cover image Pleasantville


Attica Locke. Harper, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-225940-0

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. [em]Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Apr.) [/em]