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Pleasantville

Narrated by: J.D. Jackson
Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

In this sophisticated thriller, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Attica Locke's best seller 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.

©2015 Attica Locke (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

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Profile Image for L. O. Pardue
  • L. O. Pardue
  • 18-05-15

An Author You Need to Know

When I realize I am listening to a book that is way above average, I sit up straight and concentrate on every spoken word while I am smiling big. I probably look strange to other commuters on the train or my neighbors while I am on a walk, but I couldn't help it with this story. Attica Locke's third book confirms she understands pacing, character development and how to provide a satisfying "whodunnit" conclusion.

The book opens in 1996 on election night in Houston. Many residents of upwardly mobile Pleasantville, a suburb of Houston, are listening to election results where their dreams may finally be realized -- the election of Axel Hawthorne as the city's first black mayor. At the same time, a young girl goes missing. Are the two events related? Are the politics dirty?

As good as this book is, I urge you to read "Black Water Rising" first in order to follow Jay Porter (attorney with a conscience) from the beginning. Great for you, because that story is a great debut for Attica Locke. I still rate that book as the "best first chapter I have ever listened to with Audible". You are very fortunate if this is an author you have yet to listen. You are in for a very enjoyable experience.

14 people found this helpful

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  • David Holmes
  • 04-06-16

Great story, well told

Economically written story with no holes. Exciting and well narrated. I wish this was a series! I cared about the characters and want more. Excited to discover this author.

5 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Camilla Jackson
  • Camilla Jackson
  • 28-10-17

Review of Pleasantville by Attica Locke

I am a native Houstonian who grew up in the Fifth ward, Therefore, I was very familiar with the areas described in this book. The story line was compelling and I would recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • stellamcstella
  • 05-02-17

Wonderful read!

An engaging and well written story. I recognized the reality in this community, plus it was a good crime/law drama.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-20

Wow!!!!!Shocker

It’s a story that catches your eye by the title, feeds you with its sides of a good book, but it’s surprises you with the distinct flavors that Ms. Locke throws in there. Finally blesses you with a great and shocking dessert for an ending. Great book.

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Profile Image for D Graham Upton
  • D Graham Upton
  • 16-02-20

Just ok, long

Seemed drawn out. Lots and lots of detail about Houston which was interesting because I used to live there but probably wouldn’t be to everyone. Story moved along fairly slowly.

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Profile Image for Dia-len
  • Dia-len
  • 20-10-19

Good and relavant

Very good story a little drawn out but well developed and it would make a good movie. After listening to an interview with Attica Locke on NPR last week I wanted to hear one of her books. I am happy I chose this one. As I said It is a good story. I struggled, to keep the characters straight in the beginning. This put me off a bit because there were so many of them. So the story feels drawn out. This is because some characters and their descriptions are lengthy. While it is drawn out a little bit it keeps you on the edge of you seat. I found myself going from PC to phone to take the story with me as I was on the move. A couple of times I thought I knew who did it but the reveal comes at the end. Do yourself a favor and listen to this book

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Profile Image for Margaret
  • Margaret
  • 06-04-19

Another satisfying, multi-faceted book by Locke

Machine politics. Local corruption. Changing neighborhood demographics, and their impact on political power. And oh, yeah - a murder mystery. And a grief narrative.

Attica Locke's books are refreshing because she takes the tropes of the crime and mystery genres and casts the entire story in black communities. Her Pleasantville is an historically black, middle-class neighborhood of LA that could be one of many communities that sprouted up during the Great Migration. The politics there are specific to the unique challenges faced by African-Americans; the methods and motives around consolidating political and social power are common to all of humanity.

Enter Jay Porter, the lawyer who successfully sued a big polluter (must have been the first novel in the series, which I haven't read yet) and lost his wife soon after. He's off-kilter and can't seem to bounce back, raising two kids and zoned out by grief and isolation. Locke nails the grief narrative bang-on. Jay Porter comes alive on the page and inspires readers's curiosity and support. This gives the book more depth than a crime novel that's purely plot-driven.

Locke does a great job with plot as well - the main plot around a local election and political battles, fascinating sub-plots around Jay's friends, a family's prodigal son who's a blues genius, and a teenaged daughter coming of age. She winds up all the disparate plots in a satisfying way that scratches the reader's itch at the end. And there are enough plot twists that make sense, but that the reader doesn't see coming, to keep the reader engaged till the end.

A great job by Attica Locke. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

Narrator was ok, but a little monotone to me, which sometimes made transitions in the narrative difficult to follow.

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  • Lemart
  • 13-10-18

Much Better Ending

So I wasn’t thrilled about how the prequel to this ended but I really liked the book. The ending wasn’t horrible but I felt like it left too many things unanswered. However I was very happy with this second book from start to finish. The author really knows how to develop the characters. You can see the growth from the first installment. I usually only listen while I’m driving to and from work. But I got so caught up half way through that I finished it over a weekend. The suspense is good. You’re hesitant to get close to the characters because you sometimes don’t know where she may go. She doesn’t give you much in the order of hints. But she gives you enough to build suspicion. Great book. I hope there are more coming. Great writer.

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  • Lachard Binkley
  • 24-07-18

Very interesting and keeps your attention.

This is the second book I have listened to from Attica Locke .I will say being from Houston it is strange and refreshing hearing about streets I drive everyday. Beyond that this is the first author that has come close for me to Walter Mosley my favorite author. Deep,thoughtful and very entertaining I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.