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Black Water Rising Paperback – 12 Nov 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (12 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846687292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687297
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 938,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The debut novel of author Attica Locke, Black Water Rising, is an excellent and atmospheric read.

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.
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By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in 1981 Houston, Texas, this brings together three stories of which two are inspired by real events. The semi-factual elements are the (by then) pretty much redundant civil rights movement as championed by Martin Luther King, and the longshoremen strike in Houston dock in the early years of the Reagan era. The fictional tale entwined within these revolves around black lawyer Jay Porter, who rescues a woman from what might or might not have been an attempt on her life, and his subsequent involvement in the various union protests which to a large extent centre on racial discrimination. Towards the second half of the story, the emphasis shifts towards high-level corruption within the oil industry, and their attempts to keep prices high at a time when demand falls short of supply and the big oil companies adopt some highly dubious measures to store unused oil, methods that endanger the lives of hundreds if not thousands of residents living close to the secret storage facilities.

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.
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By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I never felt much towards this novel, other than lukewarm curiosity. From the description, you think there is something substantial here -- a modern American literary novel set in 80s Houston. It is simply a substandard crime novel masquerading as something more literary -- though, there is nothing really to get you thinking (unless you can't picture that America was still quite racist back then, and need it spelling out to you every few pages).

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.
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