Title: Heaven, My Home
Author: Attica Locke
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail/Profile Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2020
Nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; instead he found himself all alone, adrift on the vastness of Caddo Lake. A sudden noise – and all goes dark.
Ranger Darren Mathews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; 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 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. With Texas already suffering a new wave of racial violence in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, a black man is a suspect in the possible murder of a missing white boy: the son of an Aryan Brotherhood captain.
In deep country where the rule of law only goes so far, Darren has to battle centuries-old prejudices as he races to save not only Levi King, but himself.
I read the first book (Bluebird, Bluebird) in the Highway 59 series a couple of years back so wasn’t sure I’d remember everything important as I began the next instalment. However, as soon as I started reading Heaven, My Home the story of Darren Matthews came rushing back to me and I was once again engrossed in his complex and intense life as a Texas Ranger. Heaven, My Home could not come at a more relevant moment. It is a brilliant crime and mystery book with all the compelling twists and turns that come with that but it’s also much more. It is a searing portrayal of modern America. It is set in the aftermath of the 2016 election and the spectre of Trump is everywhere. Locke has managed to perfectly capture the anger, fear, rage, hopelessness and despair that many Americans must have felt and has shown just how the country has found itself in a very divisive and complicated place where prejudice is disturbingly alive and well.
Locke is fantastic at evoking the setting of her story. I have never been to America, let alone Texas, but she manages to bring it to life in an incredibly atmospheric and haunting way. Her descriptions of Lake Caddo in particular and it’s mysterious nature are beautifully done. Her writing makes you feel like you are right there experiencing this extreme and dangerous yet mystically beautiful place. The different parts of the state that Darren finds himself in are all vital to his character. He has such a strong emotional connection to Texas and that is felt completely by the reader at all times.
There is a sort of gothic feeling to Heaven, My Home which I loved and the story is continuously compelling. However it is the visceral, honest and potent atmosphere that Locke has created that will stay with you long after you finish reading. Considering what is going on in the world at the moment, this book is vitally important in trying to figure out how America can move forward and powerfully depicts the tension it is living with now. A timely, intense and well written book that I highly recommend you add to your TBR list.
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.