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Black Water Rising | [Attica Locke]

Black Water Rising

Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke, a powerful new voice in American fiction, delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget. Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.
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Publisher's Summary

Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke, a powerful new voice in American fiction, delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget.

Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It is here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night in a boat out on the bayou when he impulsively saves a woman from drowning - and opens a Pandora's box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom of a tangled mystery that reaches into the upper echelons of Houston's corporate power brokers, Jay must confront the demons of his past.

With pacing that captures the reader from the first scene through an exhilarating climax, Black Water Rising marks the arrival of an electrifying new talent.

©2009 Attica Locke; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (164 )
5 star
 (42)
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 (47)
3 star
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2 star
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3.7 (71 )
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3 star
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Story
4.0 (73 )
5 star
 (34)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    BethB 12-07-10
    BethB 12-07-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Overall
    "Compelling period story"

    I enjoyed this book so much that I checked back to see if there were any other books available by Attica Locke, and happened to read the review from August 9. I felt compelled to respond. It may be that the reviewer was not alive during the time the story took place, so could not relate to the historical context and issues, or was so familiar with them that they needed no explanation. Either way I suppose that this means that the author failed in making the period seem real for that reviewer in her fiction. By the same token, it may be that I found the story immensely compelling for the reason that I was a young teenager at that time, and the events, people, issues and context of the time are alive and well in my sub-conscious, though I paid little enough attention to them at the time. I thought the political movements, labor union issues and “other stuff” added context and weight to the plot, and the book would have been lightweight without them. I thought the book superb, and I hope that readers are not put off this book by that review.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 09-21-12
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 09-21-12 Member Since 2006

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1067
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    225
    212
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    2
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    "Promising Young Writer"

    After listening to Attica Locke's excellent 2nd mystery, "The Cutting Season," I went back to try this one, her first. ""Black Water Rising" is completely different - more of the noir school, which is usually not my favorite sort of mystery.

    But this is good! Really good. Set in 1980's Houston, "Black Water Rising" is just as atmospheric and dangerous as the title suggests. Our main character has a past in the black-power movement, and that affects just about his every thought and act. He's now burned and disillusioned and determined to avoid trouble and politics, but he keeps getting pulled back in, sometimes simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The book is very much from his point of view. There are other characters of interest (I wish we knew more about his wife's thoughts and feelings, for example), but Jay Porter definitely carries the book well. There's lots of action and suspense, and all the diverse and complicated plot lines come together in believable ways. I was completely drawn into this world.

    This narrator is flat out wonderful! His voice is pure velvet and adds a lot to the experience.




    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 11-04-12
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 11-04-12 Member Since 2010

    I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    180
    ratings
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    68
    66
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    41
    17
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    Story
    "A Remarkable Story Teller"
    What made the experience of listening to Black Water Rising the most enjoyable?

    It started out with one of the best first chapters I have ever read. I was hooked immediately. The setting is 1981 in Houston, TX. The main character, Jay Porter, is a young black lawyer just scraping by with small jobs. His father-in-law gets Jay involved with the representation of the black harbor workers that vote to go on strike. There is some conflict with the separate white union. This is a complex story that has some back and forth in Jay's history, but it all comes together to make the story more complete. For her first book, Attica Locke is a very accomplished story teller with pacing and fun dialog. I must also point out that this story has a theme of racism running through it that rings true to the time and circumstances. If Attica is named after Atticus Finch, she is living up to her name.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    This is not your standard mystery / thriller, but the story is compelling and scary at times. I found the story very credible and some of the political back story was very timely with our political and financial situation today. I was constantly thinking about the story when I didn't have time to listen. I couldn't wait to hear what happened next.


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I recognized Dion Graham from some of his acting roles, especially in one of my favorite series, "The Wire". He did a wonderful job with the narration and made the main character, Jay Porter, come to life in my mind.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely.


    Any additional comments?

    I never buy actual books anymore, but I had to add a first edition hard copy of this book to my library because this new author is going to be a huge success as she gets more books in front of readers. I can't wait to read the next book by Attica Locke.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Weston, Australia 11-14-13
    Cheryl Weston, Australia 11-14-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    12
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    31
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    Story
    "Well written suspence"

    This is a well written suspenseful novel. I was engaged form the first page to the last. I will now seek out other books by this author.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joanilla45 Berkeley, California 10-26-12
    joanilla45 Berkeley, California 10-26-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    54
    7
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    2
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    Story
    "Best of both social history and mystery"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The best thing about a good mystery is how patterns start to emerge from the stew of details; the best thing about a social history is how a seemingly small and insignificant event can be shown as crucial to larger historical processes. This book delivers both.


    Any additional comments?

    And what an amazing reader!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    snd220 01-18-13
    snd220 01-18-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    5
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling Blend of Race, Politics, and History"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the blending of historical and political perspectives. Jay's struggles and worries were compelling. The characters had debth and I really liked the reality of his relationship with his wife.


