Black Water Rising Paperback – 12 Nov 2009
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Serpent's Tail lead crime
About the Author
Born in Houston, Texas, Attica Locke, has worked in both film and television for over ten years. She has written movie scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and most recently completed an adaptation of Stephen Carter's The Emperor of Pictures. She now lives in Los Angeles. Black Water Rising is her first novel.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is set in 1980's Houston and begins simply enough: Lawyer Jay and his wife Bernadine are on a boat on the bayou celebrating her birthday, when they hear gunshots and see a woman plunge into the water. Jay rescues her and drops her off at the local poice station.
From here the story spins into multiple plotlines, Jay investigating the mystery woman after the boat-captain turns up dead, Jay becoming involved in a strike of the black Houston dockworkers at the behest of his father-in-law and flashbacks to Jay's own polical past in the Black Power movement in the 1960's. This last thread resonates into the present as Jay's former girlfried from his radical days is now Mayor of Houston. Underlying all of this is the Oil industry and the sinister figures in it's upper echelons.
The other reviews for this novel have been very mixed, but for me, this multi-strand plot works very well, is wonderfully faced, and to the author's credit, the novel surpasses the simple crime thriller genre to capture an authentic slice of American history. The author clearly knows Houston and it's history inside out and is able to beautifully recreate the time and transport you there. It reminds me very much of the novels of JAMES LEE BURKE and his wonderful evocations of New Orleans.
This is not a generic, throwaway thriller with implausible twists that make you wince with embarrassment, like the recent books by Jeffrey Deaver, but a thought-provoking and haunting novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
I liked this. The writing style is at all times polished and even classy, and the author should be complemented for achieving this in a first-time-out publication. I think it's fair to say that I was interested in all of the real-life political threads, and can understand other readers finding the book less than gripping if this aspect holds no appeal to them. The fictional tale is quite good and upheld by consistently vivid character-creation and development. Most of the story is related in the present tense, something I always find a distraction, but in this case it was used as a deliberate instrument to aid the reader differentiate between the present-day events (in 1981) and the baggage that Jay Porter carries around with him dating back a decade or more.Read more ›
The crime story is slow, I found, as nothing much happens other than plodding plot developments. They hear some shots and a woman gets into their boat. They drop her at the police station. That's all that happens for a very long time. Later, he revisits the scene of the crime, and then he occasionally worries that the police may think it was him (why?). After 120 pages, he visits the Mayor (who is, cringe, an old flame). It really is a bit of a trundle. Nothing to keep you hooked. Much focus is given to the background of the protagonist, which (like the rest) is just flat and uninspired. There is also no chemistry between him and his wife (both are too dreary), and you are simply left wincing whenever she appears. A side plot, involving industrial trouble at the docks, is largely irrelevant other than to spell out more racial tension. I felt this part of the story was included, simply as the writer had been inspired by season two of The Wire (set in similar circumstances), and wanted to have a go at it themselves. Nothing wrong with that (every author finds part of their inspiration from somewhere else), but, I think, that if you're picking something so mainstream, recent and accomplished to emulate, then you need to come at it with as much talent and originality as your source material.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting historical and political backdrop of racial tension mixed up with unrest on the docks as containerisation threatens the jobs of the guys who unpack the ships. Read morePublished 4 months ago by lynn michell
Although “Black Water Rising” (2009) may be categorized as a detective novel, there are interesting variations, for instance in the background and character of the “detective”, Jay... Read morePublished 10 months ago by DT
This book was an intelligent crime novel, and I could not put it down once I got started. I loved the politics, history, and character depictions. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bbear
A little disappointing. I felt the plot was a little too far fetched, and it did not hang together. I liked the interaction with the racial tension, and the descriptions around... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Richard B.
An average read - as with so many books, it could have been cut by a hundred pages - author paid by the number of words?Published 11 months ago by edrisi45
Set in the 1980s with flashbacks to a decade earlier this is a complex, atmospheric novel. The author is writing within the detective novel genre but going beyond it into areas... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jennifertapir