an out of state black lawyer and a local white woman - and Darren, a black Texas Ranger who grew up locally, comes to investigate. He's an attractive character, lightly troubled, and complicating the race schematics through his background and authoritative status. The untangling of what really led to the deaths is somewhat unsatisfactory as it depends on dead characters who we never meet having a central role to play, and some of the characterisation feels flimsy at best. Nevertheless, Locke's exposure of the inner workings of this small-town (population: 170) Texan town is compulsive and terrifying in equal measure. A writer I would certainly read again.Thanks to Profile Books for an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    That race is a constant undercurrent in Attica Locke's new novel is no surprise to anyone who's read her previous books. She is masterful at looking at the fear, hatred, and power struggles that are rarely spoken aloud but allowed to slowly take over people's lives. She's done it again in BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD in a way that feels fresh, a book that considers the way one crime can haunt you.Darren Mathews is a Texas Ranger with a complex backstory. Immediately we're plunged into the thick of a parti That race is a constant undercurrent in Attica Locke's new novel is no surprise to anyone who's read her previous books. She is masterful at looking at the fear, hatred, and power struggles that are rarely spoken aloud but allowed to slowly take over people's lives. She's done it again in BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD in a way that feels fresh, a book that considers the way one crime can haunt you.Darren Mathews is a Texas Ranger with a complex backstory. Immediately we're plunged into the thick of a particularly tumultuous moment in his life, his badge on the verge of suspension after an effort to be a good samaritan ended up making him a witness in a murder investigation. Being a Ranger instead of a lawyer has made him a disappointment to his wife and the uncle who raised him. They don't understand Darren's reasons, and for much of the book neither do we, it's only gradually that we see why it is Darren is so committed to such a potentially dangerous and problematic job.Darren manages to finagle his way into an investigation in the small town of Lark where a black man and a white woman have been found dead in the same bayou just days apart. Lark is the kind of self-segregated Southern small town where all the black folks eat at one place and all the white folks eat at the other and showing up as the wrong color can end badly. Darren's looking for evidence of a white supremacist gang, and he runs into plenty of stonewalling from the white local sheriff and a well-off businessman. But Darren's badge doesn't win him many friends in the black side of town either.A good procedural/thriller like this one should have a sizable list of suspects, a series of twists and turns, a main character who is never quite sure where he stands, and an ending that feels solid and satisfying but also unexpected. BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD delivers exactly that, and plenty more in atmosphere and character development. It's a good old page-turner, I always have to force myself to slow down when I read Locke's novels and let myself drink it in. As usual, the world of this small town builds up vividly around you. I always enjoy diving into the Texas and Louisiana of Locke's books, I can feel the humidity rising off the page.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    I’d really felt moved and immersed in every single one of Attica Locke’s novels.This is a world I’ve never known and although she pens fictional stories they are not too far from the truth and reveal the segregation and the racial tensions which have stained American towns. I always feel as if I’m in one of the most fascinating history lessons where you soak up the emotions, tensions, characters and nuances of the time but never feel overcome or tired by the detail. The devil is in the detail to I’d really felt moved and immersed in every single one of Attica Locke’s novels.This is a world I’ve never known and although she pens fictional stories they are not too far from the truth and reveal the segregation and the racial tensions which have stained American towns. I always feel as if I’m in one of the most fascinating history lessons where you soak up the emotions, tensions, characters and nuances of the time but never feel overcome or tired by the detail. The devil is in the detail to use a worn phrase and this devil is working his way into the hearts of everyone around him.Full review nearer the time but put this on your TBR pile This is a unique way of storytelling, and I spent a while afterwards looking up some of the laws and terms used to understand even more of the time and placeExquisitely drawn and a force to be reckoned with
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  • Vikki Patis
    January 1, 1970
    Bluebird Bluebird is one of those unique novels that slides inside your head, worming its way around your thoughts and changing the way you see things. Although I saw the twist coming, my knowing didn't stop my heart from racing, my head from throbbing, when the ending was revealed. And Bluebird Bluebird doesn't rely on jumping out on you to make an impact. It delves into the racial tension that runs deep throughout America, and in places like Texas in particular. It dives into how racism impact Bluebird Bluebird is one of those unique novels that slides inside your head, worming its way around your thoughts and changing the way you see things. Although I saw the twist coming, my knowing didn't stop my heart from racing, my head from throbbing, when the ending was revealed. And Bluebird Bluebird doesn't rely on jumping out on you to make an impact. It delves into the racial tension that runs deep throughout America, and in places like Texas in particular. It dives into how racism impacts black people, but also how its history influences the white people in the town. You almost feel sorry for some of them, that they can't - either because of the people around them, or their standing in the community - look past the colour of one's skin. A deeply affecting novel, Bluebird Bluebird is like the To Kill A Mockingbird or A Time To Kill of our time. With a deep, fascinating protagonist, and a host of colourful, fully-fleshed-out characters, Bluebird Bluebird is a novel of a generation.
