Friday, April 30, 2010

#BookReview: Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

Move over Easy Rawlins, there's a new private eye in town and he goes by the name of Jay Porter. Set in 1980s Houston, Texas, Black Water Rising is the story of a 70s revolutionary turned attorney.  When a quiet evening out to celebrate his wife's birthday is interrupted by the disheveled appearance of a hysterical young, white woman, his quiet life takes an abrupt turn for the worse.

Believing that the young woman played a part in the death of a local man, Jay begins investigating her.  Surprise visits to his home and the strange man that's tailing him do nothing to dissuade him.  It's not until he realizes that the murder he thought he was investigating is nothing in comparison to what's really going on.  Woven into the mystery, but no less important, is the story of the pending strike by dockworkers in pursuit of equal pay and opportunities for African Americans.

At first I questioned why the book was set thirty years in the past, but upon further reading, it made perfect sense.  The backdrops of the previous Carter administration and fairly new Reagan administration play big parts of the storyline, as well as the city of Houston.

What did you like about this book?
Though the storyline could be a little overwhelming at times, it was very thought provoking.  I especially liked the main character's reflection on his involvement with the African Liberation Movement.

What did you dislike about this book?
At times the book dragged and I just wanted the author to pick up the pace. 

What could the author do to improve this book?
I would love to see a series with this character.  Because this book is set in the 80s, there is an opportunity to further develop the character over time, much in the same way that Walter Mosley has done with Easy Rawlins.





448pp
Published June 2009
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