Bluebird, Bluebird

Narrated by: JD Jackson
Series: Highway 59, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2,176 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy-winning Fox TV show Empire.

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules - a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the Lone Star State, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders - a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman - have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes - and save himself in the process - before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

©2017 Attica Locke (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Attica Locke knows Texas, a place that has shaped both her characters and her life. Locke's new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, is evidence of her deep knowledge and love of her community and a deep talent for writing hype thrillers that also manage to be timely, relevant, and keenly insightful." (Joe Ide, author of IQ and Righteous)
"With Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke brings freshness and vitality to a beloved form. Her storytelling touch is just so strong! From the first beautifully done scene until the finale, this is a very propulsive novel concerning old deeds that keep influencing the present, injustice, and courage - a powerful and dramatic look at contemporary black life in rural America." (Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid's Version)

Featured Article: 20 Best Thriller Audiobooks to Get Your Heart Racing


Few stories lend themselves to audio better than thrillers. Listening gives you time to play detective and figure out the mysteries with the characters. There’s no way to quickly flip through the tense, nerve-wracking parts—and that’s what makes hearing them so much more exciting. Whether you enjoy classic detective thrillers, or something more sinister, there are endless stories to choose from. Here are the 20 best thriller audiobooks to get you started.

Editorial Review

I’m so excited to finally dig into Bluebird, Bluebird while I’m en route this holiday. A rural noir that delves into race relations in East Texas, it took home the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Novel and will soon be a TV series on FX. But author Attica Locke also made more recent waves in the crime-writing community: When the Mystery Writers of America awarded a Grand Master title to an author who had played a key role in prosecuting the wrongfully accused Central Park Five, Locke tweeted her objection, and the MWA withdrew the award. Locke also has three other best sellers in her catalog. So my next question is, which one to try next? —Kat J., Audible Editor
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An original protagonist

I love crime fiction but the usual trope of world weary detective can get a bit boring. Lockes main character, a black Texas Ranger dealing with personal demons as well as mysteries complicated by race and socioeconomics, is different enough to keep my interest. Lockes characters, which including various types of Texans and out of state visitors are well written and interesting. A good crime mystery and worth your credit.

30 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but very irritating

Why is he constantly grabbing women without consent. He grabbed 3 different women on several occasions. Im just trying to understand what the point of those moments were. I'm a black man from Texas and don't just grab women. I actually left the book feeling irritated

258 people found this helpful

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Perfectly Unraveled Gem!

I was not sure I could make it through a story representing the sum of my fears as a Black woman. I placed my trust in the author and was not disappointed at all, well done Ms. Locke! Secrets, abuses of power, racism, duty, misplaced loyalty, and love all unfolded beautifully albeit painfully at times. The complexity of these characters, their relationships, secrets, and fears were gripping from the very beginning. I really appreciated Darren's struggles, failures, and triumphs. Although, I'm still crushing on Jay Porter, I pledge to read all the future installments of Darren's journey. The narrator did a great job conveying the myriad emotions Darren waded through from chapter to chapter! I am looking forward to the next book.

88 people found this helpful

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Very good book

Although this is murder mystery and has you guessing who was behind the murders, the author gives us a taste of racism that many of us have not experienced. Many things to think about !!!

35 people found this helpful

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Good sense of place, good sense of history

It's my second Attica Locke audiobook (the other was The Cutting Season), and I really like the way she creates her characters and space. That one was in the South, this one is set in East Texas. The main character is a Texas Ranger, and there's two bodies pulled out of the bayou in a small town, but this is as much about society and race relations as it is about a mystery.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

OK, but noting more.

This is one of those books to listen to when you are driving and want time to pass by without having to concentrate much on the story. It's not bad, but it's not that outstanding, either. Also - spoiler alert - the ending is such that this is part of a continuing story, so it means the ending really isn't an ending.

81 people found this helpful

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Noir, Texas-style

After listening to Attica Locke's previous novel Pleasantville, I eagerly used a credit to purchase Bluebird, Bluebird. Bluebird, Bluebird does not disappoint! The historical context was definitely a plus, and I love that the protagonist is not only a Texas Ranger, but comes from a landed, well-established Black family. The characters' flaws give the book so much more flavor. I'm looking forward to listening to & reading the sequel.


AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

37 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I really didn't like this book

Some, not all, of the research was accurate on Texas law; but overall, the main character was so flawed he seemed to contradict himself at every turn. Next to no resolution of character issues, and the resolution received was dissatisfying. I was quite disappointed after all the positive reviews. I had higher expectations for it. And I agree with the Texas gentleman complaining about the main character frequently grabbing women, which was unrealistic and distracting. That is not likely from a Texas gentleman and it would not be something done by a Texas Ranger either.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Funny, articulate, suspenseful.

This is the first audio book I've listened to over 10 years. They've come a long way since books on tape. It took some getting used to, and I had to replay frequently, but honestly I do the same with print. What stands out most about this story is the humor. Each character brought a unique sense of self and wit. I laughed aloud at lest twice per chapter. The writer is very gifted, and did a fine job unraveling the story chapter by chapter. Tge pace was a bit slow at times, and I found it hard to keep up with thr number of characters being introduced at times. In fact, a dew characters are e extraneous in my opinion, and do nothong to move the plot along.

The narrator was very creative as well in the way he delivered the story. His shift in voices was timely and not distracting. His tone was pleasant on the ears. Overall this is a peice of literature I will enjoy reading a few more times.

19 people found this helpful

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Deep Dark East Texas

I chose this book because right now I'm reading outside my usual genre to mix things up a little. I've listened to loads of really long but let you down--or really just plain awful books recently. Particularly disheartening of the bunch were The Immortalists and worst of all The Great Alone. So much build up and book hype preceded these titles and so much let down followed that I really wonder if I'm not becoming book shy. At least I borrowed the recorded versions of these books from the library (phew) so no awkward audible return chats required here--thank goodness.

Locke captures her characters vividly using snippets and partial side angled views but we learn so much about these believable and real people through the writing. At times I felt that I had arrived at the movie ten minutes late and missed key information really needed for the story. Several times I stopped and checked to be sure that I wasn't reading book 2 of a series--having missed book one. While sometimes I felt at a loss--at the same time I came away with a palpable vision of East Texas, its people and crime in America.

This book was really scary, calloused in its presentation of violence and terrifying in the way it captured racial prejudice in a small community. The writing had me captivated and researching aspects of the story and finding them all too real. Be aware that there is very little happiness to be found in Bluebird, Bluebird. Love yes, friendship yes, loyalty yes--but happiness--not so much. Only for the strong reader who likes stories about troubled Texas Rangers trying to make all things right in the end.

29 people found this helpful