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  • Jamie Canaves
    January 1, 1970
    Best 2017 mysteryThis is Locke’s best work, which is saying something since she wrote for the hit TV show Empire AND has three great previous novels. This time around, Locke introduces us to a black Texas Ranger who is technically on suspension after an attempt to be a good samaritan backfired on him. That doesn’t stop him, though, from needing to figure out how a black man and white woman were murdered in a small Texas town. It’s the kind of town that holds dearly to its racism and secrets and Best 2017 mysteryThis is Locke’s best work, which is saying something since she wrote for the hit TV show Empire AND has three great previous novels. This time around, Locke introduces us to a black Texas Ranger who is technically on suspension after an attempt to be a good samaritan backfired on him. That doesn’t stop him, though, from needing to figure out how a black man and white woman were murdered in a small Texas town. It’s the kind of town that holds dearly to its racism and secrets and wants no outside help, especially from a black man. We may be leaving the heat behind for fall weather, but Locke’s amazing writing will have you slicked in sweat as she places you in Texas. A fantastic mystery from beginning to end that unfortunately could not be more timely in its look at race and the justice system in the U.S.--from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter: Innocent Man Saved from Death Penalty by CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM & More!http://link.bookriot.com/view/56a8200...
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  • Arlene
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. The depth of this story and the ending sealed it for me.
  • Michelle Lancaster
    January 1, 1970
    MYSTERY/SUSPENSEAttica LockeBluebird, Bluebird: A NovelMulholland BooksHardcover, 978-0-3163-6329-4, (also available as an e-book and on Audible), 320 pgs., $26.00September 12, 2017The tiny town of Lark, deep into East Texas on Highway 59, has had two murders in the last week. That’s two more than the last six years. The first body is that of a black man from Chicago, a stranger in town. The second is a white woman, a local, whose body turns up in the bayou behind Geneva Sweet’s Sweets. Geneva S MYSTERY/SUSPENSEAttica LockeBluebird, Bluebird: A NovelMulholland BooksHardcover, 978-0-3163-6329-4, (also available as an e-book and on Audible), 320 pgs., $26.00September 12, 2017The tiny town of Lark, deep into East Texas on Highway 59, has had two murders in the last week. That’s two more than the last six years. The first body is that of a black man from Chicago, a stranger in town. The second is a white woman, a local, whose body turns up in the bayou behind Geneva Sweet’s Sweets. Geneva Sweet has spent her entire sixty-nine years in Lark, the last several decades running her small diner. Geneva keeps her secrets and minds her own business, but other people are terrified of those secrets and minding her business, too.Darren Matthews is descended from a line of lawyers and lawmen, most recently working a task force focused on the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, and one of the few black Texas Rangers. He’s got wife troubles, career troubles, bourbon troubles, and legal troubles; now he’s got Lark troubles. Assigned to investigate the murders in Lark, Darren finds himself stymied by his superiors who maybe don’t want to know what happened in those East Texas woods.Bluebird, Bluebird: A Novel is the latest thriller, the first in a new series, from best-selling, prize-winning author Attica Locke, who is also a writer and producer of the television drama Empire and a native of East Texas. Bluebird, Bluebird is a timely, modern parable that tackles head-on entrenched arguments regarding the relationship between the law and African-American citizens. Is the law going to save them by protecting them, or do they need protection from the law?Locke gets our attention with the first line: “Geneva Sweet ran an orange extension cord past Mayva Greenwood,” she writes, “Beloved Wife and Mother, May She Rest with Her Heavenly Father.” And she excels at vivid, just-right similes. These cemetery headstones are “spaced at haphazard and odd angles, like the teeth of a pauper.” Then she conjures the piney woods: the bayous “brown as an old penny,” clouds “laced rust-red, East Texas dirt reflected in the sky,” cypress and Spanish oak, and the dark nights “thick enough to touch.”The third-person narration, told from Darren’s and Geneva’s points of view, is fast paced and twisty. The tension and menace are visceral. These characters and their struggles feel authentic with their divided loyalties and torn sympathies, their simultaneous love for and shame of their home. Ranger Matthews “wanted to believe that theirs was the last generation to have to live” by the “ancient rules of southern living,” the last generation in which a black man’s demeanor could get him killed. Matthews had hoped “change might trickle down from the White House.” Except, as we have so recently witnessed, “the opposite had proved to be true.”In the end, to protect and serve, Darren must decide who he is and declare, “I’m Texas, too. They don’t get to decide what this place is.” Bluebird, Bluebird, which takes its title from a John Lee Hooker blues, is a nuanced excavation, and a powerful indictment, of our treatment of race and class disguised as an entertaining and engrossing suspense novel.Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.
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  • Anjie
    January 1, 1970
    What a moving mystery. Rich in detail; you can feel the pride, despair, rage, loyalty, and resignation on just about every page. Attica Locke seems to know East Texas to her bones. Her description of the food and the importance of serving those in need made my long for pork chops and Geneva's companionship. The author details an absolutely dark section of the bayou, enriching her scenes with the sounds and the stench and the fear of getting lost. She also breaks down police politics from the Ran What a moving mystery. Rich in detail; you can feel the pride, despair, rage, loyalty, and resignation on just about every page. Attica Locke seems to know East Texas to her bones. Her description of the food and the importance of serving those in need made my long for pork chops and Geneva's companionship. The author details an absolutely dark section of the bayou, enriching her scenes with the sounds and the stench and the fear of getting lost. She also breaks down police politics from the Rangers, the feds and the small town sheriff. The suspense propelled me through the book in a weekend, and now I have to add her earlier books to my TBR list while hoping she starts a new series of books based on Texas Ranger Darren Mathews.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Attica Locke’s books are rich in atmosphere and slow-drip tension. Her latest title, BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, is no exception and right from the beginning, readers are immersed in a small town of tin-roof joints, sultry blues, and an unmistakable racial divide. Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger who’s grappling with his own personal issues, is called on to investigate a double murder in the rural East Texas town of Lark. It’s no ordinary double murder either: a black lawyer from Chicago and a local Attica Locke’s books are rich in atmosphere and slow-drip tension. Her latest title, BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, is no exception and right from the beginning, readers are immersed in a small town of tin-roof joints, sultry blues, and an unmistakable racial divide. Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger who’s grappling with his own personal issues, is called on to investigate a double murder in the rural East Texas town of Lark. It’s no ordinary double murder either: a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman are both found dead in the bayou, days apart from one another. Darren is plunged into a world where family secrets and long-simmering resentment threaten to destroy the tight-lipped community and anyone who dares to seek the truth. This is Attica Locke at the top of her game, a powerful and timely novel about race, justice, and true love.
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  • Read Voraciously
    January 1, 1970
    A solidly written 'detective' style novel with a timely plot and impressive depth. Well-paced tensions, both criminal and racial, move the story along at a steady clip. Locke crafts a masterful story that delves into the inequalities of the justice system in a small town in East Texas and the greater justice system of America.
