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Pleasantville
by Attica Locke


Overview -

WINNER OF THE HARPER LEE PRIZE FOR LEGAL FICTION

Wall Street Journal BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEY'S WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

From Attica Locke, a writer and producer of FOX's Empire , this sophisticated thriller sees lawyer Jay Porter--hero of her bestseller Black Water Rising--return to fight one last case, only to become embroiled in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.  Read more...


 
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More About Pleasantville by Attica Locke
 
 
 
Overview

WINNER OF THE HARPER LEE PRIZE FOR LEGAL FICTION

Wall Street Journal BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEY'S WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

From Attica Locke, a writer and producer of FOX's Empire, this sophisticated thriller sees lawyer Jay Porter--hero of her bestseller Black Water Rising--return to fight one last case, only to become embroiled in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.

Fifteen years after his career-defining case against Cole Oil, Jay Porter is broke and tired. That victory might have won the environmental lawyer fame, but thanks to a string of appeals, he hasn't seen a dime. His latest case--representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire--is dragging on, shaking his confidence and raising doubts about him within this upwardly mobile black community on Houston's north side. Though Jay still believes in doing what's right, he is done fighting other people's battles. Once he has his piece of the settlement, the single father is going to devote himself to what matters most--his children.

His plans are abruptly derailed when a female campaign volunteer vanishes on the night of Houston's mayoral election, throwing an already contentious campaign into chaos. The accused is none other than the nephew and campaign manager of one of the leading candidates--a scion of a prominent Houston family headed by the formidable Sam Hathorne. Despite all the signs suggesting that his client is guilty--and his own misgivings--Jay can't refuse when a man as wealthy and connected as Sam asks him to head up the defense. Not if he wants that new life with his kids. But he has to win.

Plunging into a shadowy world of ambitious enemies and treacherous allies armed with money, lies, and secrets, Jay reluctantly takes on his first murder trial--a case that will put him and his client, and an entire political process, on trial.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062259400
  • ISBN-10: 0062259407
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: April 2015
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

Series: Jay Porter #1

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense
Books > Fiction > Legal
Books > Fiction > African American - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-02-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

Locke’s gripping thriller opens on election night 1996, when a teenage girl disappears from Pleasantville, a predominantly black Houston suburb. Her body is found, raising eerie comparisons to two other unsolved murders, and attorney Jay Porter, introduced in 2009’s Black Water Rising, reluctantly agrees to represent murder suspect Neal Hathorne. Neal, the grandson of Pleasantville power broker Sam Hathorne, is campaign manager for his uncle, who’s facing a run-off mayoral election against the district attorney whose office is prosecuting Neal—raising the possibility that the murder charge, based on flimsy evidence, is a political stunt. Jay, a former civil rights activist struggling to keep his law practice afloat, navigates a convoluted maze of dark money, family secrets, and high-powered manipulation that threatens his and his loved ones’ safety. Locke rushes her treatment of the murders and a subplot about the pregnancy of Jay’s teenage daughter’s best friend, but the twist-filled plot will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Apr.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Whodunit: Murder, politics and other unnatural disasters

It has been six years since I picked up Attica Locke’s debut, Black Water Rising, in which activist-turned-attorney Jay Porter rescued a drowning woman and set off a sequence of events that reverberated through the halls of Houston’s power elite. In Locke’s latest thriller, Pleasantville, Porter is recently widowed and struggling to keep his life on track as he looks into the case of a missing political volunteer. As an environmental law practitioner, Porter is best known for having won a huge settlement against an oil company (for which he has yet to be paid), so an abduction/murder case is a bit outside his area of expertise. The crime scene complicates matters, as Pleasantville is an upwardly mobile black suburb pivotal to the Houston mayoral election. The outcome of the trial and the election are intertwined in ways that Porter cannot begin to imagine. Fans of Louise Penny or Sara Paretsky should buy all of Locke’s books and start reading. She’s that good.

TERRORISM IN FRANCE
Murders don’t happen often in quiet Saint-Denis, France, the home of Bruno, Chief of Police. But within moments of the opening of Martin Walker’s new mystery, The Children Return, Bruno is slapped upside the head with one of the most difficult cases of his career. An undercover agent is brutally assaulted with a hot cattle prod and left mutilated almost beyond recognition. When Bruno is called to the scene, his experiences as a policeman have in no way prepared him for this degree of barbarity. It comes to light that the victim was involved in the investigation of jihadists, which provides the perfect segue into the next event to rock St. Denis: the reappearance of Sami, an autistic young man suspected to have been recruited by Islamic terrorists. Sami is a veritable wealth of information on the inner workings of al-Qaeda, so the good guys want to debrief him immediately, and the bad guys want to silence him sooner than that. Thus, at the drop of a beret, Saint-Denis takes reluctant center stage in the war on terrorism. Nicely crafted with sensitivity and humo(u)r, The Children Return is tailor-made for fans of Peter Mayle, Colin Cotterill and Alexander McCall Smith.

SOUTHWESTERN LEGACY
I had some initial trepidation about reviewing Anne Hillerman’s debut novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, which continued her father Tony Hillerman’s series featuring Navajo tribal cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. But Hillerman fille put my fears to rest with her Tony-like, unembellished writing style and the fleshing out of some of the female characters. The second installment in the series, Rock with Wings, finds Leaphorn sitting on the sidelines, thanks to a bullet wound that by rights should have dispatched him to his final reward. Confining Leaphorn to the bench certainly doesn’t shut him up, and he serves as a sounding board and mentor for Chee and Chee’s wife, policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, as they struggle through a pair of perplexing cases, one involving the murder of a film company employee on the set of a B-grade zombie flick, and another featuring a very suspicious character furtively moving boxes of desert soil around the Southwest in the back of a rented Chevy Malibu. For chapters at a time, I totally forgot I was not reading Tony Hillerman’s writing, a strong compliment both to Anne and her much-missed dad.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
Yeah, yeah, I know. One more Walter Mosley book, one more Top Pick, a recurring theme. But here’s the thing: Mosley’s series featuring NYC private eye Leonid McGill has done what nobody expected, garnering critical acclaim and loyal readership to rival the author’s legendary Easy Rawlins books. The latest, And Sometimes I Wonder About You, finds the diminutive PI hot on the trail of a purported rare manuscript thief—although in this case, “purported” refers to the rare manuscript, not the thief, because the stolen papers are anything but an important antiquity. Instead, they are something of a modern-day salacious headline generator that one or more people are willing to kill for. The McGill mysteries always have lots going on, and this one is no exception: Our protagonist is dallying with no fewer than three beautiful women, one of whom is his suicidal wife; his long-thought-dead father shows up for a familial encore; and his son Twilliam finds himself caught up in the machinations of a shadowy underworld figure who manipulates a city-wide team of underage lawbreakers. The Easy Rawlins and McGill series are wildly different from one another, but I would be hard-pressed to choose which I prefer.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews