Summary and book reviews of Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

Heaven, My Home

A Highway 59 Mystery

by Attica Locke

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke X
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2019, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2020, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Book Summary

The thrilling follow-up to the award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird: Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is on the hunt for a boy who's gone missing - but it's the boy's family of white supremacists who are his real target.

9-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; now he's alone in the darkness of vast Caddo Lake, in a boat whose motor just died. A sudden noise distracts him - and all goes dark.

Darren Matthews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; after the events of his previous investigation, his marriage is in a precarious state of re-building, and his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who's never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she's not above a little maternal blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town where the local economy thrives on nostalgia for ante-bellum Texas - and some of the era's racial attitudes still thrive as well. Levi's disappearance has links to Darren's last case, and to a wealthy businesswoman, the boy's grandmother, who seems more concerned about the fate of her business than that of her grandson.

Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, as well as threats that have been reignited in the current political climate, as he races to find the boy, and to save himself.

Attica Locke proves that the acclaim and awards for Bluebird, Bluebird were justly deserved, in this thrilling new novel about crimes old and new.

Like a tree planted by the water,
I shall not be moved.

—when Jessie Mae Hemphill sang it

Marion County

Texas, 2016

DANA WOULD have his tail if he didn't make it back across the lake by sundown. She'd said as much when she put him out on the steps of their trailer—which she did the second Rory Pitkin rolled up on his Indian Scout with the engine off, the toes of his motorcycle boots dragging in the dirt. She'd given Levi the key to their granddaddy's boathouse and a few dollars from the bottom of her purse and told him he had to be home before Ma and Gil got back or she'd burn all his Pokémon cards and make him watch. Lord, but his sister could be a bitch, he thought, enjoying the knifelike feel of the word so much he said it out loud, a secret between him and the cypress trees. The rust-red light pouring through the Spanish moss told him he'd never make it home by dark, which meant he'd broken two of his mama's rules: missing curfew and going ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The intricate, shifting plot elements in Heaven, My Home aren't just deftly handled, but deeply intertwined, making for profound world-building that echoes broader American social and cultural realities. At the same time, Locke's writing is approachable; it has literary value, but could appeal to some who aren't normally inclined towards more literary work...continued

Full Review (1015 words).

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(Reviewed by Elisabeth Cook).

Media Reviews

New York Times
The story has legs, the characters have character, and the dialogue has a wonderful regional tang. But it’s Locke’s descriptive language that gets me. It’s even there in the simplicity of an old man’s description, rich with love and longing, of the 'little piece of heaven' where he had hoped to 'spend the rest of what God give me … fishing, taking care of my horses, growing my collards and peppers.'

Washington Post
[Locke] captures the acute challenge of being a black man in America, regardless of education, title or pedigree...Entertainment value is paramount, and she manages to deliver it while also immersing readers in a world where the wound of America’s racial history is raw, infected and resistant to treatment.

Shelf Awareness
Both a fascinating, smartly plotted mystery and a pertinent picture of the contemporary United States, Heaven, My Home is refreshing, dour and thrilling all at once. Readers will be anxious for more of Ranger Darren Mathews. This scintillating murder mystery, set in Trump-era East Texas, with a black main cast and racial concerns, is gripping, gorgeously written and relevant.

NPR
The world of Highway 59 contains multitudes, rich and poor and booksmart and horse-sense smart and of many races and ethnicities. Readers can rejoice that there are has plenty of volumes possible in the future of a mystery series with atmosphere, depth, and boundless compassion for its characters. Attica Locke combines first-class procedural action with wise contemplation on our country's modern divides. Heaven, My Home should be on any mystery lover's TBR pile this fall.

BookRiot
Locke is brilliant at creating tense mysteries where the setting is as alive, and important, as the characters without distracting-but rather enhancing-the mystery element. You get history, a great mystery, smart twists, rich characters, and a deep exploration of the justice - and injustice - system of our country.

Library Journal
Edgar Award winner Locke is definitely worth following, here presenting a well-crafted mystery that evokes a steamy east Texas and the racial tensions inherent in small Southern towns.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] searing sequel to 2017's Bluebird, Bluebird...This one's another Edgar contender.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In addition to her gifts for tight pacing and intense lyricism, Locke shows with this installment of her Highway 59 series a facility for unraveling the tangled strands of the Southwest's cultural legacy...so bracing that you can't wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway.

Booklist (starred review)
This is a beautifully and instantly gripping crime novel...Locke is one of the emerging stars of crime fiction.

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Beyond the Book

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake surrounded by treesCaddo Lake and its surrounding wetlands cover approximately 26,000 acres on the Texas-Louisiana border. It's the only naturally-formed lake in Texas, and it's also significant for its large size and unique biodiversity. Known for natural beauty, including its trademark giant cypress trees and Spanish moss, Caddo Lake is a popular destination for camping, hunting, fishing and hiking.

The lake takes its name from the Caddo Nation, a confederacy of Native tribes that once occupied areas of East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The word "Caddo" comes from a French shortening of "kadohadacho," which means "real chief" in the Caddo language. The Caddo, who at one time maintained a large matrilineal, agriculturally-based society, are ...

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