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Heaven, My Home
By Attica Locke
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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.
New York Times
Like a tree planted by the water,
I shall not be moved.
—when Jessie Mae Hemphill sang it
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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 boating alone on the lake. Levi was not allowed to take his pappy’s old twelve-foot V-bottomed skiff into the open waters of Caddo Lake, which was so vast that, if you had the time, inclination, and a day’s worth of smoked oysters and clean water, you could ride it all the way into Louisiana. Gil said it wasn’t nothing like it nowhere else in the country, the only lake to cross two counties and a state line. But Gil said a lot of things that weren’t true—that he loved Ma, for one. He sure as shit didn’t act like it. Levi’s real daddy, he used to come up on her frying bologna on the stove and kiss her neck, make her titter and smile, kiss him back. But anytime Gil walked in a room, Ma was just as likely to cuss him as go stone still with terror, as if she could camouflage herself against the brown corduroy couch, where Gil had left a dozen cigarette burns since he’d moved in. Levi didn’t trust Gil any more than he would a smile on a gator. But the water, Levi thought, now that he was traveling it on his own, well, ol’ Gil might have been right about that. Caddo Lake was a monster, a body of water that could swallow a boy like him whole. In most places it resembled a weed-choked swamp more than it did a proper lake, a cypress forest that had flooded and been abandoned eons ago, and Levi could admit he was scared out here alone. Through the open sound south of Goat Island, it was a straight shot to Hopetown, the small community of trailers and shacks on the northeastern shore where Levi lived with his mother and sister and Gil. He blew away a lick of blond hair that had slipped over his eyes and gunned the boat’s motor. He yanked the tiller left, chancing a shortcut.
In just the past few minutes, the light had melted from the color of plum brandy to the bluish gray of coming nightfall, and a December breeze curled up under the thin fabric of his windbreaker, a blue and white KARNACK HIGH SCHOOL INDIANS jacket he stole from his sister’s half of the closet. He got a sudden image of her and Rory Pitkin rolling around naked in the room he and Dana shared and felt a quiver go through his body that embarrassed him. He wasn’t stupid. He knew what they were doing. Fucking, CT called it.
This was his fault, CT’s, he decided. Levi had been playing football on CT’s Xbox and lost track of time. He wanted to get a fantasy team in place because Ma had said there might be an Xbox under the tree this year if Gil came through on this deal he was running out of Jefferson. But in all the time Gil had been around, almost none of his plans ever amounted to anything that made Levi’s life easier. They still didn’t have milk in the fridge half the time.
Put out of the trailer for the afternoon, Levi had motored the small boat seven miles along the lake’s coast to CT’s family’s cabin, way on the other side of the lake in Harrison County, had lost himself playing the video game, enjoying something he knew, deep down, he’d never have. He’d been so jealous of his friend that he’d stolen one of the game’s controllers on the way out, slipping it into the pocket of his windbreaker. He hated when he did stuff like that, but neither could he stop himself. Something just came over him sometimes. It’s like his brain just went black with want—for the stuff other kids had, be it an Xbox or a daddy living at home—so he lashed out blindly. He felt the corner of the controller pressing through the nylon jacket, poking him in his bony side. Out here on the water with only God as a witness, he felt hot with shame.
It was way past five o’clock now, the sky told him.
He didn’t have time to go home the way he’d come, hugging the north shore of the lake, sailing along a thin canal of relative safety, porch lights on boathouses and craggy lake cabins twinkling hints of civilization. That would take nearly an hour. It would be full-on dark by then, and Levi hadn’t brought a flashlight. He’d set out in a thin jacket with nothing on board but Pappy’s old radio and a single oar pitted with rot that his grandfather had used to pull himself ashore. The radio kept cutting in and out. The antenna was bent halfway down, and in the pockets of silence, a deeper kind of fear took hold. He’d heard the lake went silent come nightfall, Spanish moss on the cypress trees dampening all sound, so that you could feel in this primeval lake on the edge of the state, this swamp at the edge of time, that you were the last man alive.
