#BestsellerCode100: Writer’s Review of In the Woods by Tana French

Let’s take a look at the next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 list, In The Woods by Tana French, from a writer’s perspective.

This post contains spoilers.

In The Woods* by Tana French

 


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  Twenty years before, three young children disappeared into the woods that surrounded their Dublin neighborhood. Only one survived, and he can’t say what happened. Now he’s a police detective faced with investigating the murder of a young girl in the same woods.

This award-winning novel is the first in a series of six featuring the Dublin Murder Squad.

 Characters

Author Tana French’s characters are well-drawn and complex. The first person narrator is Detective Rob Ryan (the one who survived the earlier event).  He reveals on the second page of Chapter 1 that he might be an unreliable narrator when he says,  “And I lie.”

His partner is Detective Cassie Maddox, a young woman who also might have some personal demons.

The two detectives have been partners for a couple of years before the story starts. Their bantering, close relationship is the best part of the book.

“Behave yourself,” I said, pulling her hood over her face.
“Help! I’m being oppressed!” she yelled through it. “Call the Equality Commission.” The stroller girl gave us a sour look.
“You’re overexcited,” I told Cassie. “Calm down or I’ll take you home with no ice cream.”

 

Setting

The main setting is a patch of woods near a small neighborhood in Dublin. Rather that being just a simple backdrop, the mood of the woods changes with situations throughout the story:

  • from a joyful playground,
  • to a terrifying trap,
  • to a sad final resting place,
  • to a contentious construction site.

 

The wood is all flicker and murmur and illusion. Its silence is a pointillist conspiracy of a million tiny noises — rustles, flurries, nameless truncated shrieks; its emptiness teams with secret life, scurrying just beyond the corner of your eye.

The Plot

I recently attended a workshop where the presenter suggested deconstructing eight key components of plot in a novel as a way to learn the craft. Let’s see how it goes.

1. The hook – The purpose of the hook is to grab and hold the reader’s interest. Because most readers decide whether or not to continue on with a book after reading the first few paragraphs to first few pages, it is important to make the beginning sentences really count.

I already discussed the beginning of the book in an earlier post, but to summarize, in the prologue the author does a good job of making the reader wonder what’s going on with the kids and want to read more to find out.

2. The set up – This is where the author introduces the characters, reveals details of their world, and presents the problem that is central to the story.

The character and setting introductions work well. Readers are drawn to Rob and Cassie. They have a cool relationship.

The story problem is multi-layered, which adds complexity. The main problem is to figure out who killed twelve-year-old Katy.  Underlying that problem is what happened to the three young children twenty years prior and is it related to Katy’s death?

3. The obstacles – For a successful story, the characters need to overcome hurtles and learn from their mistakes. Sometimes the obstacle is simply moving down the wrong path or following a red herring. There are several red herrings in this story, including mysterious strangers.

The biggest obstacle which hinders the investigation is Rob’s past experiences.  His emotions roil as memories surface.  For example, he messes up in court when he is supposed to give evidence for another case.

4. The side story – This is a subplot that is not directly involved in solving the problem, but that adds a sense of realism and depth.

The side story is easy to spot in this novel. There is also a side character, another detective named Sam O’Neill. His part of the investigation is to figure out whether Katy’s death was politically motivated due to conflict over a proposed road construction project. Personally, I found the side story to be rather flat, although perhaps that’s what the author intended.

5. This Changes Everything! – Toward the middle of most novels there’s a time when the rug is pulled out from under the hero. Something occurs or is discovered that defies the reader’s expectations and wakes him or her up.

This component wasn’t as clear (or handled in such a straightforward way). Right about the middle (roughly page 210 in this 429 page book), Rob remembers witnessing a rape in the woods as a child. It doesn’t change things drastically, but he and Cassie pursue it.

The biggest shake up comes near the end/climax when Rob’s boss finds out Rob was involved in the earlier case. That really does change everything.

6. The escalation – The section that is push to the climax of the story. Often the pacing becomes more intense, and the ratio of dialogue to narration shifts to more dialogue.

The pace does pick up as the detectives hone in on the killer.

7. The climax– When everything comes together and the reader finds out who did it.

This is where In the Woods really departs from the norm. Instead of a satisfying resolution, suddenly Rob’s life is turned on its head. His boss finds out about his past, he sleeps with Cassie and then withdraws from her which destroys their partnership, and the person who instigates the murder turns the tables on them and gets way with everything. Instead of everything coming together, everything falls apart.

