Debut Novel: Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

Attica Locke

Back cover:  Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall---where his most promising client is a low rent call girl--and he's determined to leave the sins of his past buried:  the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.  That is, until the night he saves a woman from drowning and inadvertently opens a Pandora's box.  Her secrets reach into the upper echelons of Houston's corporate power brokers and ensnare Jay in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family... and even his life. 

Black Water Rising is the debut novel of film and television screenwriter, Attica Locke.  I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it captured my attention from the very beginning. 

"Texas, 1981

The boat is smaller than he imagined. And dingier.  Even at night Jay can tell it needs a paint job.  This is not at all what they discussed.  The guy on the phone said "moonlight cruise." City lights and all that.  Jay had pictured something quaint, something with a little romance, like the riverboats on the Pontchartrain in New Orleans, only smaller.  But this thing looks like a doctored up fishing boat, at best. It is flat and wide and ugly--a barge, badly overdressed, like a big girl invited to her first and probably last school dance.  There are Christmas lights draped over every corner of the thing and strung in a line framing the cabin door.  They're blinking erratically, somewhat desperately, winking at Jay, promising a good time, wanting him to come on in.  Jay stays right where he is, staring at the boat's cabin:  four leaning walls covered with a cheap carport material. The whole thing looks like it was slapped together as an afterthought, a sloppy attempt at decorum, like a hat resting precariously on a drunk's head.

Jay's attempt at romancing his very pregnant wife on her birthday falls short while they are traveling down the river when they hear a woman screaming and gunshots.  Shortly thereafter, someone falls into the river and Jay jumps in to rescue them.  A white woman, dressed in expensive clothes and reticent about what she is doing in that part of town in the middle of the nightThey drop her off at the police station door and try to forget all about her, until he reads about the shooting death of a man.  He doesn't want to go to the police because of things that happened in his past. So he starts investigating on his own, trying to find out who the woman is.   Meanwhile, his father in law wants him to talk to the mayor, Cynthia Maddox about helping the Brotherhood of Longshoreman, the black dockworkers union who are threatening to strike because they are getting paid less than the white union dockworkers.   Jay has a history with Cynthia from his college days, both good and bad.  And the low rent call girl case turns out not to be so simple after all.  Everything turns out to be intertwined and the more Jay finds out, the stickier things become. 

Attica Locke manages to spin together a story like a spider web, weaving a very intricate and sticky tale, capturing the reader and spinning the thread about them tightly.   Her writing reminds me of John Grisham, whose books I devoured when I was younger.   I thoroughly enjoyed Black Water Rising and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.  I highly recommend it. 

Pages: 447
Publisher:  Harper Perennial 
Released: Paperback April 2010
Genre:  Mystery/thriller

Check out the other participants on the tour and find out what they think of Black Water Rising. Take a peak inside the book and visit Attica Locke's website for more information. Thank you to TLC Tours for asking to be a part of the tour and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book.  

FTC:  I received the book courtesy of the published which did not influence my opinion. The opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated for this review.  All links are for informational purposes only and I do not receive any compensation through Amazon affiliates

1 comment:

  1. I loved this one too and was immediately taken back to early Grisham!!


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