Bluebird, Bluebird


By Attica Locke

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 28, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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.

  • One of CrimeReads's 10 Best Novels of the DecadeWinner of the 2018 Edgar Award for Best NovelA New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceA Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book PrizeA Washington Post 10 Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2017A Kirkus Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017A Financial Times Best Book of the YearBest book of the year from Vulture, The Strand Magazine, Southern Living, Bolo Books, Publisher's Weekly, Book Riot, The Guardian, Lit Hub, The Boston Globe, Dallas News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Minnesota Public Radio, Texas Monthly, The Daily Beast, and the South Florida Sun Sentinel
  • "A quick course in plotting and nimble characterizations rooted in a vividly evoked setting"
    Nicole Lamy, New York Times Book Review
  • "An emotionally dense and intricately detailed thriller, roiling with conflicting emotions steeped in this nation's troubled past and present. . . . A rich sense of place and relentless feeling of dread permeate Attica Locke's heartbreakingly resonant new novel about race and justice in America. . . . Bluebird, Bluebird is no simple morality tale. Far from it. It rises above "left and right" and "black and white" and follows the threads that inevitably bind us together, even as we rip them apart."
    James Endrst, USA Today
  • "Gripping, suspenseful and gut-wrenching . . . I've never bought the notion of the Great American Novel. I think when literary historians look back, they'll realize this time had many, but if Attica Locke's Bluebird Bluebird isn't on the list, I'm coming back to haunt them. . . . This is a layered portrait of a black man confronting his own racial ambivalence and ambition told with a pointed and poignant bluesy lyricism. . . . Locke's novel is America 'telling on itself.' Listen up."
    Carole Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "Attica Locke's terrific Bluebird, Bluebird (Mulholland) simmers with racial tensions . . . a story told with Locke's crystal-clear vision and pleasurably elemental prose."
    Seattle Times
  • "Few contemporary writers have portrayed black Southern life with as much wit and heart-pounding drama as Attica Locke. . . . A dazzling work of rural noir that throws into question whether justice can be equally served on both sides of the race line."
    Amy Brady, Los Angeles Times
  • "Locke pens a poignant love letter to the lazy red-dirt roads and Piney Woods that serve as a backdrop to a noir thriller as murky as the bayous and bloodlines that thread through the region. . . . Locke shows off her chops as a superb storyteller. . . . She is adept at crafting characters who don't easily fit the archetypes of good and evil, but exist in the thick grayness of humanness, the knotty demands of loyalties and the baseness of survival. Locke holds up the mirror of the racial debate in America and shows us how the light bends and fractures what is right, wrong and what simply is the way it is--but perhaps not as it should be."
    Jaundréa Clay, Houston Chronicle
  • "Powerful . . . Locke is a master of plot who's honed her craft. . . . The deepest pleasures to be found in Bluebird, Bluebird, though, are in her renderings of those who've loved and lost but still want to believe in the world's benevolence."
    Leigh Haber, O., The Oprah Magazine
  • "I've never bought the notion of the Great American Novel. I think when literary historians look back, they'll realize this time had many, but if Attica Locke's"Bluebird Bluebird" (Mulholland) isn't on the list, I'm coming back to haunt them."
    Carole E. Barrowman, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "Brooding, timely, gripping"
    Family Circle
  • "Locke, having stockpiled an acclaimed array of crime novels (Pleasantville, 2015, etc.), deserves a career breakthrough for this deftly plotted whodunit whose writing pulses throughout with a raw, blues-inflected lyricism."

