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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)
In her first three novels, Locke has explored cultural history since the days of slavery. A future book will surely deal with race in the Obama and post-Obama era. That could be her best story yet - which, on the evidence of those she has already written, is saying something. (Mark Lawson Guardian)
An excellent thriller on one level, Locke's novel offers a beautifully detailed character in "Jay Edgar Porter", a bereaved father struggling to cope with his loss. The story also has a fascinating political angle in the dirty-tricks campaign, aimed at disrupting the power of the black voting bloc and prefigures the Rove-Bush strategy in the 2000 presidential election. All told, it's gripping blend of the personal and the political. - , (Declan Burke Irish Times)
As convincing as it is enthralling (Boyd Hilton Heat)
To say that 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 ... Pleasantville is every inch as impressive as its predecessors, with a new nuance and complexity burnishing the narrative ... the next time you find yourself in the company of a crime reviewer, don't bother asking who you should be reading. You know the answer: Attica Locke. (Barry Forshaw Independent)
A common selling point for the sorely missed HBO series "The Wire" is that it's the closest television has ever come to feeling like a novel. Attica Locke'sPleasantville is that novel. (Washington Independent Review of Books)
In Pleasantville, Attica Locke returns to Jay Porter, the black lawyer hero of her magnificent first novel, Black Water Rising. This one is just as good. (Marcel Berlins Times)
Outstanding...Locke just gets better and better as a writer. This is a grown-up, politically engaged novel as well as a moving portrait of a family upended by grief...a perfect read for election season (Jake Kerridge Sunday Express Magazine)
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE 2016
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.
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