Bluebird, Bluebird

Bluebird, Bluebird

A Novel

Book - 2017
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A "heartbreakingly resonant" thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy-winning Fox TV show Empire ( USA Today ).

"In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke had both mastered the thriller and exceeded it."-Ann Patchett

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. From a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire, Bluebird, Bluebird is a rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780316363297
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY LOCKE A
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 25 cm.


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From Library Staff

Read. Highway 59 #1 in series. "In a rural East Texas town of fewer than 200 people, the body of an African American lawyer from Chicago is found in a bayou, followed several days later by that of a local white woman. What's going on? African American Texas Ranger Darren Mathews hopes to fin... Read More »

1st in the Highway 59 series. A realistic, gritty & suspenseful mystery. Poignant emphasis on social justice as well as Locke’s sense of place rooted in East Texas. A twisty reveal profoundly links love to hate!
Winner of these awards:
Anthony Awards: Best Novel, Dagger Awards: CWA Ian Flemi... Read More »

LPL_ShirleyB Nov 27, 2019

I'm deeply affected by this realistic, gritty & suspenseful mystery. The characters' connections to place, thought-provoking reflections of our divided society and lyrical writing including references to song lyrics is intense! Read for poignant emphasis on social justice as well as Locke’s s... Read More »

From the critics

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Apr 11, 2021

I really enjoyed reading this book written by Attica Locke. She paints such a vivid picture of race relations in rural East Texas - the undercurrents and tension was palpable. I particularly enjoyed the main character of Texas Ranger Darren Matthews, his family relationships, his career troubles, and marital troubles. Flawed characters are much more fun to read than perfect ones. The case had twists and turns, and there was even a delightfully chilling cliffhanger ending. Definitely suggest picking this one up!

Jan 08, 2021

Many black writers portray the horrors and problems of the black community mostly in the South. Attica Locke shows the issues in a small community in Texas in 2016. The stories of Black Lives Matter ring true in this novel of racial injustice in the South. The main character, Geneva Sweet, operates a small store and restaurant that sits across the street from a huge, beautiful replica of Jefferson’s Monticello. The owner, Wallace Jefferson III (Wally), wants Geneva’s small patch of land. Geneva is an old black woman who has lost her husband and son to violent crime. And Wally, a white gentleman, owns basically the whole town. The story opens with the recovery of two bodies from the bayou: a black man from Chicago and a young, white woman from the community. Are the deaths related? The story centers on the choices of a black, Texas ranger. Will he continue his job as a Ranger or find a safer life in teaching law? Ms. Locke presents the characters with clarity and humanity, and a look at the problems of race in the South.

Dec 29, 2020

I haven't been pulled into a story this deep since I read Dan Brown's 'Deception Point'. Attica Locke has skyrocketed to the top of my favorite authors list. Prior to reading this, I had read three novels by the same author, so I was accustomed to that accustomed, I almost put this down because I wasn't used to the style. I had to tell myself it's a different writer and to stick with it. Two days later, I had finished. I had a difficult time putting this down. The mastery exhibited in story telling here is something you don't come across every day. Not only could I envision the story in my head, I felt the action, I heard all the subtle nuances, and I could smell the environment. I was pulled that deep into the story. Attica Locke demonstrates a mastery of the written word here, and worthy of all the awards and praise it received.

ACL_ChrisS Aug 29, 2020

Chosen at Castro Valley Reads selection for 2020. Solid police procedural with excellent exploration of race and justice themes. Interesting and flawed characters. The music, the food, the tone of the writig will land you right in Texas. PLanned as either of 3 or 4 book series. The second one is called "Heaven, My Home."

Apr 11, 2020

I don’t know quite why, but I got 2/3rd’s through and just couldn’t finish the book. It gets rave reviews, but I got tired of reading it.

STPL_Kerry Jan 13, 2020

This is a "stay-up-late-cause-I-need-to-know-what-happens" type of book. It is not the type of read I normally gravitate to (murder-mystery), and I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it was. It is very well-written--Attica Locke is such a gifted story-teller--it is a gripping tale that ends with quite a cliff-hanger!! (so I am very glad I didn't read this until the second book was published!) I am looking forward to reading 'Heaven, My Home'; which I've heard is even better than this one.

ArapahoeStaff26 Jan 09, 2020

The language and dialog flow in this beautifully written murder mystery that takes place in a small town in eastern Texas. Long-standing tensions and complicated relationships, the result of racial and class pressures, inform this rich story, where a Black man can get confused as to "which side of the law he belonged, (and) couldn't always remember when it was safe for a black man to follow the rules."

LPL_ShirleyB Nov 27, 2019

I'm deeply affected by this realistic, gritty & suspenseful mystery. The characters' connections to place, thought-provoking reflections of our divided society and lyrical writing including references to song lyrics is intense! Read for poignant emphasis on social justice as well as Locke’s sense of place rooted in East Texas. And a twisty reveal which profoundly links love to hate!

Nov 02, 2019

Attica Locke recently won the Texas Writer Award (2019)

STPL_JessH Sep 19, 2019

Have you read any books by Attica Locke?? No? Well, my friends, now is your chance. I really enjoyed the Cutting Season so I knew I wanted to read Locke’s new series. Book 1, Bluebird, Bluebird, won a few prizes last year so it fits the “book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018” category. The good news is that if you enjoy it, you don’t have to wait long because book 2 called Heaven, My Home is available now. I respect the depth Locke brings to her writing and her characters. There’s no shying away from difficult topics and the feelings that rise. JD Jackson’s audiobook narration is excellent and really brought the story to life for me. I can’t wait to see what happens with Darren Mathews next!

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ArapahoeStaff26 Jan 09, 2020

Don't give then a reason to stop you, son... black men for whom self-regard was both a natural state of being and a survival technique. His uncles adhered to those ancient rules of southern living, for they understood how easily a colored man's general comportment could turn into a matter of life and death. Darren had always wanted to believe that theirs was the last generation to have to live that way, that change might trickle down from the White House. When in fact the opposite had proved to be true. In the wake of Obama, America had told on itself.

Dec 21, 2019

She nodded, staring at him in the dim light. “But why come back?”
“Jasper,” he said softly.

Dec 21, 2019

“It’s knowing that I’m here, too. I’m Texas, too. They don’t get to decide what this place is,” he said, nodding toward Willy’s mansion behind them. “This is my home, too.”


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