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  • Andrea Larson
    January 1, 1970
    Bluebird, Bluebird took me to a place that is completely unfamiliar to me: East Texas. Apparently it is its own little world; Wikipedia says "East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic and ecological area in the state" and "is often considered the westernmost extension of the Deep South." Lark, Texas, the fictional heart of the book, is a town with a history of racism that looms over all the events of the novel. Two bodies have been found in Lark the span of one week - one black man and one w Bluebird, Bluebird took me to a place that is completely unfamiliar to me: East Texas. Apparently it is its own little world; Wikipedia says "East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic and ecological area in the state" and "is often considered the westernmost extension of the Deep South." Lark, Texas, the fictional heart of the book, is a town with a history of racism that looms over all the events of the novel. Two bodies have been found in Lark the span of one week - one black man and one white woman, with no apparent connection between them. Into town comes Darren Mathews, a suspended African-American Texas Ranger who has not been sent there by his superiors, but rather on a tip from a friend at the FBI. Even though Mathews is there unofficially, he jumps into the case, perhaps as an escape from his foundering marriage or perhaps because of his strong desire for justice. At his own peril, he takes on the county sheriff and the local whites who want to sweep the murders under the rug. Attica Locke, an East Texas native, really knows her territory. She has created an atmospheric, tense, compelling story that delves into the racial tensions simmering in the South. Her writing is filled with cultural details, from each character's dialect to the blues songs that thread through the story. She doesn't provide any easy answers or pat solutions, but a thought-provoking, suspenseful tale.
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    With his career in severe jeopardy and being close to undergoing a suspension from duty, black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews, makes the journey to the small town of Lark, in East Texas, where the seemingly linked murders of a black Chicago based lawyer and a local white woman are causing racial unrest amongst the community.Clashing with the police and local residents alike, he starts his investigation only to come up against racial hatred and small town hostility to his every move. I love the wa With his career in severe jeopardy and being close to undergoing a suspension from duty, black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews, makes the journey to the small town of Lark, in East Texas, where the seemingly linked murders of a black Chicago based lawyer and a local white woman are causing racial unrest amongst the community.Clashing with the police and local residents alike, he starts his investigation only to come up against racial hatred and small town hostility to his every move. I love the way Attica Locke writes. The pacing is just right, her storytelling is second to none and often I have to force myself to slow down, just to appreciate the quality of the work.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    I loved getting to know this part of Texas, its beauties and flaws. Also, hi, this is a great novel about race and policing in America today.
  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow
  • Jay
    January 1, 1970
    My review of this book is an online exclusive for Mystery Scene magazine. You can check it out here: http://www.mysteryscenemag.com/62-rev...
  • Ann Theis
    January 1, 1970
    Kirkus
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is not eager to return to Lark, his hometown in East Texas, but when two bodies- a black man from Chicago and a local white woman- are found within days of each other- he knows that his investigative skills are needed. Along with the well-crafted mystery, Locke weaves in racial issues, relationship tension, an internal battle between familial loyalty and the dictates of conscience, and more. She also masterfully sets the scene of a small Texas town, complete with the Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is not eager to return to Lark, his hometown in East Texas, but when two bodies- a black man from Chicago and a local white woman- are found within days of each other- he knows that his investigative skills are needed. Along with the well-crafted mystery, Locke weaves in racial issues, relationship tension, an internal battle between familial loyalty and the dictates of conscience, and more. She also masterfully sets the scene of a small Texas town, complete with the sound of smoky blues, the smell of southern cooking, and the taste of hard bourbon, full of creative and memorable characters, making her audience feel that they are there with Mathews. This reader was completely hooked, and is very much looking forward to more from the complex and engaging Ranger.This ARC was obtained at BookExpo17- with thanks to Mulholland Books/Hachette Book Group- in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Greville Waterman
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful evocative and atmospheric exploration of uneasy tensions and race relations in the boon docks of Texas around Highway 59. Darren Matthews, a Texas Ranger is battling his own demons and is at a crossroads in his life and now has the chance to decide upon his life path and at the same time solve a linked double homicide in a small town where he is assuredly not welcome and will find it hard to gain trust as he tries to uncover secrets perhaps best left buried.A beautifully paced and wr A wonderful evocative and atmospheric exploration of uneasy tensions and race relations in the boon docks of Texas around Highway 59. Darren Matthews, a Texas Ranger is battling his own demons and is at a crossroads in his life and now has the chance to decide upon his life path and at the same time solve a linked double homicide in a small town where he is assuredly not welcome and will find it hard to gain trust as he tries to uncover secrets perhaps best left buried.A beautifully paced and written thriller which also doubles as a social history of a small town and racial tension. Attica Locke has written another winner.
