Friday, June 4, 2010

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

In Black Water Rising, Jay Porter is a lawyer with a not-so-promising practice and a chequered past. During an outing with his wife, he rescues a woman from the bayou waters. Instead of becoming a hero, his good deed leads him down a troubled path and puts himself and those he loves in danger. From the front lines of the civil rights movement in the 60s to the upper levels of Houston's politicians and businessmen in the 80s, the story centres on Jay, who can't seem to catch a break and find a safe place to settle down.

I really liked this book. It's intelligent and well written. I loved how the author tied crime, politics, labour disputes, and the civil rights movement all together to tell this story. The tension of the civil rights movement and Jay's past involvement added an entirely different dimension to the story that kept me interested until the very last page.

I had heard great things about the book and was really looking forward to reading it. While I found it to be really good, I'm not sure that it lived up to that hype that I'd heard. The story featured good characters and plenty of action, but I may have been influenced by the really intense thriller I read just prior to this one.

As for characters, I loved Jay. I thought he was a fabulous character, who tried to run from his past but didn't manage to get too far away from it. I was got caught up in his story and was cheering him on from my favourite armchair. I just wanted him to return to his wife safe and sound.

This book was won numerous awards and was nominated for a number of others. Attica Locke is definitely an author to watch.

New word alert:
stevedoring (page 118) = dockworker
sorors (page 270) = sorority sister

Favourite quotes:'s only your mind that can't move out of the prison of its past.


Want to read other reviews? Here's one from Heather at Books and Quilts, one another from Deanna at My Tragic Right Hip and another from Carina at Reading Through Life.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

For more information about the author, please visit Attica Locke's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke, HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9780061735851(Trade Paperback), 427p.


  1. Good review. Glad you liked it.

  2. I find that quite often when a book receives a lot of hype it just doesn't quite live up to it. I think it's because we end up expecting even more than usual. Great review!

  3. Hey Darlene,
    I think you're right. From what I heard, I was expecting a lot from this book. It's not fair really. I might have liked it more had I not been expecting so much from it. If that makes any sense.

    Still a good read, though.

  4. I'm glad you liked it! It was definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.

  5. Hey Nomadreader,
    You are not alone. There's lots of positive buzz about this one. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I live in Houston, but I hadn't heard of this book yet.

    You are invited to add a link to your review to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon
    ( ). The Saturday Review happens every week, and it's a great place to find links to other bloggers' reviews.

  8. I also enjoyed this book, and mostly Jay as a character, but he also drove me nuts at times. I read this a while back and posted my review here, if you'd like to see it.


Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, I've been getting lots of spam comments, so I'm turning on word verification to help keep spammers away. I know it's a pain; I don't like it either. Hopefully, in time I'll be able to turn it off again. Thank you!