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Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

Black Water Rising (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Attica Locke

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5124319,823 (3.44)1 / 127
Title:Black Water Rising
Authors:Attica Locke
Info:Serpents Tail (2010), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (2009)



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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I couldn't finish this. For some reason, it just would not hold my attention. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
for the most part, i liked this book. i didn't find that it was as well-paced as the book's description offers, and it wasn't particularly a 'thriller' for me - more like puzzle work. i found that the story dragged a little bit and could have been tightened up. having said that, locke has created some interesting characters, and the time (1981) and setting (houston) are great - very vividly evoked. i do feel a couple of loose threads remained, though*.

i tend to really enjoy southern fiction (USA), so picked this one up when Locke's more recent book and 2nd in this series, Pleasantville, was longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. since the character of Jay Porter originates in Black Water Rising, i had to start at the beginning. :)

now, i will move on to Pleasantville, and see how the ensuing 15 years have treated Jay Porter.

(* - and knowing the description for Pleasantville, it doesn't feel like those loose threads will be tied together. so... bummer.) ( )
  Booktrovert | Mar 31, 2016 |
I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, particularly when I found out that it was the first book by this author. Set in Houston, in the mid-70s during the oil crisis, it does a great job of evoking the political environment that was impacting that city at the time. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the movie Chinatown on that front.

I think maybe the author took on too many major plot points--although she handled them very well, and I never had trouble following what was happening, she brought up the civil rights movement in the 1960s, a strike by the dockworkers, corporate oil company greed, the real estate boom, and I just found that there was alot to get my head around. With one less issue, I might have been able to care more about all the others.

With that said, however, I will definitely seek out other books by Attica Locke. This was a well-written, interesting, fun read. ( )
  magerber | Feb 22, 2016 |
A somewhat straightforward mystery novel with a keen slant on being black in America during the 80's ( )
  nikon | Jan 18, 2016 |
A decent legal thriller with a heavy dose of political corruption and civil rights. It’s set in 1980-81 and struggling lawyer Jay and his wife Bernadine are in the wrong place at the wrong time and witness a crime. On the surface it appears the woman Elise has been attacked and they drive her to the police station. He combs the newspapers for more information, but no story appears on the police blotter about a soaking wet woman being nearly killed. Instead he finds an item about a white man being shot on the same night as the rescue and the fingerprints of a woman being found at the scene.

From this tiny tidbit, Jay puts himself into the thick of a corruption scandal involving a large oil company, unions, political big-shots and an old friend. A lot of it goes where you’d expect; Jay is bribed, warned and then his pregnant wife is used as leverage when neither of the first tactics work. A couple of bodies turn up and they’re just the ones you’d expect. The wife is a ninny about guns until a certain scene. At first, I wondered if Jay would remain friendless for the whole book, then an ally turns up and of course he’s not covered in moral rectitude. I just wish he had done the action hero bit instead of Jay constantly trying to be physical; it was just ludicrous and he never learned no matter how many times he banged the hell out of himself and ruined another suit. It kind of got to be funny.

Jay’s past is interspersed with the present storyline; how he went from civil rights activist to nearly criminal to lawyer. It’s a fascinating story that is entirely plausible. Real people are inserted into the narrative to boost the verisimilitude. Leaders fighting against racial prejudice and the new Jim Crow laws were often removed and railroaded with illegal tactics by the US government. It’s shameful and disheartening and this part of the story makes it apparent we haven’t come that far.

In terms of the corruption angle; I could buy it. I was a little older than the author was at the time the novel is set and I remember (vaguely) the oil crisis of the 1970s and what the government tried to do to thwart it should it happen again. The stockpiling and the oil reserve program. It was a system crying out to be gamed. ( )
2 vote Bookmarque | Sep 5, 2015 |
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If we are blinded by darkness,
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--- Annie Dillard
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061735868, Hardcover)

On a dark night, out on the Houston bayou to celebrate his wife's birthday, Jay Porter hears a scream. Saving a distressed woman from drowning, he opens a Pandora's Box. Not the lawyer he set out to be, Jay long ago made peace with his radical youth, tucked away his darkest sins and resolved to make a fresh start. His impulsive act out on the bayou is heroic, but it puts Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him is practice, his family and even his life. Before he can untangle the mystery that stretches to the highest reaches of corporate power, he must confront the demons of his past. A provocative thriller with an exhilarating climax, "Black Water Rising" marks the arrival of an electrifying new talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When African-American lawyer Jay Porter jumps into the bayou to save a drowning white woman in Houston, Texas, in 1981, he finds his practice and life in danger when he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation involving Houston's elite.

(summary from another edition)

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