The Rooster is CROWNED!

The 2021 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes, has concluded. Catch up on all the action!

New Finds

Texas Noir

Attica Locke's first novel is an auspicious debut. They don't get much better than this.

Book Cover There is already a Tabernacle-size choir singing the praises of Attica Locke’s first novel. Among others, the inestimable James Ellroy and my old pal (I mean that in a Facebook kind of way) George Pelecanos extol Black Water Rising (Harper Collins) as a stylish, involving literary thriller with a strong emphasis on human politics and character.

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 drowning—an 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).
blog comments powered by Disqus