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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 May 2011
I downloaded this with great expectations as I love reading new authors, however this book made very little impression on me and to be honest I got bored quite quickly.
It had all the promise for a good story ie Civil Rights,Southern politics and the Oil industry but failed to deliver.
This was such a shame because despite my lack of enthusiasm Attica Locke still has good writing skills and I think she is one to watch.
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
So the story kicks off with Jay & Bernadine Porter taking a late night cruise down Buffalo Bayou in celebration of Bernie's birthday. What starts off as a romantic evening is soon ruined when the couple hear a womans screams for help, followed by gunshots somewhere from off over the banks of the bayou. They are then faced with a moral dilemma of wether or not to stop and try to help the woman, or to high-tail it out of there before things get any worse. Before they can make come to a decision their debate is interrupted as the woman stumbles over the banks and plummets into the black waters below. Jay instantly rushes to help the woman for fear of her drowning and helps her back onto their boat. And so begins the story.

What follows for Jay is days of unrest, after leaving the woman on the steps of the police station, hoping she will seek help and keep mention of Jay and Bernadine out of her stories. Soon, Jay has bigger problems: his friends and family are mixed up in a battle for equal rights. Marches are being organized and the black folks of Texas are fighting for the same rights as the whites. As a lawyer, Jay is being called left and right for help in tackling the mayor and the Cole Corporation who have a big hand in the politics of Houston. Soon enough these two stories intertwine along with a host of other well written and beautifully portrayed aspects of Jays tale.

What Locke has managed to do here, with her first novel, is capture an important time in America's history. The race wars & the fight for Black Power. The oil and petroleum disputes taking place in the ports of Texas. It is a time of change and excitement and that raw energy is effortlessly entangled in the personal stories of Jay and Bernadine. Yes, this is marketed as a crime story. But it's so much more. It's quite a heavy read and it will demand alot of your attention but if you take an interest in its subject matters and like your crime thrillers with a bit of meat on their bones then I don't think you'll be disappointed with this offering. Attica Locke is most certainly a name to be keeping an eye on!
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VINE VOICEon 17 December 2010
The book was enjoyable enough but the crime/mysterty element wasn't all that gripping nor did it seem to be the focus of the book, which was a more movie-style exploration of a time, place and society. The slow pace was interesting but fell down in places as little seemed to happen. The issues raised, though, were interesting and kept the story going, although I'd have rather kept reading for plot and excitement and character.
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2010
I felt there was a lot if promise in the plot and general premise of the book, but for me this wasn't delivered.

As a first novel it certainly isn't a bad effort. The plot hangs together well and there is enough substance to it to make you want to read on. However, I didn't feel it was engaging enough for me to be unable to put it down, and I didn't identify with characters enough to have any real sort of connection with them.

Having said this, I felt the political issues raised in the story were very intersting - offshoots of the civil rights movement in a more modern era with the struggles of racial minorities in 80s American culture; the corruption inherent in the oil industry and the effects that this can have on everyday people but also the notion of one man standing up against the masses to make their cause known.

I feel the main barrier between me and the book was the choice of language. Locke cleverly uses language to make you visualise how people speak, and while I thought this brought an extra dimension to the book, it took me longer to read and I felt my attention dwindling the further I went. If the plot/characters had grabbed my attention from the start, however, this may have been completely different.
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on 29 July 2016
This novel should be recognised as one of the outstanding novels that has come out from recent Black American writers over the last decade. Locke's recognition that unfortunately even with a Black American as President there is tremendous tension between Whites and Black Americans in today's America. Locke's hero is a black American living in Houston Texas. He is a clever lawyer . He does not want to get involved in politics and tries to get out of being in the forefront of a demonstration by black dock workers but his black acquaintances
pressurise him into using his old relationship with the white female mayor into trying to get her to overtly pressurise the white oilmen to ensure that black workers are not discriminated against. Her hero ,Jay, senses that he is going to lose that fight but he tries to bring to justice an old white oil docker who has been involved in the beating of a young black boy. Jay is able to get the old records regarding the rise of the oil family which dominates the oil industry in Houston Texas but when it comes to the possibility of prosecuting the big oil family
of getting the evidence brought out either by the press or the court the witnesses are not prepared to testify and Jay Porter is lucky to be alive in spite of the attempts to kill him and
there is a suggestion that were it not for his old relationship with.the white mayor he would have been killed. Locke is a very fine writer and able to leave the reader a sense of the problems of today's America.
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VINE VOICEon 22 January 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book gets off to a slow start. Then it has a slow middle. Finally, it has a slow ending. A bit like the Houston oil layered onto the book. It's an interesting novel; well written and long (400+ pages). There's loads of detail and plenty of great description but it just seems to take so long to actually get on with the plot. Personally, I didn't like the characters too much but that's not to say Locke hasn't developed them well. I would have enjoyed a faster tempo and a little bit more action before halfway through. The incident that sets everything in motion is so low-key that I didn't feel like this was going to be one of those un-put-downable books and it isn't. I found myself struggling to get back to it and losing the direction of things quite easily. Again, that could all be on my side and not the author's. But somehow it just doesn't live up to the hype on the cover. Three stars for an average read. It is a good book to read in bed as it won't keep you up turning the pages to see what happens next.
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on 12 July 2011
I found Black Water Rising a chore to read. The pace is slow and parts of the book reminded me of lessons on race relations in America. If I'm reading a novel, I don't expect something that feels like a lecture. The plot hangs together quite well and there are some interesting twists; but I felt the tale would benefit from some heavy editing.
Perhaps the book suffers from preconceptions. Anything tackling racism in America with a lawyer as a main character is bound to remind the reader of To Kill a Mockingbird. When the author's name brings Atticus Finch to mind with every glance at the cover, it's impossible to forget the earlier book and such comparison is harsh on this book.
There are some peripheral issues in here that could provoke debate in a Reading Group inclined to range beyond the scope of the book itself and it may be of interest to groups for this reason.
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on 20 September 2010
There's really not much here that hasn't been done much much better elsewhere. The central plot - big corporation doing bad things - is a pretty tired cliche anyway and Locke brings nothing new to it, unless you count slowing down the pace so much that events that finer writers would get us through in a chapter or two take up the whole book.
The secondary narrative, about the central character's involvement in the civil rights movement, doesn't really amount to that much either.
A note from the writer at the end explains the origin of the opening scenes; the opening is a very effective set piece but, actually, knowing that it is based in reality only seems to underline how lacking in engaging imaginative detail this book is.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a story based on black lawyer in Houston by the name of Jay Porter. He ultimately witnesses a murder along with his pregnant wife. We see him try to distance himself from his past where he was involved with the Civil Rights Movement. The story itself isn't bad but it's not great. This book is also an incredibly hefty read as well as being a very slow starter. Having read it and looked at the reviews there are very mixed feelings about this book and I think in all honesty it is down to personal choice of book genre. The writing is good, but if you have no interest in the topic you will be hard pushed to find yourself drawn to the story in any way. Not bad, just not my cup of tea!
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on 26 September 2010
This book just didn't grab me. i usually write longer reviews but there is not much to say about this one. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen and then you reach the end of the book and still nothing exciting has happened. Don't get me wrong, this book is not really bad. It's just not very interesting at all. It's just OK.
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