Not that he’d ever been on the water this late, not even when his granddaddy was still alive. Pappy believed in supper at five o’clock sharp. The Swamp Loon would have been drying in the boathouse by now, Pappy on his third or fourth beer in front of the TV. The old man steered clear of the lake after dark, always warning Levi how easy it was for a man to get turned around once night fell if he was moving solely by the light of a weak headlamp or a shy moon. The lake was big and complex—the many bayous, tributaries, and inlets like a tangle of snakes on the Texas side, at least the part that sat in Marion County—a wetland maze that had mystified outsiders for hundreds of years. If you didn’t know the lake well, you could easily mistake one cypress tree for another, take the wrong bayou pass, and never find your way out, not in near blackout conditions. The thought made Levi’s heart race. The radio shot back on, startling him, Patsy Cline cutting through a burst of static. It was a station out of Shreveport that switched from zydeco to country near suppertime—another sign he was late.
I go out walkin’ after midnight…
The word felt like a warning. His granddaddy used to call it “spending a night at the Caddo Motel.” Now, don’t you ever fart around and end up alone out here at night, son. ’Cause ain’t a soul gon’ save you. Pappy was old enough to remember his granddaddy’s tales of moonshiners and murderers hiding on the lake’s many large islands. Injuns and spooks alike, boy, thieves and Yankees too. Pappy had grown up with gruesome tales of shoot-outs and knifings, not to mention ghost stories about souls roaming the waters, haints hiding in the trees. According to Pappy, wasn’t no telling how many souls had disappeared out on this water.
Levi tried to nose the dinghy around a thick stand of cypress, but pulled the tiller right when he’d meant to maneuver it left, his damp palms slipping across the gear. When he tried to correct his course, he ended up knocking the back of the boat against the roots of a cypress tree. He heard a few clicks in the engine, like a small pebble bouncing down a flight of stairs. He snapped off the radio and listened for any further sign of engine trouble. But the clicking soon stopped, and the engine hummed sweetly again. He wiped his palms against the front of his dirty jeans, then pointed the boat toward home. Levi was not as skilled on the water as Pappy was, having been allowed to work the skiff only a handful of times before his granddaddy died in September, ending their boating lessons for good—just weeks before he was supposed to make his skipper’s debut in the Christmas boat parade in Karnack, helming the Swamp Loon. He’d saved up eleven dollars to buy every strand of colored lights he could get his hands on at the Dollar General in town. But now, riding out here alone, the sun about to leave him, he got a sudden image of this boat floating empty in the parade, Pappy gone and Levi missing. He didn’t know where the thought came from, but it felt real to him in a way that iced his bones, that made him admit he was terrified. A pair of crow’s wings chopped the air above, and Levi, startled, came out of his seat. The boat tipped slightly, taking on a few cupfuls of the dull brown water and soaking the toes of his sneakers. He guessed he had less than a mile to go, and suddenly he wanted more than anything to be home, to be fussing with Dana over her leaving her crap on his side of the bed; even listening to Gil fart and cuss every ding-dang minute sounded good right about now. The fading sunlight had blackened the lake, as if dark wool had been laid across the surface, God tucking Caddo in for the night. Levi made a bargain with the Man himself: Get him out of here and quick and he would confess everything. He’d tell Ma he went out without her say-so and take his whipping like a man. He’d start acting right all around, even quit messing with Mr. Page and his Indians.
He just wanted to be home.
He heard the clicking again. And then the engine died a death quicker than any he’d imagined possible. No gurgling last breaths, like the gunshot victims he saw on TV, none of the babbling nonsense of Pappy’s last days—rambling sorries and sorrows over his friend Leroy—just a silence so stark he felt it in his chest. He realized he was holding his breath, waiting on the engine to hum again. But it was dead and cooling by the minute. Between here and home, he saw no other boats; the fishermen, pleasure cruisers, tourists with their kayaks, they were all gone. Help. It could have been a whisper or a scream, and it wouldn’t have mattered. He was out here alone, and he knew it. If he kept due west, he would eventually reach the shores of home. But all he had for forward motion was the rotted oar, and he didn’t trust he wouldn’t turn himself in circles and end up drifting halfway to Louisiana. No, he should stay right where he was till morning. In a few hours, surely Ma or Dana would borrow someone’s boat and come looking for him. He could make it that long, couldn’t he, if he didn’t lean so much as a fingernail over the side of the boat, where even now he could feel the wildlife that was burbling beneath the water? He felt something bump into the back of the boat. Gator, he thought, and flat-out panicked, jerking upright, standing even, as if he thought he could outrun it. The boat tipped again, taking on even more water, and now it was nearly up to his ankles. Up ahead, he saw something.
