Attica Locke's BLACK WATER RISING begins when its protagonist, Jay Porter, takes his pregnant wife Bernie out for special "moonlight cruise" on Houston's Buffalo Bayou. Nothing about the excursion, from the battered boat to the depressing view, is what he thought it would be.
Then they hear a woman screaming somewhere on the north end of the bayou and Jay's subsequent actions on that night thrust him into a "Pandora's Box" of trouble.
BLACK WATER RISING was one of the more powerful books I read this year. Powerful, because it really takes the time to explore the history and inner conflicts of it's main character, Jay Porter. You really get a sense of his struggles and regrets. While the plot is compelling on its own, what makes this novel truly great is its delving into Jay's activist past and his somewhat bleak and troubled present.
Not surprisingly, BLACK WATER RISING was nominated for numerous awards this year: the 2010 Edgar, a 2010 NAACP Image Award, and the list goes on.
If you're buying books as gifts this holiday season, please consider purchasing from your local independent bookshop. The level of customer service you'll receive is unmatched, you'll have the added benefit of making new friends of the staff, and you'll help support a local business.
Books featured in this post can be purchased from the Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles (firstname.lastname@example.org).