Darren Matthews is a conflicted Texas Ranger and now he’s in hot water with the force for helping out a family friend facing murder charges. On suspension, Darren is not technically a Ranger, but he can’t resist going rogue with a new investigation. In the tiny East Texas town of Lark, a black man and a white woman have been murdered, days apart. Is there a connection between the two? Darren suspects it has something to do with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, but there are many other factors, including the complex relationships between the people of Lark. As a black Ranger, Darren must step between centuries-old racial tension and make sense of these crimes.
Darren, whose identity is tightly tied to Texas law, is also under pressure from his wife to leave the Rangers and return to law school. But that may be impossible. Land, birthrights and the pride of the Ranger uniform are powerful forces and she doesn’t get it.
The story takes place at several places in Lark, a dot along Highway 59, the main road in East Texas. Geneva Sweet owns the sole café that welcomes blacks and her regulars are like family. Wally Jefferson, a white businessman, is the big landowner in a brick mansion across the street. There’s an unexplained history between the two, shown in equal measures of tension and familiarity. Up the road sits Wally’s ice house, friendly to whites, but hostile to blacks.
Bluebird, Bluebird is much more than a murder mystery. It’s a story of race, family, secrets and East Texas, a land that has close ties to the South and Louisiana culture. Outsiders have a hard time understanding, or gaining trust from the local folks, where even secrets between enemies are closely held. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first in the Highway 59 Mystery Series. It finishes with a bombshell, setting the reader up for lots to think about until the next book comes out in September 2019.
I recommend Bluebird, Bluebird to readers who enjoy mysteries in which complex characters with mixed loyalties must face difficult choices.
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