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  • Dan Radovich
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. Locke adds another wonderful book to the fabulous library she began building with BLACK WATER RISING. Each of her works is an example of superior storytelling. You do not just read an Attica Locke novel, you become part of it. She brings you into the time, place, action; and this time it is Lark, TX. Racial tensions in rural East Texas. Personal conflict. Noir territory at it's best! and told with gorgeous prose. You will not soon forget Darren Mathews and this story.
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  • Oswego Public Library District
    January 1, 1970
    In rural East Texas, there is a string of small towns that few have heard of. A long stretch of lonely highway is the only common link. It is relatively unusual for a Texas Ranger to be African American. It is also unusual for a black man to be murdered before a white woman is murdered.Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is asked on the sly to poke around the murder of a black lawyer from Chicago when a second murder of a poor young white woman is discovered. They must be linked. In a racially-divided t In rural East Texas, there is a string of small towns that few have heard of. A long stretch of lonely highway is the only common link. It is relatively unusual for a Texas Ranger to be African American. It is also unusual for a black man to be murdered before a white woman is murdered.Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is asked on the sly to poke around the murder of a black lawyer from Chicago when a second murder of a poor young white woman is discovered. They must be linked. In a racially-divided town of just a few hundred people, they surely must be linked.Darren, a black former law school student, struggles to gain the trust of the black community. The white community does not want to give him the time of day, but his badge does command a certain respect. When it looks like members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas may play a direct role, it becomes a very dangerous tale indeed.This well-developed, tense novel touches on many subjects: the Great Migration of African Americans to the north; the highly organized Aryan Brotherhood; tension between law enforcement and citizens; and the longing for home with its special tastes and sounds. This is especially though a novel about racism and all that entails, mainly from an African American point of view. Attica Locke is a gifted author who brings readers a timely novel. -GDClick here to place a hold on Bluebird, Bluebird .Another award winning book from Attica Locke is Black Water Rising .
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  • Gloria
    January 1, 1970
    Suspense novels are not always the best selections for book discussions, but this one should be considered simply because it reflects many people and issues in the current news.In rural East Texas, there is a string of small towns that few have heard of. A long stretch of highway is the only common link. It is relatively unusual for a Texas Ranger to be African American. It is also unusual for a black man to be murdered before a white woman is murdered.Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is asked on the Suspense novels are not always the best selections for book discussions, but this one should be considered simply because it reflects many people and issues in the current news.In rural East Texas, there is a string of small towns that few have heard of. A long stretch of highway is the only common link. It is relatively unusual for a Texas Ranger to be African American. It is also unusual for a black man to be murdered before a white woman is murdered.Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is asked on the sly to poke around the murder of a black man from Chicago when a second murder of a young white woman is discovered. They must be linked. In a racially-divided town of just a few hundred people, they surely must be linked.Darren, a former law school student, struggles to gain the trust of the black community. The white community does not want to give him the time of day, but his badge does command a certain respect. When it looks like members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas may play a direct role, it becomes a very dangerous tale indeed.This well-developed novel touches on many subjects: the Great Migration of African Americans to the north; the highly organized Aryan Brotherhood; tension between law enforcement and citizens; and the longing for home with its special tastes and sounds. This is especially though a novel about racism and all that entails, mainly from an African American point of view.Attica Locke is a gifted author who brings readers a timely novel.
