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    A complicated and twisty plot

    I loved the first book in this series but “Heaven, My Home” is even better! I feel like we are getting to the meat of the story with Darren, a Black Texas Ranger, on the case of another racially motivated crime. Searching for a missing white boy puts him in deep with the kid’s family of White Supremacists. It’s a complicated and twisty plot which requires a fair bit of thought and attention but the payoff is worth it. I was not anticipating the boy’s fate and in the end I was surprised. I love how most of the characters are good and bad and it’s difficult to tell which way they will turn. This makes everything unpredictable as you never know who to trust, and even the characters who have earned trust sometimes screw up. In a story focused on black and white when it comes to morality it’s all shades of grey. What really stands out about this series is the strong sense of place. The writing is so evocative of East Texas that I feel like I’ve been there. The food, the cypress forests, the swamps; it is all painted so vividly that I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders while reading. The other big theme in this series is the absolutely brutal rampant racism. It’s shocking and horrendous. Many times I was livid and just as often I was sad. What a horrible state affairs have developed under the legacy of slavery. There’s still a long way to go in eradicating ignorance and hate and I don’t think it will happen anytime soon. Just a note: This story is set between the last American presidential election and Trump taking office and emphasizes the increase in hate crimes seen by law enforcement in that period. The police and the Rangers lament that it will be much harder to investigate and prosecute the Aryan Brotherhood with Trump as president. This is a story very much rooted in the present social and political miasma. The character development of Darren has been stellar. I may not agree with all of his choices, especially the one at the end of the book, but he’s been established by the story so well that I feel like I understand him and his sometimes questionable actions. I’m very excited to see where Darren ends up for his next case! Thank you to Mulholland Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.

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