Attica Locke’s HEAVEN, MY HOME
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
I am a huge fan of Attica Locke’s work, ever since her impressive debut Black Water Rising. Each of her previous novels have had strong foundations in people, history and of course politics and how each is intrinsically connected. In her latest novels Attica Locke takes the 2016 US election and its aftermath and has written a new crime series that is going to rank amongst the greatest in the genre.
We first met Texas Ranger Darren Matthews in 2017’s Bluebird, Bluebird. Set along Highway 59 in East Texas the novel centres upon the murder of an African American lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman in the small town of Lark. Texas, like the rest of America, is a simmering hotbed of tension following the unexpected election results and Darren Matthews must thread between ingrained prejudices on both sides to try and navigate towards some kind of justice. Whether that is legal justice or Darren’s own version of justice or what constitutes justice in rural East Texas is for Darren to decide, and his life might just depend on his decision.
Darren Matthews returns in Heaven, My Home and an even more complicated case. 9 year old Levi King has gone missing from a small lakeside town of Jefferson. Not normally a case for a Texas Ranger but Levi’s father is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and Darren’s Lieutenant believes they can use Levi’s disappearance as leverage to help close a two year long investigation into the Brotherhood. An investigation they want to complete before the new President and his new Justice Department take office in a few months time. As Darren begins looking into the case he finds little sympathy for the missing boy. He seems to be following in his father’s footsteps already, spray painting racist graffiti on his neighbours’ homes and church. But the more Darren digs into the town’s history the more complicated the case becomes and Darren must question his own predisposed assumptions in order to find out what is really going on.
Attica Locke infuses both novels with a distinct sense of history and how that shapes the world we are living in now. Darren Matthews traverses Highway 59 and all its different peoples, stories and cultures; good and bad. She captures every nook and cranny of each town and place through the music, the food and the attitudes of its inhabitants. I swear I was craving a bourbon by the end of this novel. Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is a wonderfully complicated protagonist pulled in multiple directions by his sense of duty and fairness which is as complicated as the State of Texas itself. This leads to many decisions whose consequences become more muddied than the problems Darren was trying to solve and puts Darren’s own career and personal life in constant turmoil which only makes Darren’s job that much harder.
I absolutely love this series and can’t wait to see what they do with the television series. Not only do the books have the potential to rank amongst the greats of crime fiction but a TV series could be bigger and better than Elmore Leonard’s Justified. If you haven’t read Attica Locke before jump on the bandwagon now because this series is going to be huge!
Title: Heaven, My Home
Author: Attica Locke
Publisher: Profile Books
Length: 234.0 millimetre
Width: 153.0 millimetre
Publication Date: 07/10/2019