8. A satisfying ending – Again, the novel doesn’t follow the mystery novel blueprint. It almost seemed like two endings.

In the “first ending”, we do learn who kills Katy, which is the solution to the primary problem. The fact that the instigator escapes is not satisfying, but it works.

On the other hand, almost nothing is revealed about the earlier disappearances. If anything, things are murkier. In this tacked on “second ending” Rob wanders around, his life in shambles.

If this novel was a stand alone, the first ending would have been sufficient. As part of a series, however, the less satisfying “second ending” makes sense. The author is probably setting things up for the next novel. It is possible that solution to the older mystery isn’t revealed until much later in the series, if at all.

___________________

What did you think of the plot deconstruction? Did it enlighten, or was hard to follow?

I learned a few things about my expectations as a reader and how I would approach things as a writer.

Discussion

For the most part, I enjoyed this novel, but I did have one issue with the story line (besides the unsatisfactory ending). In contrast to Rob who is up front that he lies, Cassie does not lie unless forced to do so by her job. This character trait made it less believable that she would go along with Rob when he hides his involvement in the earlier crime from his boss. Even with her close relationship with Rob, it didn’t ring true that she would allow him to blatantly jeopardize both the case and their careers. Of course, as the main character Rob needed to be involved in the mystery for it to work, but it would have been more realistic — and have added another layer of conflict — if Cassie had revealed Rob’s past connection to her boss right away and Rob had had to fight to be included at every step of the investigation.

According to Book Riot, reading In the Woods isn’t the best way to start the series. largely because of the problems I mentioned with the ending. Jessica Woodbury suggests starting with the fourth book in the series, Broken Harbor, because of how the characters reoccur. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Join us on social media:

__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 59.  The Next Always by Nora Roberts (2011) – Discussion begins May 28, 2018
Romance

#BookBeginnings After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Today I’m starting After Anna by Lisa Scottoline for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-Lisa Scottoline

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Genre:  Domestic thriller

Summary:  After Maggie Ippolitti marries Dr. Noah Alderman and becomes mother to his young son Caleb, she is surprised when she gets a call from her long-lost teenage daughter, Anna. She and her husband are happy to welcome Anna into their family, but things do not go smoothly. Before long someone murders Anna and the police accuse Noah. Maggie must put aside her grief and search for the truth about what really happened.

First Sentence:

Dr. Noah Alderman watched the jurors as they filed into the courtroom with their verdict, which would either set him free or convict him of first-degree murder. None of them met his eye, which was a bad sign.

Discussion:

The chapters skip back and forth in time. This one is labelled “Noah, After.” The next is “Maggie, Before.”

I hope this is a fast read. I signed up to attend a conference in the fall and, because I want to to read a novel written by each of speakers, my TBR pile just became a TBR skyscraper.

Have you read anything by Lisa Scottoline? What do you think?

#BestsellerCode100: Number 60. In the Woods by Tana French

Time to start the discussion of our next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 list, In The Woods by Tana French

This post does not contain spoilers.

In The Woods* by Tana French

 


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary: Twenty years before, three young children disappeared into the woods that surround their Dublin neighborhood. Only one survived, and he can’t say what happened. Now he’s a police detective faced with investigating the murder of a young girl in the same woods.

This award-winning novel is the first in a series of six featuring the Dublin Murder Squad.

Have you read In The Woods by Tana French? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Related posts:

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

You can also join us on social media:

Do you have suggestions for ways to improve this reading challenge? We’d love to hear them.

Have you written about In The Woods by Tana French? Feel free to add a link to your review in the comments.
__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 59.  The Next Always by Nora Roberts (2011) – Discussion begins May 28, 2018
Romance

#BookBeginnings In The Woods By Tana French

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, In The Woods by Tana French for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

In The Woods* by Tana French

Reprint cover:

My paperback copy has this cover:


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Which cover do you like better?

Summary:  Twenty years before, three young children disappear into the woods that surround their Dublin neighborhood. Only one survives, and he can’t say what happened. Now he’s a police detective faced with investigating the murder of a young girl in the same woods.

This award-winning novel is the first in a series of six featuring the Dublin Murder Squad.

First sentence of Prologue:

Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s. This is none of Ireland’s subtle seasons mixed for a connoisseur’s palate, watercolor nuances within a pinch-sized range of cloud and soft rain; this is summer full-throated and extravagant in hot pure silkscreen blue.

