Few contemporary writers have portrayed black Southern life with as much wit and heart-pounding drama as Attica Locke, whose latest book is the mystery “Bluebird, Bluebird.”
Formerly a writer and producer on the television show “Empire,” Locke took the publishing world by storm with her debut legal thriller, “Black Water Rising.” Centered on a black lawyer from Locke’s hometown of Houston, the book won several awards and spawned the bestselling follow-up, “Pleasantville.” She forayed into historical fiction with “The Cutting Season,” a literary mystery that weaves together a murder at a Louisiana historical landmark with the murder of a slave that took place a century earlier. Each of her books combines fast-paced plotting with complex observations about race, class and gender that engage some of the ugliest parts of America’s past — and present.
In “Bluebird, Bluebird” Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, is dispatched to a small East Texas town along Highway 59 to investigate the murders of a local white woman and a black lawyer from Chicago. What follows is a dazzling work of rural noir that throws into question whether justice can be equally served on both sides of the race line. Locke and I spoke via Skype about her latest book, her hometown’s influence on her work, and her thoughts on writing a novel that speaks so profoundly to our current moment.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).