11 Jun 2010



On a dark night in Houston, Jay Porter hears a scream. Saving a woman from drowning in the bayou, he opens a Pandora's box.

As activist in his youth, now a lawyer and expectant father, this small act of heroism becomes a threat to his work, his family and even his life, yet he can't walk away from the corruption he glimpses. But before he can untangle the mystery that stretches to the highest reaches of corporate power,he must confront the secrets of his past.

..... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: The boat is smaller than he imagined. And dingier.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Years earlier, Jay had stumbled on his first sit-in on the way to class and decided then and there he'd rather be a part of history than study it.

My first thoughts on this novel being if I wasn't hooked in the first few pages, I was by the time I reached page 80 or thereabouts.

A wonderful debut novel by Attica Locke, it's no surprise it made it onto the Orange Prize short-list. Story-telling at its best, Locke layers layer upon layer to create a story full of suspicion and paranoia.

It is also that very same suspicion and paranoia that, to me, is the book's downfall as it all gets rather tedious and, towards the end, rather implausible, the author seeming to lose her way just over half way through.

Overlong and perhaps too political for my taste, I lost interest in both the plot and the characters, no longer really caring what happened to them.

Sadly lacking a good, strong female lead, I felt that for a women author the two main female characters (Bernie and Cynthia) were pitifully inadequate and poorly written.

A disappointing ending which is a shame as the novel started on such a high note.

Black Water Rising was purchased from Book People.

A good friend of Pen and Paper see HEATHER'S THOUGHTS on Black Water Rising. Oh and do let me know if you have read it, I'd love to hear your views.


Jessica said...

This is the 2nd review of this I have read and both have been bad. Its a shame really as its something a different genre on the short list - the other blog that didnt like it was farmlanebooks

Betty Manousos said...

So glad to hear husband dearest is back from hospital :)
I don't like books with political content either.
You write such good reviews, Tracy.
You never fail to impress me.
B xoxo

Trac~ said...

Awww.. what a shame that it started off good but lost it's way completely by the time you got half way through. I will remember not to pick this one up - thanks for the review and have a great day and a great weekend! :o)

serendipity_viv said...

Sorry to hear the ending was pants. I hate that in a book.

Nina said...

Sorry to hear that the females wheren't the greatest characters and also that the ending dissapointed you. I do like the cover of this book and the summery sounded really nice. :)

Kelly said...

It's a shame that after getting off to such a good start it fizzled in the end.

I don't always like books with political leanings, either. Also, I associate bayous with Louisiana more than TX.

Hope you enjoy your next book more.

Heather said...

I hadn't considered that since this book was shortlisted for a prize for female writers that it should have strong female characters.

I did like all the political details and comments. I was too young at that point to pay attention to the news but it does put a few of my parents' comments into perspective.
Will link your review on my blog. Thanks.

Mystee said...

Visiting for the blog hop :) Love your blog.


MOLLYC said...

Give Neal my love. I send healing thoughts. oxo molly

Alexia561 said...

So glad that Husband dearest is home! Tell the man that he needs to rest up so he can recover!

Sorry to hear that this book was a disappointment. I think it's somehow worse when a book has a great premise and then doesn't fulfill it's promise. Great job on the review!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Well, I myself haven't read it, but my Mom has. I'm not sure if she liked it or not, she never says.....

Really disappointing, when the ending falls flat. :(

Here's to better books in future!

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

I am glad hubby is on the mend and tell him I second your entreaties to take it easy so he heals properly instead of having a relapse!! Got that, Mr.Petty Witter!!

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. Thanks for all the hard work that you put into it.

All the best, Boonsong

tattytiara said...

Nothing like a hospital to remind us how divine normal can be, eh? Glad your husband's home, and sorry the book disappointed.

Traci said...

I've been waiting for this review. Sorry to hear that the book's ending did not live up to its promise.

Jenners said...

Good Lord ... you've been on a book review tear, haven't you? : )

I don't know why this sounds familiar but it does. I must have read about it somwehere else too. I do like the excerpts you shared.