Thursday, May 13, 2010

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream.  He runs his fledgling 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...even his life.

Houston, TX in 1981 was a city built on oil, political corruption, and one festering with racial tension.  Jay is trying to live his life and provide for his coming family, but seems to be having a hard time doing it.  He doesn't have many paying clients and the few he does have aren't making him rich.  When the birthday celebration he planned for his pregnant takes a horrible turn, his life is thrown into chaos that threatens to bring his college indescretions back to his present.  Jay, because of his past, lives on a almost paranoid ledge that he never seems to be able to climb off of.  He sleeps with a gun under his pillow plus owns 2 others.  He's scared of the police and what could happen if he were to tell the police what happened the night of his wife's birthday.

The book is an account of what happens in his head and in his life when forces out of his control drag him into a conspiracy that he has no way of figuring out who all the players are.  This is where the book started to lose me.  There are a lot of secondary charcaters, that while you know they are neccesary to the storyline, don't seem to be fully fleshed out.  At times it's almost hard, at least for me, to keep track of who everyone is and where exactly they fit into the story.  The main bad guy of the book, is barely seen, and when he does make an occastional appearance, it's brief and fleeting.  I wanted more of the motivations from the man himself.  Without anything being told from his point of view, the premise didn't seem to be as real as it could have been.

My other problem was where the book ended.  The book ends at a place that is good for Jay.  His life seems to be claming down, his baby is newly born, and his career is starting to take on new aspect.  What the book is missing is the solution to the conspiracy that caused all the problems to being with.  What I wanted to see was the trial, and how Jay would handle such a large case.  Would the Bad Guy continue to use intimidation to fight back even with the civil suit going forward?  The book ended in such a way that if it was a TV show, I would expect a continuation message at the bottom of the screen.

Now I know I'm in the minority on this one, most of the reviews I read before I started reading the book were glowingly positive.  This was a book I had every intention of loving, and maybe my problem lies there.  I went into it thinking I was going to fall in love, and I just felt lukewarm like for it.  Everything that normally makes me love a book were there, including a setting that was perfectly chosen to frame a plot and a cast of characters that seemed to be at home amongst the events enfolding for the reader.  The author is a brilliant wordsmith who can describe a scene in such detail that I would feel like I was there.  She is truly talented and I would be more than happy to read her next novel, I just wish I would have liked this one more. 

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Please visit Attica Locke at her website to find out more about her.

Vist more stops on the tour to find out what other great bloggers thought.


Jenny said...

I thought this was a good book, but I didn't love it the way I had expected I might. You wrote a great and fair review though!

Alexia561 said...

Sorry you didn't love this book as much as you thought you would. Thought you explained everything well in your review, and did a great job of mentioning the good points as well!

Sometimes books just don't speak to us for some reason. Nothing to do but move on to the next one and hope it's a better fit.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Okay, I'm just going to ask it...How can a book be about a conspiracy and then not resolve it? I could see if this was maybe part of a series, but it doesn't look like the case. So sorry you were disappointed. It sucks when a book doesn't live up to your expectations. Great review!

Anonymous said...

Well, it certainly sounds promising, but sometimes a story just doesn't work for whatever reason. Thanks for the honest review!

Staci said...

I'm right in the middle of this one Ryan...not sure what I'm thinking about it quite yet, but I so appreciate your honest thoughts on this one.

nomadreader said...

I'm definitely in the "love it" camp for this one. I thought I would have trouble keeping track of the characters, but I didn't, even though I read this book over ten days. I liked it while I was reading it, and the second half was so suspenseful I could not put it down. After finishing it and pondering it, I realized how much I loved it. It all came together for me beautifully. I'm eagerly awaiting more from Attica Locke.

Steph said...

I appreciate your honest review. It sounds like the elements of a terrific novel were there -- it just didn't click with you. :-)

bookmagic said...

Sounds like it had promise it just couldn't fulfill. Maybe that's why your expectations were high. Love the name Attica though