U.S. Route 59 (US 59) is a north–south United States highway (though it was signed east–west in parts of Texas). A latecomer to the U.S. numbered route system, US 59 is now a border-to-border route, part of NAFTA Corridor Highway System. It parallels U.S. Route 75 for nearly its entire route, never much more than 100 miles (160 km) away, until it veers southwest in Houston, Texas. Its number is out of place since US 59 is either concurrent with or entirely west of U.S. Route 71.
Although the highway stretches from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada, Locke is concerned with the portions within her native Texas.
I loved Blue Bird, Blue Bird and Texas Ranger Darren Matthews, and I would suggest beginning with Blue Bird as the second book (Heaven, My Home) resumes shortly thereafter. It isn't necessary, but the background of Darren Matthews as a black Texas Ranger raised by his uncles adds a great deal to the character.
In Blue Bird, Darren hides a gun used by an old man to kill Ronnie Malvo, breaking the law and contravening the values his uncles have tried to instill in him. Ronnie Malvo, member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, was a violent man and few people mourned his death. The reader can't help but think Darren was right in trying to protect the old man who killed Malvo, but it upsets his sense of duty and leaves him vulnerable to blackmail.
Darren's new case involves a missing boy in an isolated community on Caddo Lake (25,400 acre lake and wetland on the border of Texas and Louisiana). Again, there is an association with the Aryan Brotherhood and a bunch of white supremacists. The uncomfortable fact of racial tension, distrust and betrayal is not limited to the white supremacists, it is also endemic to the culture of the area in a traditional way that is almost subconscious.
Darren's character has been altered by his own actions in the previous book, and I found it harder to empathize with him in this book, but he is human and despite his failures, he still strives to understand himself and his relations with others.
A complex plot with complex characters, Heaven, My Home addresses a number of issues society is dealing with currently; none of these issues are new, but they have certainly become more "acceptable" in the last few years. Darren, too, is having to consistently evaluate his feelings at overt and covert racism directed at him , including the unacknowledged, often unintended, racism of his boss. Recommended.
Read in July. Blog review scheduled for Aug. 26, 2019.
Mystery/Thriller. Sept. 12, 2019. Print length: 304 pages.