Heaven, My Home: a Texas Ranger faces racism and a crumbling marriage while hunting a missing boy
Heaven, My Home #2 (Hwy 59), Attica Locke
Published 2019, 295 pages (audio)
As a second installment, this book rocks! There's no drop off in character development or plotting. It's an equally engaging crime peopled with an interesting mix of characters and, of course, Darren. I agree with others that it's definitely helpful to have read Bluebird, Bluebird first since it sets up much of what happens to Darren here. Locke provides some context but doesn't waste time retelling the first book.
I really like the main character of Darren. He's so flawed and normal seeming.....trying to help and do the right thing and it seems each thing he tries to do comes back to bite him. The case that wasn't resolved at the end of Bluebird, Bluebird, continues as a thread thru this book as well with a nice little twist at the end. The circumstances he finds himself in regarding the hidden gun from last time just keep escalating as one little lie to help keeps growing and expanding and he gets in deeper and deeper. A really good exploration about how lies can explode.
“That was the thing about second chances—it was impossible to know what was real or what wasn’t; every act of forgiveness was a leap of faith.”
The main case in this book is a missing child, the son of an Aryan Brotherhood leader, which is a stronger theme (and larger role) than in the first installment. He has a disagreement with his best friend that may have long term detrimental consequences; he makes up with his wife, but will it stick?; we learn a bit more about black history in rural Texas. There's lots going on beyond just the solving of a case.
"But a gulf had opened up between them. After twenty-some years of friendship, had race finally dumped a swamp of quicksand at their feet, making it impossible for either man to reach the other without the threat of losing himself in the process? Or were they just doing their jobs the best way they knew how?”
Locke is excellent at handling racism with all its faces and doling out tidbits about Darren and his character that keep me riveted. She also is very good at describing Texas so evocatively and even making it sound pretty (in my mind, it's never pretty!).
"Darren pictured the blond boy in the photo, tried to quantify in his mind the amount of grace owed a child, one who was merely copying the grown men around him. And that's all it was, wasn't it? He hated to think the country was growing racists like bumper crops, full of piss and venom, as bitter as the dirt from which they came. Surely Levi King deserved the benefit of the doubt. Didn't he? Did Darren really want to live in a world in which a nine-year-old wasn't worth his hope?"
I didn't mark this quote myself but saw it online. He's referring to the missing boy that's the focus of the current case. The story takes place early in Trump's administration and there are little comments here and there during the story that connect the fictional events to actual political events. Subtle, but it's there.
I listened to this on my commute and couldn't wait to get back in the car; there was a good narrator - he had the southern drawl accent down and was able to change it up enough that picking up on the different characters was easy. I enjoyed listening to this excellent story.
photo by Terrie Purkey; Everglades, FL; road via pexels; Ranger via wikipedia