Attica Locke's first novel is an auspicious debut. They don't get much better than this.
I know I am a slightly tardy to the party, but then again what is the timeline (other than the contrived and artificial window that commerce allots) for new books and music and such?
Here’s a novel that fires on all cylinders: good plot, complex protagonist, brisk and nimble prose, and thoughtful insights well-expressed, with some Civil Rights historical detail thrown in for good measure. Set in Houston in 1981, when that city was still riding an oil boom (which is, inescapably, a big factor in the story and from which the title comes), Jay Porter, black ex-radical and movement leader turned lawyer, is struggling to keep himself and his pregnant wife afloat. On the night he celebrates his wife’s birthday with a bayou cruise, he saves a woman from drowningan act which involves him in a murder investigation that threatens to, at the very least, ruin him.
Porter runs a gauntlet of interesting fellow characters: from Cynthia Maddox, his white ex-girlfriend who is now Mayor of Houston, to an Indian private investigator named Rolo; all provide color and seasoning to a hearty literary recipe. This is most definitely an auspicious beginning for Ms. Locke and leaves me looking forward to her next work (and the movie version of this one).