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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Review: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Bluebird, Bluebird
by Attica Locke

Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publish Date: September 10, 2017
Kindle Edition
320 Pages
Series: Highway 59 #1
Genre: Thriller

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.

My Review:

Come meet Darren, a Black Texas Ranger in a small Texas town that is riddled with racial division, home to members of the Aryan Brotherhood and now host to two murders: a Black man from out of town and a White married woman who was last seen talking to him. Local law enforcement, as expected, is not happy about having Darren around to investigate, but they reluctantly give him access and the mystery begins to unfold.

Darren is a complicated character.  He already has a lot against him in this small town simply because of the color of his skin.  While he gets involved in what seems to be a racially motivated crime, those above him keep warning him about getting *too* involved.  And yet, when they need him, they use his face publicly to prove they are taking these murders seriously.  While a fascinating character, I also didn't care much for Darren at times.  (Also, can we please stop making the MC have a drinking problem?)  

Locke brilliantly brings us the atmosphere of this small town where the residents don't take kindly to outsiders.  You can FEEL the tension between the characters...  and while the murders are the main focus, at times the investigation could feel like more of a back story, the supporting *actor* to the main points of race and policing.  While I appreciate everything Locke brought to us readers, I did find my attention waning and going glassy eyed during some parts.  While I don't see myself continuing this series, I will certainly be checking out some of Locke's other works.


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