My Review of “Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke

“Bluebird, Bluebird” is a mystery novel that arrived on retail shelves this past September. I bought a copy the first week, but I’ve just got a chance to read it this week. It’s written by Attica Locke, a writer and producer for the hit show Empire. With a pedigree like that, penning this book was almost like cheating.

Some critical acclaim ->

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Washington Post 10 Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2017
Kirkus Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017

Let’s dig into it:

First of all, there are some serious racial overtones to this book. Darren Matthews, the book’s main character is a Texas Ranger who is sent to a small Texas town to investigate a murder. Matthews specializes in crimes that have a racial component. The town of Lark is awash with racial tension, especially after two bodies – one White and one Black fuel a downward spiral of finger-pointing and wagon circling. The book waxed a bit preachy for me at times. Admittedly, I lost the mystery in it all. The town is split almost in half along racial lines and that didn’t seem plausible. Perhaps, it is though. I never visited the rural South.

The author’s choice of characterizations are anything but subtle. The main character wears boots, drives a truck, has an alcohol problem and begins the book on suspension. Typical flawed protagonist. The first suspect is a tattooed, bad dude from the Aryan Brotherhood.

The writing style is the saving grace of this novel. Locke describes the setting as “a line that runs through the heart of East Texas, a thread on the map that ties together small towns like knots on a string, from Laredo to Texarkana, on the northern border. For black folks born and bred in rural communities along the highway’s north-south route, Highway 59 has always represented an arc of possibility, hope paved and pointing north.” The author’s pace is terse and swift. The detective work is standard for this genre and draws heavily on literary conventions. This would be a perfect mystery for people who don’t read many mystery novels. Yet, if you are a fan of the mystery genre, this book might come across as run of the mill.

My overall verdict –

3 out of 5 stars.

  • Jessica Trueman


If you liked this review, then please subscribe to the Orbital Review and be sure to follow me on Twitter – @Jess2True4u



Review of “Blood for Karen”

I recently got a subscription to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t know, it’s a service that allows you to pay a monthly fee and have access to tons of content through Amazon. I thought I’d start my subscription with some romance books because that is one of my favorite genres. After browsing through the most ridiculous titles and book covers imaginable (werewolves, vampires, bears) I finally came across “Blood for Karen” by Frederick S. Blackmon.

I’ve read some of his work before, mostly science fiction so I was surprised to see his name pop up in the romance section. The cover was simple and elegant. In fact, the writing style was also simple and elegant. The author created a world in which a fascist regime known as the Partizan Empire took control of an old town called Meridian. There are some parallels to ancient Rome and the Nazis, but the author doesn’t make the comparison so obvious.

The story follows a young man named Jason who is desperately trying to prove his love to a girl named Karen. I really liked the Karen character. She’s fierce, yet feminine. And for a man to write women so well is a great accomplishment in of itself. I don’t want to give away the main plot points, but the story is compelling and interesting through and through. Jason constantly has to do more dangerous things to prove his love to Karen. Finally, she bends to his indomitable goodwill and falls in love with him. Yet, all is not roses and love scenes. There is still a rebellion going on and this could just as easily be a drama instead of a romance. It’s quite simply an elegant and rather eloquent book.

You can find “Blood for Karen” on Amazon and find the author, Frederick S. Blackmon on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Jessica Trueman

brk ebook cover


Now, that’s certainly an interesting way to start a book. Could you imagine cracking open a chunky novel and the first thing you read is “The story so far”.

A friend of mine showed me this picture and honestly, I don’t know if its just a wind up or someone having a laugh, but I thought that was a fast track to literary disaster.

What do you think? Would you read a book that began with such drivel? Or is it really genius and I’m daft?

Plastic in My Tea! No Way!

Maybe I’m a bit late, but I just discovered that there is plastic in my tea bag. Oh, no!

It turns out that tea bags are only 70-80% biodegradable. They contain a plastic compound called polypropylene. That’s a synthetic plastic resin that is used in lots of packaging, but that doesn’t mean I want traces of it in my tea.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid about that last part, but it’s still not that good for the environment. According to – more than 165 million cups of tea are brewed each day in the United Kingdom. Also, 96% of those cups were brewed using polypropylene (The Guardian). That makes a substantial environmental impact when taken all together.

I guess the only solution for me is to drink loose leaf tea and use a pot and strainer.

How posh and proper?!

Book Fairies in Central London

So, one of my new favorite authors Frederick S. Blackmon got picked by #ibelieveinbookfairies. They tucked away some hidden copies of his new science fiction book “Serandes: Corporation City” all around Central London. I think that is a really cool idea for this city because people in London love to read….on the tube….waiting for a bus…or just whenever. So, kudos to the Book Fairies. I knew you were out there all along.

Check out the video:

Book Fairies in Central London


Always Reading


Ever since I can remember, I was always reading. I used to read the childrens’ books until I was way older. I just liked the simplicity of them. I would read lots of Roald Dahl – James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were favorites of mine.

Finally, people started trying to tell me what to read. “Get serious. Read the classics of literature…Austen and Dickens and such.” I started working at a book store when I was a teenager and would just pick a book. Read it and repeat that process until I had read well over a hundred books.

I realized it’s not important what you read….just that you read. Find something…anything…and let your imagination soar.