It would probably be impossible for 2018 Edgar Award-winner Attica Locke to put out enough books to satisfy me. She is one of those authors where I will drop everything in order to read any new work of hers. She’s also one of the crime authors I most recommend.
While the reasons are many—including her excellent writing—I most often recommend her books for two reasons: people ask me a lot for a book to read after Tana French (Locke’s Jay Porter series) and for a book where the setting is very much alive (The Cutting Season and Bluebird, Bluebird). These Attica Locke books have great characters, settings, and mysteries that will completely draw you in.
So, pour yourself a super cold drink and crank the AC, because we’re going to hot, hot Houston, Texas:
Travel to Belle Vie, an eighteen-acre plantation in Louisiana, where Locke expertly uses the land—and all its dark history—to stage a murder mystery.
We’re headed back to Texas and we’re going to sweat like it’s nobodies business! Seriously, hold an ice cube to the back of your neck.
Attica Locke manages to up the heat, racial tension, and fight for justice in Bluebird, Bluebird as a black man from Chicago and a local white woman are murdered in a small east Texas town. Enter Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, who, while technically suspended, refuses to leave this case alone. You can feel the heat and tension rising off the page as this small town holds dearly to its secrets and racism and wants nothing to do with Mathews. The setting once again comes to life with as much importance as a character, the characters are vividly alive from the moment of introduction, and you’ll be carrying this one with you long after turning the last page.
Not only did Bluebird, Bluebird win the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Novel, Attica Locke is also writing the TV series adaptation FX. So, if you're a must-read-the-book-before-watching-the-show reader, you may want to move this one up on your TBR list. And while I am eagerly awaiting the FX adaptation—and think all of Locke’s work would make great adaptations—I am most eagerly awaiting a sequel to Bluebird, Bluebird. That ending!
Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.