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    You might want to make a blues playlist to listen to while you read this painful book, painful because the race issue in the US is painful and this book just tells it like it is, and from down among the people living it. But with Lightnin' Hopkins and Johnnie Taylor and John Lee Hooker (the "Bluebird, bluebird" singer) and Etta James, Wilson Pickett and all those other fab bluesers keeping you company you can better follow Darren Mathews, the black Texas Ranger, as he doggedly works the hard row You might want to make a blues playlist to listen to while you read this painful book, painful because the race issue in the US is painful and this book just tells it like it is, and from down among the people living it. But with Lightnin' Hopkins and Johnnie Taylor and John Lee Hooker (the "Bluebird, bluebird" singer) and Etta James, Wilson Pickett and all those other fab bluesers keeping you company you can better follow Darren Mathews, the black Texas Ranger, as he doggedly works the hard rows of the East Texas black-and-white world. Locke writes so very well, every sentence is savory, and she keeps the fine line between horror and hope drawn straight and true.
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free ARC of this book through my employer.*It feels weird to say that I enjoyed this book, given its tense subject matter: racism, hate crimes, white supremacy, murders. But Locke did an incredible job of crafting this slow burn of a novel. About halfway through, I was unable to put this book down, feeling desperate to know what happened. This reads more like noir, and makes excellent nods to that genre. This is a difficult read but an important and necessary one, too. This was my *I received a free ARC of this book through my employer.*It feels weird to say that I enjoyed this book, given its tense subject matter: racism, hate crimes, white supremacy, murders. But Locke did an incredible job of crafting this slow burn of a novel. About halfway through, I was unable to put this book down, feeling desperate to know what happened. This reads more like noir, and makes excellent nods to that genre. This is a difficult read but an important and necessary one, too. This was my first Locke novel and I look forward to reading more of her works. I would definitely recommend this book.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Bluebird, Bluebird deals with the very timely topic of racial injustice from law enforcement. It is tastefully written in a manner that readers will find digestible, without being overly graphic. The story progresses in a mostly linear fashion, albeit at a sometimes slow pace. The scenes and characters are described adequately to make them imaginable, but none are particularly likeable. This book will appeal to fans of noir crime novels and those interested in reading about racial issues.I recei Bluebird, Bluebird deals with the very timely topic of racial injustice from law enforcement. It is tastefully written in a manner that readers will find digestible, without being overly graphic. The story progresses in a mostly linear fashion, albeit at a sometimes slow pace. The scenes and characters are described adequately to make them imaginable, but none are particularly likeable. This book will appeal to fans of noir crime novels and those interested in reading about racial issues.I received an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.
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  • Eleanor
    January 1, 1970
    I've liked all of Attica Locke's work that I've read (Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season), and Bluebird, Bluebird has the same sort of compelling, confusing narrative, but the relationships between characters are messy as hell and the plot, not to mention the dialogue, is not entirely free of melodrama. I'll still recommend it—Locke off her game is better than a lot of people on—but I can't help feeling that although the novel aims for profundity, it doesn't quite make it. And the ending I've liked all of Attica Locke's work that I've read (Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season), and Bluebird, Bluebird has the same sort of compelling, confusing narrative, but the relationships between characters are messy as hell and the plot, not to mention the dialogue, is not entirely free of melodrama. I'll still recommend it—Locke off her game is better than a lot of people on—but I can't help feeling that although the novel aims for profundity, it doesn't quite make it. And the ending comes so far out of left field that, instead of being shocking, it has no effect at all.
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  • Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this book felt like work. It exhausted me. Had a good editor gotten their hands on it, they could have trimmed all the descriptive fat that filled the book. It's a shame. Attica Locke says some great things about race and the mystery was very intriguing, but you have to struggle through paragraphs of exposition to get to it.It should be noted that I received a copy of the book from NetGalley. I'm not sure how polished manuscripts are when they're posted there, so the final published edit Reading this book felt like work. It exhausted me. Had a good editor gotten their hands on it, they could have trimmed all the descriptive fat that filled the book. It's a shame. Attica Locke says some great things about race and the mystery was very intriguing, but you have to struggle through paragraphs of exposition to get to it.It should be noted that I received a copy of the book from NetGalley. I'm not sure how polished manuscripts are when they're posted there, so the final published edition could have resolved some of my issues.
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