First sentence of Chapter 1:

What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass.

I am so looking forward to reading this book. The first person narrator in Chapter 1 is intense. I’m also intrigued that it is set in Ireland.

Have you read In the Woods? Any of the others in the series by Tana French? What do you think?

#BestsellerCode100: Reader’s Review of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks is next up on our 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge.  Gabby moves to small town Beaufort, North Carolina, to be nearer her long-time boyfriend and hopefully soon-to-be fiancé.  She just happens to buy the house next door to a good-looking, adventurous, and fun-loving confirmed bachelor, Travis.  A series of mishaps and misunderstandings (typical romance novel set-ups) brings these two together and sparks fly (or we’re expected to believe sparks fly).  Can you tell I wasn’t buying it?

This post contains spoilers.

The Choice* by Nicholas Sparks

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

A Tale of Two Romances

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens wasn’t referring to our last two romance novels, but that’s how I felt after reading Me Before You and The Choice back to back.  Me Before You gave the reader the best that romance novels can offer and The Choice gave the worst.  Me Before You created memorable and believable characters; The Choice offered two clichéd main characters and a supporting cast that we barely got to know.  The plot of Me Before You presented each of the main characters with life choices to make and allowed them come to realistic decisions; The Choice had a Hollywood-scripted plot and the pro forma happy (unrealistic) ending.  Me Before You gave me renewed hope that romance novels were worth reading; The Choice only reinforced my previous belief that romance novels aren’t worth my time.

The Choice

This novel is split into two parts.  Part One presents Gabby’s dilemma: will she listen to her head and stay with her long-time boyfriend whom she expects to marry or will she listen to her heart and build a life with her neighbor Travis, who has turned her life upside down in a whirlwind romantic weekend.  But as Roberta writes in her Writer’s Review, due to the prologue, we already know which choice she makes, so there’s no suspense and no emotional investment by the reader.

Part Two presents the Real Choice of the novel: will Travis follow his head regarding Gabby’s specific instructions concerning her present medical situation (a long-term coma) or will he follow his heart.  I found Part Two to be even more clichéd and unbelievable than Part One, if that is possible.  Where Gabby was too much in her own head in Part One, dithering back and forth between her choices, in Part Two it is Travis’s turn to bore the reader as we are forced to listen to his feelings of guilt over the accident that caused Gabby’s coma and his anguish about the resultant choice he must make.  Truthfully, by then, I ceased to care.  I won’t even go into just how unbelievable Gabby’s remarkable recovery was from her long-term coma – it was the expected happily-ever-after ending, but totally unrealistic.

The Right Choice

 If you want a feel-good, tear-jerker, realistic romance novel to read this summer and you have two choices on the shelf, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes or The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, do yourself a favor and spend your money on Me Before You.  You won’t be disappointed.

Have you read The Choice by Nicholas Sparks? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Related posts:

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

You can also join us on social media:

__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 60.  In the Woods by Tana French (2007) – Discussion begins May 14, 2018
Mystery

Writing Life With Donis Casey, Vicki Delany @vickidelany and Ann Parker @TheSilverQueen

Over the weekend I attended a fabulous writing panel discussion with prolific mystery authors Donis Casey, Vicki Delany, and Ann Parker. All three women have books published by Poisoned Pen Press, which is a local Arizona publisher that specializes in mysteries. Donis Casey and Vicki Delany post at the collective mystery author’s blog, Type M for Murder.

The women talked about many different aspects of writing mystery novels. It was interesting that both Donis and Ann, who write historical mysteries, say they write in spurts (often motivated by a deadline.) Donis writes in the afternoon and Ann at night after work. In contrast, Vicki said she writes every day when she’s at home, starting at 9:00 a.m. She doesn’t write, however, when she travels. They all admit that their schedules have changed during different stages of their lives.

All three suggested new writers make an effort to attend writing classes, conferences, and critique groups. They agreed that they benefited not only from what they learned, but also from the opportunities to network. Great advice!

After the discussion, they all signed their books and we got to talk to each author individually. It was a lovely afternoon

The authors’ recent books:

Donis Casey writes a historical mystery series (Alafair Tucker Mysteries) set in Oklahoma in the early 1900s. Her main character has 10 children. Donis reported that she intended write 10 books in the series, each featuring one of the children more prominently. Her tenth book, Forty Dead Men, came out in February.  We’ll be excited to see what she decides to do next.