It was a black shadow floating toward him.
He thought he heard the low hum of an engine.
But couldn’t be sure he hadn’t imagined it, that he wasn’t just a little bit losing his mind out here. A night in the Caddo Motel. His every thought was bent away from this coming reality. A light clicked on and shone in his eyes as the shadow neared. Levi remained standing, waving his hands over his head, tilting the narrow boat this way and that. It rocked so much that it threatened to tip over for good. But Levi was desperate now, willing to risk capsizing if it meant being saved. “Here,” he called, the sound like a single drop of water on cotton as the Spanish moss ate the words out of his mouth whole, needing the cries of lost souls as sure as it needed the blood of the bald cypress to survive in the swamp.
THE NIGHT Darren Mathews broke into his mother’s trailer, he hadn’t had a drink in over a month. Well, nothing more than a beer or two once or twice a week—and always in front of his wife, holding her gaze a few seconds before taking a sip, giving her a chance to speak or hold her peace, and grateful every time for her silence on the matter. In this new, highly precarious phase of their marriage, she had made her concessions, and he had made his. Their home life had stabilized, anchored against the rough waters since their separation and his time in Lark, Texas, by the simple pleasure of good sex, by its power to pluck out the best memories of a marriage for display and make you forget the ugly ones, the damaged plums hiding at the bottom of the bin. He’d forgotten how good it felt to fuck his wife, frankly, the ease with which the act braided together two souls. He’d forgotten how safe he felt with Lisa, how much his sense of himself rose and fell on the waves of her love and attention. And being wanted by Lisa—her near-constant reach across the sheets these days—had shifted the balance of power between them in ways that were new to Darren, who’d spent their entire courtship and marriage feeling like he was always chasing, convincing, winning over. Now it was Lisa who daily did what she could to please him, to be worthy.
She knew he almost hadn’t come back to her, knew a life alone at his homestead in Camilla was an option for him, knew some part of his soul could live the rest of his days and die on the land of his ancestors; he preferred a night on the back porch in Camilla, spotting bucks nosing in the surrounding woods, to any convenience the city of Houston could offer. He was a country boy still.
He had his wife back, his life.
But it had cost him.
Several sessions with a couples counselor in downtown Houston—a heavyset white woman who wore way too much turquoise—had led to his decision to come off the road. At least, he thought it was his decision. It got hot in that room a lot, fairly musky with the work of excavating petty resentments only to bury them again—for good this time. And he admitted to zoning out once or twice. But they had ended their quartet of sessions—I think you guys are going to make it—with Darren agreeing to return to the Houston office of the Texas Rangers and work on the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas federal and state joint task force from his desk. Monday through Friday, he parked his Chevy in front of the office, took his lunch to his narrow cubicle, and spent hours and hours rooting through digital-surveillance data on the Aryan Brotherhood. Phone and bank records. Chat-room chatter. He was a desk jockey now, home most evenings by six, depending on traffic. That Lisa didn’t make him do all of this stone-cold sober made him love her a little harder. Enough, he hoped, to cover the anger he felt over her demand that he stay off the road. Not that being home was the worst.
There was beer there.
The thing with his mother nagged at him; sure it did.
But for a while he’d managed to convince himself that Bell’s motives were not so much vindictive as desperate. She was a woman on the cusp of sixty who lived alone in a rented trailer and whose only son was childless and spare in his affections, content to see his mother once a quarter, even less if he thought he could get away with it. Her boyfriend was both married and her boss, and he paid her less than minimum wage to clean toilets five days a week. She hadn’t had a man to herself since she was in high school, and she bitterly resented the entire Mathews family for robbing her of the life she thought marrying Darren’s father would have given her; she nursed her acrimony like a foundling pressed to her breast. The debt had now been laid at Darren’s feet. He’d spent the past two months calling his mother daily, stopping by her place nearly every weekend. He cleared tufts of chickweed and bluegrass from around her trailer, swept the stairs, and cleaned the gutters without being asked, always leaving her a few hundred dollars and a case of beer on his way out.
