Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2018
2018 Edgar Award Winner for best novel
When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply conflicted about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him back.
So when 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.
‘In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke has both mastered the thriller and exceeded it. Ranger Darren Mathews is tough, honor-bound, and profoundly alive in corrupt world. I loved everything about this book.’ Ann Patchett
‘Locke’s writing is both sharp-edged and lyrical. This is thoughtful, piercing storytelling with the power to transport.’ Diana Evans, Financial Times
Mesmerising ... original ... exhilarating ... Locke is building a compelling body of work. In this age of enduring and renewed racial tensions, we need her voice more than ever -- Esi Edugyan * Guardian * Wonderful ... a superb thriller ... Locke's message of injustice is the more convincing for being conveyed with restraint -- Marcel Berlins * Times * Tight, bright prose ... powerful ... she seems more and more like America's most interesting crime writer -- Jake Kerridge * Daily Telegraph * Locke evokes place brilliantly, writes tangy, fluent prose ... an expertly plotted triple whodunit. -- John Dugdale * Sunday Times * Bluebird, Bluebird is absorbing and Locke's writing is beautiful ... The best crime novel of the year so far. -- Paul Connolly * Metro * What is most satisfying about this crime novel is its use of the crime as a device with which to explore something much larger and universal ... Locke's writing is both sharp-edged and lyrical. This is thoughtful, piercing storytelling with the power to transport. -- Diana Evans * FT * Elegant ... gripping. -- Claire Kohda Hazelton * Observer * Cracking ... The prose is beautifully rhythmic ... Locke uses her insider knowledge of the area to really get under the skin of her characters, in the process revealing the real beating heart of rural Texan life. It's uncomfortable stuff at times, but it's brilliantly executed. * Big Issue * Memorable characters, engaging prose and a soundtrack of down-home blues make for a winning literary crime thriller. -- Jeffrey Burke * Mail on Sunday * One of my favourite books of the past year * Harlan Coben * Page-turning. * Elle * Ms. Locke is a wonderful stylist, able to conjure vivid impressions with a single phrase. * Wall Street Journal * Locke is a brisk writer with a sharp eye for the subtleties of how rural white Southerners tend to act as if their little towns belong to them - and react harshly to black independence. * Washington Post * In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke had both mastered the thriller and exceeded it. Ranger Darren Mathews is tough, honor-bound, and profoundly alive in corrupt world. I loved everything about this book. -- Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth This is the best kind of thriller: as literate and thoughtful as it is fast-moving. Attica Locke has bags of style, and sings the blues on every page. A highlight of the year so far, and the curtain-raiser for what promises to be a compelling series. -- Mick Herron, author of Slow Horses With Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke brings freshness and vitality to a beloved form. Her storytelling touch is just so strong! From the first beautifully done scene until the finale, this is a very propulsive novel concerning old deeds that keep influencing the present, injustice and courage - a powerful and dramatic look at contemporary black life in rural America. -- Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone Attica Locke knows Texas, a place that has shaped both her characters and her life. Locke's new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, is evidence of her deep knowledge and love of her community and a deep talent for writing hype thrillers that also manage to be timely, relevant and keenly insightful. -- Joe Ide, author of IQ and Righteous Bluebird, Bluebird has the impeccable pacing, memorable characters, and deepening sense of mystery and dread we expect in the finest noir thrillers. But this is so much more. Attica Locke has written a marvelous novel. -- Ron Rash, author of The Risen Attica Locke has built a career on political novels wrapped in the conventions of the crime thriller, and Bluebird, Bluebird burnishes an already impressive reputation. * Irish Times * Attica Locke is a must-read author who writes with power, grace, and heart, and Bluebird, Bluebird is a remarkable achievement. This is a rare novel that thrills, educates, and inspires all at once. Don't miss it. -- Michael Koryta, author of Rise the Dark Attica Locke knows how to tell a tale, her voice so direct and crisp that the dust from the side of Highway 59 will settle on your hands as you hold Bluebird, Bluebird. Nothing comes easy in Shelby County, where the lines between right and wrong blur a little more with each heartfelt page, and love and pain live together as one under the big Texas sun. -- Michael Farris Smith, author of Desperation Road and Rivers Incisive ... Locke's superior storytelling excels in Bluebird, Bluebird as the author deftly moves the brisk plot that centres on racism as well as greed, hate and even love. -- Oline Cogdill * Associated Press * Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird reads like a blues song to East Texas with all its troubles over property, race, and love. Taut where it has to be to keep a murder investigation on its toes, this novel is also languid when you need to understand just what would keep a black woman or man in a place where so much troubled history lies. This novel marks Love's (and Hatred's) comings and goings amongst black and white, and all the shades between. Locke's small town murder investigation reveals what lies at the heart of America's confusion over race. -- Walter Mosley, author of Down the River unto the Sea This is Attica Locke's best work yet-and if you've read Pleasantville you know that's saying something. Just by her choice of protagonist (an African American Texas Ranger, tacking between two worlds as he solves a double homicide) you know Locke is a writer who makes bold choices, and whose fiction is powerfully connected to our troubled world -- Ben Winters, author of Underground Airlines A rich sense of place and relentless feeling of dread permeate Attica Locke's heartbreakingly resonant new novel about race and justice in America. . . . an emotionally dense and intricately detailed thriller, roiling with conflicting emotions steeped in this nation's troubled past and present * USA Today * Attica Locke pens a poignant love letter to the lazy red-dirt roads and Piney Woods that serve as a backdrop to a noir thriller as murky as the bayous . . She is adept at crafting characters who don't easily fit the archetypes of good and evil, but exist in the thick grayness of humanness -- Houston Chronicle Praise for Pleasantville: 'Ambitious, socially committed and beautifully written ... the next time you find yourself in the company of a crime reviewer, don't bother asking who you should be reading. You know the answer: Attica Locke. -- Barry Forshaw * Independent * An excellent thriller ... a gripping blend of the personal and the political * Irish Times * As convincing as it is enthralling. -- Boyd Hilton * Heat * Genuinely unnerving ... subtle, complex questions of identity, family and history * Daily Mail * Outstanding...Locke just gets better and better as a writer. -- Jake Kerridge * Sunday Express Magazine * Her best story yet. -- Mark Lawson * Guardian * It's a fascinatingly complex setting and Locke maps it with great skill, charting the struggles of her characters as the crime remains unsolved ... a smart legal thriller about how far people will go to gain power, and keep it. -- Jeff Noon * Spectator * A common selling point for the sorely missed HBO series "The Wire" is that it's the closest television has ever come to feeling like a novel. Attica Locke'sPleasantville is that novel. * Washington Independent Review of Books * In Pleasantville, Attica Locke returns to Jay Porter, the black lawyer hero of her magnificent first novel, Black Water Rising. This one is just as good. -- Marcel Berlins * Times * Outstandingly good ... Locke uses language with unusual elegance and her characters spring lifelike from the page. What is more, her writing deserves attention from historians and sociologists: her portrayal of race relations in the one-time slave-owning states is vivid, subtle and tragic. * Literary Review * Sharp and moody -- Adam Sternbergh * Shortlist * One of my favorite books of the past year -- Harlan Coben
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