 

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (February 6, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1464209391
ISBN-13: 978-1464209390

Vicki Delany has authored several series, including the Lighthouse Library Mysteries under the pen name Eva Gates.

Her most recent title is a cozy, The Cat of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery (February 2018)

 

Because I’m interested in police procedural novels, I chose the first in her Constable Molly Smith series, In the Shadow of the Glacier (2008).

 

Set in the fictional town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, the novel features newly-hired Constable Molly Smith and veteran Detective Sargant John Winters as they investigate the murder of a prominent businessman.

I have to admit that I came home from the event and basically devoured the book in one sitting. I will look for more titles in this series.

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (March 15, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1590585585
ISBN-13: 978-1590585580

Author Ann Parker has a day job as a science writer, yet she has managed to write Silver Rush Mysteries set in Leadville, Colorado during the Silver Rush of the 1880s. In her sixth of the series, A Dying Note (April 2018), her main character Inez decided to move to San Francisco. Ann says it surprised her, too.

 

 

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (April 3, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1464209812
ISBN-13: 978-1464209819

 

Have you read any novels by these prolific authors? What did you think?

 

colorado vicki delany

#BookBeginnings High White Sun by J Todd Scott

Today we have High White Sun by J. Todd Scott for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

High White Sun* by J Todd Scott

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  A sequel to J. Todd Scott’s debut novel The Far Empty,  Chris Cherry is now sheriff of Big Bend County and America Reynosa is one of his new deputies. With Ben Harper, a retired detective who signs on as a deputy as well, they investigate the murder of a local river guide, only to find themselves swept up into something much deeper and much more dangerous than they ever expected.

J. Todd Scott currently works as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the DEA, but also manages to find the time to write exceptional novels set in west Texas. He is a local Arizona author and masterful storyteller.

First Sentence:

Goodbye stranger…

He had the radio up too loud, singing along with the words he knew, blasting down Texas 70, when he saw the girl standing on the side of the road waving him down.

Discussion:

I like the eeriness of “Goodbye stranger.” At one level it likely refers to the lyrics of a song by Supertramp, but also the reader gets the feeling that perhaps either the man driving the car or the girl standing on the side of the road might experience some trouble in the near future.

What do you think?

#BestsellerCode100: Writer’s Review of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

Let’s take a look at  The Choice by Nicholas Sparks from a writer’s perspective.

This post contains spoilers.

The Choice* by Nicholas Sparks

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Travis Parker is happy being a bachelor. However, when he meets his new neighbor Gabby Holland, his life turns upside down.

The Choice was made into a movie that was released in 2016.

Genre

Like our previous novel for The Bestseller Code challenge, Me Before You, The Choice is a love story/romance. Also like our previous novel, it strays from the typical romance format as the love interest has health problems due to a severe car accident.

Where the two diverge, however, is that in Me Before You, the complications add depth, making it a compelling story. In contrast, in The Choice, the complications are a formulaic attempt to gain sympathy and instead distance the reader.

Why did one work and the other did not?

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

 

Incorporating Emotions In Fiction

In fiction, readers like to be touched by what they read. They like to experience what the characters are going through, and get swept away by their emotions. Many authors struggle, however, with how to authentically incorporate emotions into their stories.

There are several ways to write about a character’s emotions. One technique is to simply name the emotion, such as “George felt happy.” It is best to avoid this method for several reasons. First of all, it is telling the reader, rather than showing, which leaves the reader flat. Also, people tend not to be all that aware of their emotions, so naming them outright is unrealistic.

People are much more likely to be aware of the physical sensations they experience when emotional.  For example, ” The muscle in her neck that always tightened when she was under stress began to twitch.” The secret with this technique is to use sensations that are universal enough so the reader can recognize them, but that are not overused or cliché. Raising eyebrows, rolling eyes, or a heart hammering in the chest are examples of physical descriptions that are overused.

Experienced authors have even more tools. They may reveal a character’s emotions through their actions, through metaphors, through punctuation (Oh no!), or through the use of the objective-correlative, which involves using objects, descriptions, or situations to convey a particular emotion.  A simplified example of the latter might be, “She pressed her nose into the roses, hugged the chocolates to her chest, and smiled up at the forest of balloons bouncing overhead.” The roses, chocolates, and balloons are all things related to happy events, so the reader can infer the character is happy.

Comparison

So, why does The Choice fall flat?

Nicholas Sparks incorporates plenty of emotions, but he tends to name the emotions.

