Attica Locke returns to Jay Porter, whom we met way back in 2009 as he’s eking out a living as a lawyer in Black Water Rising…Pleasantville by Attica Locke
Series: Jay Porter #2
Published by HarperCollins on April 21st 2015
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In this sophisticated thriller, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Attica Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising, returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again 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 the events of Black Water Rising, Jay Porter is struggling to cope with catastrophic changes in his personal life and the disintegration of his environmental law practice. His victory against Cole Oil is still the crown jewel of his career, even if he hasn’t yet seen a dime thanks to appeals. But time has taken its toll. Tired and restless, he’s ready to quit.
When a girl goes missing on Election Night, 1996, in the neighborhood of Pleasantville—a hamlet for upwardly mobile blacks on the north side of Houston—Jay, a single father, is deeply disturbed. He’s been representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire, and the case is dragging on, raising doubts about his ability.
The missing girl was a volunteer for one of the local mayoral candidates, and her disappearance complicates an already heated campaign. When the nephew of one of the candidates, a Pleasantville local, is arrested, Jay reluctantly finds himself serving as a defense attorney. With a man’s life and his own reputation on the line, Jay is about to try his first murder in a case that will also put an electoral process on trial, exposing the dark side of power and those determined to keep it.
Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Plot: Locke’s Pleasantville is nothing like the movie of the same title; this one has murder, shady deals, and behind-the-scenes wrangling, all in the midst of a political campaign. Fingers are pointed, evidence is “manufactured”, and a community’s lawyer is dragged into the mess…
The Characters: Jay Porter isn’t doing so well – his class action lawsuit still hasn’t seen any of the awarded monies, and his clients are getting antsy. His personal life is barely getting back to normal after the loss of his wife. And now he’s caught up in a murder investigation, which is ruffling feathers he’d never expect it to.
I like Jay, because he’s basically a good guy, albeit one with an interrupted swagger. Guilt over the hours he spent on his last case has him reluctant to get involved in this one, but he can’t help that he cares for the community. He does take a little while to realize that not everything’s as it’s been presented, but when he does, he hunts down what he needs with persistence.
The Story: Pleasantville is an easy read, even with all that goes on between its covers. The political angle and the courtroom drama were engrossing, almost more so than the shenanigans in the community. This is a stark look at power’s corrupting influence, especially on those who insist they’re only doing the best thing for the community. Fans of Locke’s writing will inhale Pleasantville, and those new to Jay should meet him in Black Water Rising.
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read Pleasantville? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Pleasantville for you. This one’s open to US residents only; no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before May 22nd. Good luck!