#AudiobookReview Heaven, My Home (Highway 59, #2) by Attica Locke

Heaven My HomeAbout the Book

Nine-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.

Texas Ranger 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 rebuilding, 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.

Format: Audiobook (9h 17m)                    Publisher: Serpent’s Tail Audio
Publication date: 12th September 2019 Genre: Crime, Mystery

Find Heaven, My Home (Highway 59 #2) on Goodreads

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My Review

I was introduced to Attica Locke’s writing through reading her first published crime novel, Black Water Rising, and since then I’ve eagerly consumed its successors, The Cutting Season and Pleasantville. I read and reviewed the first in the author’s new ‘Highway 59’ series, Bluebird, Bluebird in 2017. Heaven, My Home is the follow-up to that book, once again featuring black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews.

A number of story lines from the previous book are picked up, including Darren’s troubled relationship with his mother, his concern that certain of his past actions may come to light and continuing doubts about the state of his marriage to wife, Lisa. However, there is sufficient recapping for readers who either have not read Bluebird, Bluebird or who have but need a reminder about events in the earlier book.

Darren is a realistically flawed character. Not everything he’s done is right, even where it was with the best of intentions. In this book he faces difficult moral dilemmas again. He possesses a strong sense of justice which fuels his determination to find the missing boy when no-one else besides Levi’s distraught mother seems bothered. Perhaps it’s because the boy reminds him of his younger self. But is there truth in the accusation that his blind spot is his instinct to protect black people accused of crime?

The book has the author’s signature blend of crime mystery and exploration of contemporary political themes such as racial tension and corruption in high places. In particular, the book exposes the history and treatment of Native Americans whilst also touching on the scourge of white supremacy and raising questions about how the past is represented, especially if that past involves unsavoury events. Once again, the author creates a vivid picture of small town America highlighting the contrast between the lives of rich and poor, black and white.

Darren eventually homes in what may have happened to the missing boy thanks to a number of clues, one of which at least turns out to be a load of baloney. I have to say the motive behind it all, when revealed, was rather complex and not quite as gripping as in previous books. However, the way in which the other storylines were woven into it compensated for this.

I listened to the audio book version of Heaven, My Home and thought J D Jackson did a great job as narrator. He was able to create sufficient distinctiveness between the various male characters and voiced the female characters in a way that didn’t jar. (His delivery was quite slow so I found increasing the speed to x1.25 worked well without impacting on clarity.)

I really enjoyed Heaven, My Home and there were a few plot threads left unresolved that I’m hoping will be carried over to a future book.

In three words: Assured, compelling, thought-provoking

Try something similar: Asylum Road by James L. Weaver

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Attica-2017About the Author

Attica Locke’s latest novel Heaven, My Home (September 2019) is the sequel to Edgar Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird. Her third novel Pleasantville was the winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. The Cutting Season was the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Her first novel Black Water Rising was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke works as a screenwriter as well.  Most recently, she was a writer and producer on Netflix’s When They See Us and the also the upcoming Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter. (Photo/bio credit: Author website)

Connect with Attica
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About the Narrator

J D Jackson is an educator, actor, and audiobook narrator. Currently an adjunct professor at Los Angeles Southwest College, he has an MFA in theatre from Temple University and several television and movie credits, including HouseERLaw & OrderThird Watch, and Hack. He has also received several Audiofile Earphone Awards for his work.

2 thoughts on “#AudiobookReview Heaven, My Home (Highway 59, #2) by Attica Locke

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