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Pleasantville by Attica Locke
  

Pleasantville

Part of the Jay Porter Series
Thriller / Suspense   All Shortlists and Winners   Crime / Mystery   Literary Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016.

1996 election night in Pleasantville, a suburb of Houston built in 1949 as a community for “Negro families of means and class”, home now to many who have been involved in marches for greater equality. The former police chief hopes to be the first black mayor but the District Attorney runs against him. Then a teenage girl disappears, the third, each found dead six days later. This one is no exception. A fellow is arrested and we follow his black lawyer, Jay’s involvement plus a host of strong characters. Very atmospheric with a real feel for the area and its people, this is both a political thriller and a murder mystery full of twists and turns set against the mayoral election campaign and compensation that is expected from an oil company for pollution, something that features in Jay’s first appearance in Black Water Rising. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Shortlisted for the Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award 2015.

If you like Attica Locke you might also like to read books by Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke and John Grisham.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. To say that Attica Locke’s debut Black Water Rising – ambitious, socially committed and beautifully written – created a stir is almost to understate the case, and one wonders if it weighed heavily on her shoulders that she would be obliged to deliver something equally impressive as a follow-up. She did just that with The Cutting Season; and now we have Pleasantville. Has Locke pulled it off a third time? Lawyer Jay Porter (from Black Water Rising) has grown disenchanted with his job, despite the financial success he has enjoyed. But his attempts to stay out of the courtroom are doomed to failure; a truly seismic court case is about to change the lives of everyone involved and expose the venality of some powerful people. Those holding their breath to see if Locke could match the achievement of her earlier books can exhale – Pleasantville is every inch as impressive as its predecessors, with a new nuance and complexity burnishing the narrative.
~ Barry Forshaw

Synopsis

Pleasantville by Attica Locke

It's 1996, Bill Clinton has just been re-elected and in Houston a mayoral election is looming. As usual the campaign focuses on Pleasantville - the African-American neighbourhood of the city that has swung almost every race since it was founded to house a growing black middle class in 1949. Axel Hathorne, former chief of police and the son of Pleasantville's founding father Sam Hathorne, was the clear favourite, all set to become Houston's first black mayor. But his lead is slipping thanks to a late entrant into the race - Sandy Wolcott, a defence attorney riding high on the success of a high-profile murder trial. And then, just as the competition intensifies, a girl goes missing, apparently while canvassing for Axel. And when her body is found, Axel's nephew is charged with her murder. Sam is determined that Jay Porter defends his grandson. And even though Jay is tired of wading through other people's problems, he suddenly finds himself trying his first murder case, a trial that threatens to blow the entire community wide open, and reveal the lengths that those with power are willing to go to hold onto it.

Reviews

'It's a fascinatingly complex setting and Locke maps it with great skill, charting the struggles of her characters as the crime remains unsolved ... a smart legal thriller about how far people will go to gain power, and keep it.' Jeff Noon Spectator

'Genuinely unnerving ... subtle, complex questions of identity, family and history' Daily Mail

'This is a cinematic, panoramic view of African-American life, but it is also a sharp, tender account of Jay Porter's inner struggle ... brilliant.' Isabel Berwick FT

About the Author

Attica Locke

Attica Locke's first novel, Black Water Rising, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Attica is also a screenwriter who has written for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, Dreamworks and Silver Pictures. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute's Feature Filmmakers Lab and is a graduate of Northwestern University. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, with her husband and daughter.

Author photo © Jenny Walters

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Book Info

Publication date

11th March 2016

Author

Attica Locke

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Author's Website

www.atticalocke.com/

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Publisher

Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
432 pages

Categories

Thriller / Suspense
All Shortlists and Winners
Crime / Mystery
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781846689499

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