Broke and with a husband in law school, novelist Attica Locke said she knew what she could do — write. She became a Sundance-trained screenwriter and wrote scripts for major movie studios and many of those screenplays, with African-American characters and points of view, were never produced. When Ms. Locke wrote her first novel, a mystery called Deep Water Rising, she felt like her writing had found a home.
The breakout book, which was nominated for the Edgar Mystery and Los Angeles Times book prizes, combined an interest in writing about African American characters with unconventional backgrounds and the pulsing tempo of a good mystery. Deep Water Rising takes place in Locke’s native city of Houston and is the story of a lawyer with a criminal record named Jay Porter, who becomes involved in a murder investigation. Gritty, fast-paced and atmospheric, the mystery will keep readers turning the pages. This book and others by Ms. Locke can be found on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library.
Ms. Locke continues writing about race in The Cutting Season. A young woman whose life includes slave ancestors and a current job managing a landmark Louisiana plantation that is now a special events venue, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery that recalls the plantation’s slave history. This is a real who-done-it with lots of suspects and a surprise ending.
Attica Locke brings back Jay Porter, from her first novel, in Pleasantville. Now an environmental lawyer, but still struggling financially, Porter takes on a case representing a wealthy man accused of kidnapping, a man even Porter thinks is guilty. Family and financial secrets, a scent of Southern Gothic charm and lots of action make this another involving mystery.
And, to come full circle in her writing career, Ms. Locke now writes for and produces one of television’s most popular series, Empire, a program noted for its African-American cast and storyline.