It was a dance they were doing, this country waltz, each pretending that Darren was a son who had been waiting for just the right opportunity to take care of his aging mother, that he wasn’t here now solely because she was blackmailing him. Although she never used such a crass word, and neither did he. In fact, the one time he asked her directly about the gun, she’d taken it as his way of asking to spend more time with her, going so far as to invite herself to dinner at his home in Houston, which Darren recognized for the punishment it was. Starting with her ridiculous request for clams casino and Black Forest cake, the recipes for which she actually clipped from an ancient copy of the Ladies’ Home Journal she’d had since she was in high school and mailed to Lisa.
She was drunk when she showed up to their loft in downtown Houston, asking even before her coat was off where the rest of the house was. Lisa hung Bell’s balding rabbit fur in the hallway closet and made a point of squeezing Darren’s hand in solidarity before escorting Bell to the dining-room table. Their windows looked out on Buffalo Bayou, but Bell wasn’t impressed with that either. “We got dirty water in the country too,” she said as Darren pulled out her chair. Lisa wasted no time setting their first course on the table, a chilled onion soup they ate by candlelight. Darren didn’t touch a drop of alcohol all night, watching as Lisa and Bell raced each other to the bottom of a bottle of drugstore chardonnay, his mother’s sole offering.
These past two months, his wife had asked very few questions.
She’d accepted his newfound interest in a relationship with his mother as a developmental fact of life, an inevitability she’d seen coming long before he had. She saw nothing nefarious in his announcing, out of nowhere, that he wanted to spend more time with her, look after her more if he could. Twice, she’d actually called it sweet. Tonight, her hair up in a thin ponytail, gold drop earrings swinging every time she laughed or nodded, she reveled in hearing Bell tell stories of Darren as a boy—how she put powdered red pepper on his hands while he slept to stop him from sucking his thumb (Teeth woulda been bucked from here to Dallas if it weren’t for me); how she tied a string from her front door to Darren’s first loose tooth to yank the little sucker clean. He didn’t know why her stories were all teeth-related. But what did it matter? His mother hadn’t raised him and didn’t have the love or trust of the men who had, his uncles William and Clayton. It was, all of it, a fiction invented between the soup and the main course. Except one story she told about standing behind the chain-link fence outside the playground of his elementary school watching her son play red light, green light and how she’d cried later when Clayton got wind of it and told the principal to bar her from the grounds. “Is that true?” Darren asked. When his mother mumbled, “Yes,” he felt a warmth spread in his throat. His tongue grew useless, and he couldn’t think of a single thing to say. By dessert, Lisa was quite tipsy. Skin damp and eyes bright and glassy, she looked at him and asked, “Darren, why am I just now getting to know your mother?”
Bell let out a tiny, bark-like laugh. “What a good question, Darren. Why is your wife just now getting to know me?” she said, using a tone that Lisa was too drunk to realize was openly mocking the way her words came out, individually wrapped, consonants and vowels sharply defined, every sound neatly in its place, unlike the slushy speech that poured out of Bell’s mouth. She gave her son a little smile as she waited for him to explain himself to his wife. And when she was met with nothing but raw silence, she reached for the wine bottle on the other side of the table and poured the last thimbleful before rolling her grenade onto the elegantly dressed table, saying, apropos of nothing, what a shame it was that the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department had never found the little .38 that killed Ronnie Malvo—the reason Mack still wasn’t cleared in that homicide—that the thing could be anywhere, but surely someone knew where it was. Why, it would only take a phone call to Mr. Frank Vaughn to solve the crime. She looked at Darren, making sure he understood she knew the name of the San Jacinto County district attorney, as she snapped her linen napkin across the lap of her Lee jeans. Darren gave her a shake of his head, a flaccid warning. He hadn’t told anyone that his mother had found the suspected murder weapon on the Mathews property in Camilla, that she had it in her possession—that she had him by the balls.