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Dion gave Jay's turmoil and fears life... He lifted up Jay's pride in being an organizer and belonging to something greater than himself. He did a great job leading us through the many turns of this story.


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted more... more... more. I wish there was a bit more story to wrap up the path Jay takes at the end.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrianne 08-29-14
    Adrianne 08-29-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story"
    What disappointed you about Black Water Rising?

    Too much swearing for me.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Attica Locke? Why or why not?

    I loved The Cutting Season by Attica Locke but was disappointed by the language in this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Henrico, VA, United States 08-09-10
    Dawn Henrico, VA, United States 08-09-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    175
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    31
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    "Is There an Abridged Version?"

    The only reason this book is getting three stars from me is because of the great narration by Dion Graham. If I'd been reading hard copy, I wouldn't have finished the book. It began with great promise and I was very excitied - good plot, great reader. Then the author went on long, boring, rambling accounts of political movements from back in the day, and labor union issues, and all sorts of other stuff that really didn't add anything to the plot and only marginally added to character development. At least half of this book could have been edited out. By three quarters in, I just wanted it to be OVER. And don't be fooled by the comparisons to Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, two authors I love. Attica Locke is not even close.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie CROWN POINT, IN, United States 04-23-13
    Laurie CROWN POINT, IN, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I did not like narrator"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I did not like the narrator. He seemed to used a hushed uneven tone that ruined my enjoyment of the story. When he spoke at introduction and the end he was fine. But not during the narration of the story.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Different narrator or if the narrator would have used his normal tone of voice.


    What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

    I am sorry, but I did not like his performance at all. He reminded me of Phil Dumfy when he was pretending to be Clive Bixby (Modern Family).


    Do you think Black Water Rising needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. The book tied up the loose ends.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have enjoyed the story more with a different narrator. I am not really able to tell how much was not liking the story and how much was just the narration.
    The story itself and the setting of the 80s was good and seemed to have been well thought out.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SV Cor Palm Desert CA 11-18-12
    SV Cor Palm Desert CA 11-18-12

    Audio Queen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    74
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Know your Narrator"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, the minute it started
    and I recognized the narrators voice:
    I was truned off.
    He narrrated Waking with Enemies and it was soooooo disgusting
    -that was all I could think about.
    Anyone needing a job so badly,
    they would narrate Waking with Enemies leaves you thinking he would narrate any kind of bad book.
    Had to stop listening.
    My fault I should have looked at the narrator before purchase.
    A Lesson well learned,

    Long story short:
    A Police person was moving my car,
    and Waking with Enemies was playing,
    and I did not realize it until he got out and I got in.
    THEN, I knew why he could not look me in the face;
    he was so embarrassed and then I was.


    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Stephen
    London, United Kingdom
    1/16/10
    Overall
    "Thoughtful political thriller"

    I downloaded this after hearing Attica Locke talk about her why she began it. The atmospheric, gripping opening, showing her skills from being a film and television writer for over ten tears prior to writing this book, sets the scene for the ?thriller? side of the book. However there is more to this novel. Some people may engage with it accordingly, as I did, but some may feel the book drags in places or may even lose interest in it. It seems to have been born from a mediation on how Attica Locke?s parents changed from being involved in the civil rights movement, to becoming successful middle class professionals, somehow ?forgetting? the struggles of their younger selves, and ceased to continue fighting for the rights of those still without a chance because of the colour of their skin. The book is set in Houston,Texas in the 1980?s, and in the backstory the 1970?s. For me, White British and born in the 1960?s, this gave a fascinating and involving history lesson. The politics of the two decades form the identity of the main character; who he is, and therefore why he thinks and does what he does in the intertwined mystery of the main plot. On a broader canvas this is a book about how we all change in our lives; we lose or alter our ideals and, for good or for bad, how we deal with that fact. I have a few minor complaints, but find they are overshadowed by the strengths, and indeed potential strengths (although she is a writer this is her first novel) of the writing. Aside from the historical and political aspects, Attica Locke gave me a vivid sense of the characters of the people, including the bit players, and the places which they inhabit. She can also be disarmingly funny. What is also great about this as a listening experience is Dion Graham?s gorgeously rich voice giving the true sound of Houston, something I would have not experienced reading the page. I found this book succeeds in being involving, entertaining and thought provoking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    coventry, United Kingdom
    11/21/10
    Overall
    "too many metaphors"

    Nothing in this book was ever just itself. Everything was 'like' something else. it became very tiring. The plot was unrealistic and the female characters were all cyphers (preganant wife, career woman, bad girl made good). I did finish it, which is more than I can say for some books, so a two star rather than a one star.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jaj
    loughborough, leics., United Kingdom
    7/8/10
    Overall
    "struggling to make myself carry on listening."

    which ain't never a good sign!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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