Molly was sitting near the back door, her tail thumping, and Gabby felt anxious at the thought of the future.

or

He was still sitting at the table, feeling slightly shell-shocked, when he spotted his sister approaching.

 

To be fair, he also uses physical descriptions:

Her heart squeezed again, and this time she tried to hold on to the feeling.

In contrast, in Me Before You:

“I — I’m Lou.” My voice, uncharacteristically tremulous, broke into the silence. I wondered, briefly, whether to hold out a hand, and then, remembering that he wouldn’t be able to take it, gave a feeble wave instead. “Short for Louisa.”

It probably helps that it is in first person, but can’t you sense the intensity of her nervous awkwardness , even though she never says directly she’s feeling nervous?

Discussion

I didn’t enjoy this book for several other reasons, in addition to the flat emotions.

The characters were inconsistent. In the beginning Gabby, who has a job as a physician’s assistant, accuses Travis’s dog Moby of fathering puppies with her dog, Molly. This rang false with me, because even lay people can tell a neutered male dog from an non-neutered one. A medical professional should definitely be able to tell. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt because maybe Moby was far away in the distance at all times (except he wasn’t).

When her dog Molly gives birth and has a medical problem, Gabby definitely should have known right away what it was and I suspect should have been able to give first aid, rather than simply rushing off. Yes, in real life people are inconsistent, but that seemed excessively so.

It was also apparent that Gabby and Travis were going to get married right from the beginning. Novels work best when they create mysteries that keep a reader guessing and wanting to read on to find out the answer. The minimal tension that did arise seemed artificial. Gabby had to make a decision, but because she wasn’t the main character, we could guess what it would be.

Overall, The Choice works too hard to try to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, and leaves them feeling nothing instead.

 

Join us on social media:

__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 60.  In the Woods by Tana French (2007) – Discussion begins May 14, 2018
Mystery

#BestsellerCode100: Number 61. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

Time to start the discussion of our next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 listThe Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

This post does not contain spoilers.

The Choice* by Nicholas Sparks

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Travis Parker is happy being a bachelor. However, when he meets his new neighbor Gabby Holland, his life might just turn upside down.

The Choice was made into a movie that was released in 2016.

 

Have you read The Choice by Nicholas Sparks? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Related posts:

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

You can also join us on social media:

Do you have suggestions for ways to improve this reading challenge? We’d love to hear them.

Have you written about The Choice by Nicholas Sparks? Feel free to add a link to your review in the comments.
__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 60.  In the Woods by Tana French (2007) – Discussion begins May 14, 2018
Mystery

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke Wins 2018 Edgar Allen Poe Award

Having just read Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke last week, I was thrilled to see it won the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel.

Bluebird, Bluebird is a tale of racial tensions, forbidden love, and many blurred lines. Although it has been touted as a thriller, it actually qualifies as a mystery because of the pacing and the fact that “who done it” isn’t revealed until the end.

Darren Mathews is a Texas Ranger. When we meet him, he has been suspended because he came to the aid of a family friend during a conflict without following protocol. Even worse, two days later the man who caused the conflict ended up dead. Darren’s wife, who wants him to be a lawyer instead of a law man, has left him as well. When locals discover a black man and a white woman dead in a little town in East Texas, Darren is more than happy to put some space between himself and his problems, and go there to investigate.

The two murders may or may not be related. What is certain is that race is a factor, which pits Darren, who is black, against the local sheriff.  Thrown into the mix is the murdered man’s wife, a volatile outsider who tramples on the conventions that have ruled in this small, rural town for many years.

Author Attica Locke grew up in East Texas, and she has used her experiences to create a rich, visceral setting. Pine trees, red soil, and a bayou add a realistic backdrop to the drama unfolding there.

Locke is also a talented wordsmith.  She is both a screenwriter and an award-winning novelist. She was a writer/producer on Empire. Her first novel, Black Water Rising, was also nominated for an Edgar, among other honors.

“The smile was gone now, and in its place Keith wore a look of utter contempt, married with rage as poorly caged as a bull in a rusty pen. His body had raised the temperature in the room by a few degrees.”

Her words have such a driving rhythm. Can’t you just picture the anger coming off of him?

Bluebird, Bluebird is a trip down Highway 59 with a masterful author at the wheel. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

More great things to come:

Bluebird, Bluebird is the first of a planned trilogy. It is currently being adapted for a series called Highway 59 on FX.

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