“What?” Lisa said, pressing her finger against chocolate crumbs on her plate and licking them off. She had a tiny stain on her silk blouse—a drop of cherry juice from the Black Forest cake. She was glowing still, and Darren felt protective of her and the peace that had settled over their marriage. His mother would destroy it if he let her. It wasn’t enough to threaten his career as a Texas Ranger; Bell Callis wanted his marriage hanging by a string too.
He hadn’t slept that night.
But he’d gotten up the next morning and done it all over again.
Morning, Mama, you need anything? Just thinking about you.
For weeks and weeks, he hadn’t stopped thinking about her—which was all she really wanted, he told himself. The threat could be contained. He suspected the .38 lay somewhere inside the four-hundred-and-seventy-five-square-foot trailer she called home, and of course it had occurred to him to storm in one day and simply snatch it from her. But his mother had the speed and temperament of a feral cat. Any sudden moves, and she would attack. She’d make him pay for robbing her of the new authority she held. He knew her too well. He told himself he had it all under control, a lie that put him to bed at night. Until it didn’t.
The Friday he finally broke began simply enough.
He had a get-together that night with some Ranger friends, and it was his turn to host. Roland Carroll had puked in their guest bathroom the last time, missing the toilet by a very messy three feet, and Lisa had said she’d just as soon not have his Ranger buddies over to their place anymore, so Darren had decided to move the party ninety miles up Highway 59 to his family’s homestead in Camilla. Looking back on it, he could see he had already been starting to formulate a plan of action regarding his mother. Even before he heard the car turning up the dirt road to the farmhouse that afternoon. He had been watering the last of the banana pepper plants along the side of the porch, thinking he could have them pickled in time for Christmas dinner, when Frank Vaughn, district attorney for San Jacinto County, pulled into the driveway, the tires of his Ford sedan turning over clumps of damp red dirt. Darren hadn’t laid eyes on the man since his grand jury testimony, when Rutherford “Mack” McMillan, longtime family friend, had escaped an indictment for the murder of Ronnie “Redrum” Malvo, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and a grade-A asshole. At the time, Vaughn suspected Darren knew the location of the murder weapon—that he was covering for Mack—and in the end the grand jury had declined to prosecute. The degree to which Frank Vaughn put that on Darren was hard to say. But Darren knew this was not likely a casual visit. As Vaughn stepped out of his car, his stiff hair and the diamond chip in his A&M class ring caught the midday sun. “Afternoon,” he said, squinting so that his face looked nearly masklike, dark slits for eyes. He was a few years older than Darren—maybe he’d even hit fifty—and was deep enough into a career that would have landed him in a big city a long time ago if he had had the talent or inclination. His district included several surrounding counties, all of them under his domain; the wheels of justice in this little part of East Texas turned on his say-so, and he liked it that way.
“I help you with something?” Darren said. He reached for the spigot along the side of the house. The lukewarm water slowed to a thin trickle as Vaughn arrived at the foot of the porch stairs.
“Thought I saw your truck in town.” The DA’s manner was grim but not at all unfriendly—neighborly, even, as if Vaughn had stopped by to warn him of a storm coming, of the need to batten down windows and prepare for hard rain. “Was hoping to catch you for a word.”
“Well, you found me,” Darren said, keeping his voice even, betraying none of the alarm he felt at the idea that the DA had been looking for him. Darren was all too aware that if authorities were to get wind of the .38 snub-nosed pistol that his mother had found on this very property last fall, he could be indicted on charges of obstruction or worse. He would not only lose his badge; he’d face prison time.
