By Attica Locke
Published by Mulholland Books
on September 12, 2017
Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I’d been hearing that this book was fantastic, so I knew it had to be at the top of my 2018 TBR. I’ve read a bunch of recent big buzzy mysteries and in some cases came away disappointed, but I had high hopes for this one based on recommendations from the bookternet.
And I was definitely not disappointed! Bluebird, Bluebird is a tense, gripping read, and once I really got into it, I couldn’t put it down. There is more than one mystery to unravel in this story, and I was guessing right up until the end. A major part of the tension in this story comes from the racism and prejudice Darren (and others) have to encounter, and the history of families and relationships that connect people in such a small town. Darren was a stranger in a place where it seemed like everyone knew each other, and it turned out that can be dangerous in a place like Lark.
This was a page-turner, but it was more than a ‘whodunnit’. The writing is fantastic, and Darren is a compelling character who’s got complications in his personal and professional life. This was just such a fantastic book, and even though I was reading quickly because I was so into it, I also didn’t want it to end. I so hope there will be a sequel.
If, like me, you are perhaps feeling a bit burned out on mysteries and the same-ness of so many of them lately, I definitely recommend that you pick up Bluebird, Bluebird!