    Kirkus (Starred Review)
  • "Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird reads like a blues song to East Texas with all its troubles over property, race, and love. Taut where it has to be to keep a murder investigation on its toes, this novel is also languid when you need to understand just what would keep a black woman or man in a place where so much troubled history lies. This novel marks Love's (and Hatred's) comings and goings amongst black and white, and all the shades between. Locke's small town murder investigation reveals what lies at the heart of America's confusion over race."
    Walter Mosley, author of Down the River unto the Sea
  • "In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke had both mastered the thriller and exceeded it. Ranger Darren Mathews is tough, honor-bound, and profoundly alive in corrupt world. I loved everything about this book."
    Ann Patchett
  • "A tale of racism, hatred, and, surprisingly, love . . . [An] absorbing series launch"
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Attica Locke's stupendous fourth novel is suffused with the blues. Pushing her classic noir plot deep into history and culture, the Houston native sings her own unshakable, timeless lament. Streaked with wit and hard-earned wisdom, 'Bluebird, Bluebird' soars."
    Chicago Tribune
  • "Lyrical, elemental, and pulls no punches, exposing racial tensions past and present while a killer blues soundtrack plays perpetually in the background."
    Boston Globe
  • "Attica Locke is a must-read author who writes with power, grace, and heart, and Bluebird, Bluebird is a remarkable achievement. This is a rare novel that thrills, educates, and inspires all at once. Don't miss it."
    Michael Koryta, author of Rise the Dark
  • "With Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke brings freshness and vitality to a beloved form. Her storytelling touch is just so strong! From the first beautifully done scene until the finale, this is a very propulsive novel concerning old deeds that keep influencing the present, injustice and courage--a powerful and dramatic look at contemporary black life in rural America."
    Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid's Version
  • "This page-turner combines heart and heat."
    Patrik Henry Bass, Essence
  • "Bluebird, Bluebird has the impeccable pacing, memorable characters, and deepening sense of mystery and dread we expect in the finest noir thrillers. But this novel is so much more. Darren Mathews, the black Texas Ranger at the story's center, is a man caught up in the complex and at times contradictory loyalties of geography, profession, race, and family. He is a brilliantly realized character and in his refusal to settle for easy answers, he leads himself and the reader toward the most elemental of contradictions: the inextricable link between hate and love. Attica Locke has written a marvelous novel."
    Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Risen
  • "Attica Locke knows Texas, a place that has shaped both her characters and her life. Locke's new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, is evidence of her deep knowledge and love of her community and a deep talent for writing hype thrillers that also manage to be timely, relevant and keenly insightful."
    Joe Ide, author of IQ and Righteous
  • "Attica Locke knows how to tell a tale, her voice so direct and crisp that the dust from the side of Highway 59 will settle on your hands as you hold Bluebird, Bluebird. Nothing comes easy in Shelby County, where the lines between right and wrong blur a little more with each heartfelt page, and love and pain live together as one under the big Texas sun."
    Michael Farris Smith, author of Desperation Road and Rivers
  • "This is Attica Locke's best work yet-and if you've read Pleasantville you know that's saying something. Just by her choice of protagonist (an African American Texas Ranger, tacking between two worlds as he solves a double homicide) you know Locke is a writer who makes bold choices, and whose fiction is powerfully connected to our troubled world."
    Ben Winters, author of Underground Airlines
  • "Locke's writing is both sharp-edged and lyrical. This is thoughtful, piercing storytelling with the power to transport."
    Diana Evans, Financial Times
  • "Locke's latest is steeped in the blood of history but alive with the racial tensions of today. It's a twisty, carefully plotted thriller."
    Chris Vognar, The Dallas Morning News
  • "A great new book series . . . Entertaining"
    Charles Ealy, Austin American-Statesman
  • "Locke creates a town that breathes blues and beats with familiar warmth between those whose lives have been intertwined for generations."
    Las Vegas Weekly
  • "Attica Locke's incisive look at racial issues reaches another milestone in the gripping Bluebird, Bluebird. . . . The author packs the excellent novel with believable characters whose motives often are tied up in the complex morass of history and family. . . . Locke's superior storytelling excels in Bluebird, Bluebird."
    Wisconsin Gazette
  • "If I were limited to bringing only one book to you it would be Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke and from eagle-eyed Mulholland Books. . . . As poignant as this story is, it's Locke's elegiac writing and her characters that make this book unforgettable, even beautiful. Locke's feelings of being black are so fervent it makes Bluebird, Bluebird a work of literature that will make you cry and read slowly to delay the ending."
    Jeffrey Mannix, The Durango Telegraph
  • "A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is a timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America."
    Deep South Magazine
  • "Great...Mysterious, well written, very unusual. Fascinating twists, moods and observations. Interesting perspective on life and small-town racism and crime."
    The Charlotte News
  • "A sharp crime story . . . A detective story steeped with history . . . Locke has a wonderful grasp of how to tell a story about the past. . . . Locke's ear for people makes seeing how the past redoubles and affects the present a constant delight."
    Nathan Jefferson, Los Angeles Review of Books
  • "timely thriller about race and justice"
  • "I don’t read many mysteries but I’d follow Texas Ranger Matthews anywhere."
    Ann Patchett, Elle Magazine
  • "Richly realized and deliciously labyrinthine."
    Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle
  • "a gripping page-turner with suspenseful hooks and an old-school, cinematic feel"
    The Riveter
  • "Between the driving plot, the complex characters, and the righteous anger, Locke's latest, Bluebird, Bluebird, has exceeded my highest expectations."
  • "[Locke's] mystery novels are top notch...the book's hero, a black Texas Ranger, and his fight for justice make this a page-turner that brings Texas into sharp focus."
  • "A spectacular novel with so much more to offer than just mystery."
  • "A native Texan herself, Locke knows how such racial animus can breed an atmosphere of dread, and she employs it deftly to spark suspense."
    The Austin Chronicle
  • "Locke's mesmerizing new novel bears all the hallmarks of modern crime fiction: the alcoholic protagonist with the damaged marriage; the townsfolk who close rank against outsiders; the small-town law enforcement agent with murky loyalties. But Bluebird, Bluebird is a true original in the way it twists these conventions into a narrative of exhilarating immediacy ... Locke has a vivid sense of characterisation, using everything from dialect to the fabric of one's clothes to make subtle class distinctions and depict mental states ... Locke is building a compelling body of work. In this age of enduring and renewed racial tensions, we need her voice more than ever."
    Esi Edugyan, The Guardian

On Sale
Aug 28, 2018
Page Count
320 pages
Mulholland Books

Attica Locke

About the Author

Attica Locke is a NY Times best-selling author of five novels, including Bluebird, Bluebird, which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She is also a winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and she has been short listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and nominated for an LA Times Book Prize and an NAACP Image award for her work as a novelist. Locke is also a screenwriter and TV producer, with credits that include Empire, When They See Us and the Emmy-nominated Little Fires Everywhere, for which she won an NAACP Image award for television writing. She co-created and executive produced an adaptation of her sister Tembi Locke’s memoir From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home for Netflix. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California.

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