- "Timely and evocative."—NPR "Fresh Air"
- "Bewitching story and luscious language . . . . 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."—New York Times
- "Atmospheric . . . Ms. Locke, a canny storyteller, ties up enough strands to satisfy readers, while leaving enough loose ends to make us eager for Ranger Mathews's next adventure in the Lone Star State."—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
- "Locke's beautifully written crime fiction (which also includes "Pleasantville," "Black Water Rising," and "The Cutting Season") have a remarkable immediacy--you breathe with the characters and walk in their paths."—Seattle Times
- "Pulse-pounding."—Chicago Tribune
- "Locke skillfully packs Heaven, My Home with realistic and, at times, uncomfortable situations as she depicts complicated characters. In Darren, Locke has fearlessly shaped a character that constantly walks a tightrope of being a good man with a quest for justice and being an extremely flawed person. . . . [Locke] once again excels in her superior storytelling."—Oline Cogdill, Associated Press
- "With her usual aplomb, Locke tackles history and its all-too-real emotional fallout in this splendid follow-up."—Boston Globe
- "[Locke] has proved that there's demand for stories about black characters. . . . Her books, categorized as mystery or crime, are also unabashedly about black experiences, examining the legacy of black history in the context of modern politics and culture. The crime she really concerns herself with is an existential one: the legacy of America's original sin. The protagonists in her novels are mostly black men, and she writes with the authenticity of a lived experience."—Madhulika Sikka, Washington Post
- "Riveting."—Philadelphia Inquirer
- "Attica Locke has gained a reputation as a marquee literary chronicler of Texas and the South, particularly the parts and people that usually go unnoticed, and one of the hallmarks of her fiction is the insightful way she explores how black and white people can live almost entirely different experiences inside the same time and place. . . . [Heaven, My Home] is a thrilling mystery, yes, but it's also a powerful meditation on what it means to be human in these frightening times."—Texas Observer
- "In this scalp-prickling encore to her Edgar-winning Bluebird, Bluebird, Locke brings back intrepid Texas Ranger Darren Matthews . . . a gumbo of race and class prejudices captured in vivid detail."—O Magazine
- "Attica Locke's novel is masterful. It's a quick read, not in the sense that it is short, but that it goes - and goes fast. It's a page-turner in every way."—San Francisco Chronicle
- "HEAVEN, MY HOME may be complex, but it's worth every blistering word Locke puts on the page. . . . One of the most affecting mysteries of the year."—Los Angeles Times
- "Over two books, Mathews has proved a richly realized character."—Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle
- "Heaven, My Home is a propulsive and compelling novel [with] passages of gorgeous lyricism, with loving, elegiac evocations of Texas set alongside extended meditations on displacement, reconciliation and forgiveness, and on what 'home' means. Locke suggests that being black in America has meant a constant, disorienting search for terra firma, fighting to claim some piece of the 'fields and prairies that we once tilled until our backs broke and bled", and that this feeling has returned with terrible urgency, or perhaps that it never left.'"—Guardian [UK]
- "[Locke is] the most celebrated African-American writer of crime fiction. Although her books are about the black experience in the US, they are universal in scope."—Financial Times [UK]
- "This is a beautifully and instantly gripping crime novel. . . . Locke is one of the emerging stars of crime fiction."—Booklist, 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 and weaving them back together with the volatile racial politics and traumatic economic stresses of the present day...Locke's advancement here is so bracing that you can't wait to discover what happens next along her East Texas highway."—Kirkus, starred review
- "Locke makes the complex backstory accessible. This one's another Edgar contender."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- "Few suspense novelists display a better grip of political and racial divides than Attica Locke, and she spins a hell of a good story as well, introducing characters and locales you will want to visit again and again."—BookPage (starred review)
- "Locke's new novel is a mystery ripe for this age. . . . What makes Locke's mysteries so good is her ability to conjure up a mood with vivid prose. Her depiction of Texas is so evocative you can practically hear the beer cans cracking open and smell the swamp water."—Buzzfeed
- "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."—Shelf Awareness
- "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."—BookRiot
- "Locke is adept at making her crime fiction transcend and become a powerful tool of social commentary, writing about race relations in the Deep South today."—Philip Cu-Unjieng, Metro Style
- "Here, antebellum sympathies abound, and the current political landscape in which the novel is set makes this a heartfelt read on race relations in the south."—Sheena Kamal, CrimeReads
- On Sale
- Aug 25, 2020
- Page Count
- 304 pages
- Mulholland Books