Cover image for
Locke, Attica,

Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
420 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A novel"--Jacket.
"Locke reintroduces us to environmental lawyer Jay Porter (her Black Water Rising protagonist), who takes one last case on the behalf of the community of Pleasantville in this new thriller--only to become embroiled in its shadowy politics, a disturbing education in how far those in power are willing to go to win"-- Provided by publisher.
Pub Date:
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]


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Wall Street Journal BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR


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.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* This sequel to Black Water Rising (2009), set 15 years later, finds lawyer Jay Porter grieving the death of his wife and struggling to care for his 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. His environmental-law practice has dwindled to one case, which he hopes to settle out of court, and he is awaiting payment on a huge case he won against Cole Oil, which is dragging out the appeals process. Jay is tired and distracted and just trying to get by. Then the nephew of a black mayoral candidate is arrested for the murder of a campaign volunteer, and Jay is pulled right back into the thick of the action when he impulsively agrees to be the defense attorney. The storied black family now embroiled in controversy have long been respected members of the middle-class black community. But once Jay digs into the case, he discovers a wealth of startling information about the corruption of campaigns, the waning influence of longtime activists, and the behind-the-scenes manipulation of monied Ivy Leaguers. Locke, a sharp and gifted writer, delivers a complex, suspenseful legal thriller that offers a sophisticated appraisal of our deeply flawed political process, one that is likely to resound with readers.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Jay Porter is winding down his law career-it's time, he thinks; his wife has died, progress on one of his last big cases seems to have slowed to a crawl via court appeals, and he's lost the fire to ever set foot in a courtroom again. But when the scion of one of -Pleasantville's founding families is charged with murder after a teenage campaign worker disappears on election night, Jay can't quite help himself. With only the slightest push from Pleasantville's elite, he is suddenly defending a criminal case that intersects election law, too. Jay's Hail Mary in the case unearths more than he, or any of Pleasantville's residents, had bargained for. Locke's third book and the second featuring the deeply sympathetic Jay Porter (Black River Rising) is an enthralling multilayered thriller that captures the zeitgeist of a shifting sociopolitical landscape in a historically black suburban community in Texas in the mid-1990s. Locke makes every scene count with a complex plot that unfolds surprises at every turn and packs a satisfying conclusion. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of fast-paced mysteries with strong geographic angles and appealing underdogs. [See Prepub Alert, 10/13/14.]-Amy Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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