Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

Book - 2009
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Attica Locke--a writer and producer of FOX's Empire--delivers an engrossing, complex, and cinematic thriller about crime and racial justice

Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist (Mystery/Thriller)

Edgar Award Nominee (Best First Novel)

The Orange Prize for Fiction (Shortlist)

Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl, and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with his path to the American Dream, carefully tucking away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It's here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night he impulsively saves a drowning woman's life - and opens a Pandora's Box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom of a tangled mystery that reaches into the upper echelons of Houston's corporate powerbrokers, Jay must confront the demons of his past.

"A near-perfect balance of trenchant social commentary, rich characterizations, and action-oriented plot.... Attica Locke [is] a writer wise beyond her years."?-- Los Angeles Times

"Atmospheric... deeply nuanced... akin to George Pelecanos or Dennis Lehane.... Subtle and compelling."?-- New York Times

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2009.
ISBN: 9780061735868
Characteristics: 430 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 03, 2021

I discovered Attica Locke with her fourth novel, 'Bluebird, Bluebird' and decided to go and pick up her first book. While 'Black Water Rising' didn't pull me in as deep as 'Bluebird, Bluebird', I still found it to be a pretty captivating read. Even though the story didn't have a big event crying for a resolution, there were a few small events that were all linked in a way to push the story along. For me, that worked well because I wanted to see how everything was connected, and I eventually developed a vested interest of the lawyer, Jay Porter.

The pacing wasn't really bad, but there were times where I did find myself wanting things to pick up, and I didn't feel like I was reading a book. I can't speak to the author's intent, but I did see this as a made for tv movie, when I finished it...especially how she ended it (Locke is a screenwriter). Still it's a decent story and a great foundation to build off of.

Reading Attica Locke reminds me of reading what is now identified as Classical American Literature back in college. Having read two of her novels, I would say she's a classical author in modern times. I'm definitely a fan of hers, and her works will find a home in my personal library. Now I'm facing a new dilemma. Since I'm still on a 'Bluebird, Bluebird' high, I need to decide which one of her books to read next...'The Cutting Season', picking back up with Jay Porter in 'Pleasantville', or continuing the exploits of Ranger Matthews in 'Heaven, My Home'. Regardless of which one I chose, I think I'll be in good storytelling hands.

Sep 17, 2020

Surprisingly after reading the comments, I loved this book. I was a young adult in the 1960s and the flashbacks reminded me of those struggles for racial, labor, and environmental justice, the same struggles we are having in 2020. I found the writing vivid and moving and the protagonist complex. I'm checking out the next book in the series.

Aug 24, 2020

Could not find anything to like about this book, the characters were flat, the plot not very plausible and the paranoid attitude of the protagonist was not very flattering.

Martha C Benner
Oct 03, 2018

Not a good book at all; boring and had to force myself to keep reading it.

path111 Mar 06, 2015

For me, a forgettable book. I read it 3 weeks ago, and now could not recall the character or much of the story. The main character lies to cover an event, a deception that comes to rob his innocence and thinking.

Better books out there.

Jan 20, 2013

Fast pace and action packed. The author doesn't demonstrate a great command of the english language( in terms of sentence structure) but that aside it is a very entertaining read. I have read it a couple of times and still like it very much. Love the characters and the action. Seems like it might have been written with the thought of a movie in mind. The author is a screenwriter.

Sep 13, 2012

Couldn't really get involved with it. Lots of background on Civil Rights which I've already read. Plot moved too slowly.

Aug 01, 2012

A thriller about Texas, civil rights and oil. The author kept me reading to the end.

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