Title: Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Highway 59 Series Book Two
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 305 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
One of Entertainment Weekly‘s Biggest Books of Fall 2019 Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is on the hunt for a missing boy — but it’s the boy’s family of white supremacists who are his real target in this “instantly gripping crime novel” (Booklist) by the award-winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird
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 Mathews 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.
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke is a compelling mystery with a timely and topical storyline. This second installment in the fantastic Highway 59 series can be read as a standalone but I also highly recommend book one, Bluebird, Bluebird, as well.
Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is back in the Houston office and his marriage to Lisa is back on track. Darren is currently stuck on desk duty reviewing data that will hopefully secure several arrests of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). With the Trump inauguration just a couple of months away, there is a sense of urgency surrounding the ABT investigation due to political uncertainty. So when the nine year old son of incarcerated ABT captain Bill King goes missing, Darren’s boss sees an opportunity to hopefully gain information that will secure arrests for the task force. Eager to get out of the office, Darren jumps at the chance to work in the field again. Although not assigned to look into Levi King’s disappearance, Darren is soon involved in questioning the individuals with ties to the case. Is Levi just missing? Or has something far more sinister happened to him?
Darren has cut way back on his drinking now he is back working. Counseling has helped him settle back into married life, but he cannot help but feel resentful for complying with Lisa’s request he work in the office. Although his job and marriage are seemingly settled, Darren is becoming increasingly panicked over the situation with his mother, Bell Callis. She has him over a barrel as she threatens to tell everything she knows about the case that lead to his previous suspension. Darren is hopeful a little distance will help him figure out how to neutralize the situation with Bell.
The search for Levi is complicated by the lack of co-operation with Levi’s grandmother, Rosemary King, who does not seem overly concerned about her grandson. Darren also finds himself in the crosshairs of the white supremacist who have moved in next to Levi’s family. Following the only viable lead the police have uncovered, Darren interviews Leroy Page, an elderly gentleman whose family history is closely intertwined with the King family. Will Darren discover the truth about what happened to Levi? Or will the Texas Ranger’s close friend FBI Agent Great Heglund’s ambition destroy Darren’s shot at finding the missing child?
Heaven, My Home is a multi-layered mystery with a substantive storyline that delves into race relations and racial tension in small town Texas. Darren is an extremely appealing character whose need to protect himself presents a moral quandary. The investigation into Levi’s disappearance is interwoven with fascinating facets of Texas history. With cunning twists and turns, Attica Locke brings this clever mystery to a satisfying conclusion. Fans of the series are going to love this newest addition to the Highway 59 series but a few loose threads will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment.