"Black Water Rising" by Attica Locke is not one of those books. It wants to be, yes, but it's not. I picked it up last Saturday when the weather here in South London was gorgeous and really warm for a September day. My plan was to spend the entire afternoon on the balcony with a good book and I did. The book was not very good though. Actually it was really a disappointment, especially as it has had so much praise.
The plot is good, it has a lot going for it. The main character is a young-ish lawyer by the name of Jay - he has a strong, intelligent wife, a lazy secretary and a traumatic past. On his wife Bernie's birthday, their romantic evening on the river is ruined when they fish a young, terrified woman out of the water. Although Jay is adamant not to become involved in what becomes an increasingly mysterious and threatening situation, he slowly but surely gets dragged in. Not just into the case of the young woman from the river but also in a union strike which his father-in-law, the reverend, is championing. The case of the young woman is by no means straight-forward and it brings out memories from Jay's politically active past which ended in disaster.
So far so good. It all sounds really interesting. But somehow, somewhere, it all goes horribly wrong and it just becomes dull. Really, really dull. I'm not sure exactly what it is but I think it's quite possibly down to the main character. Jay painfully un-exciting. There is nothing, nothing, there to make me care about him. Actually that goes for most of the characters - the only exceptions being Jay's wife Bernie and her sister Evelyn who is a minor character.
It was a struggle to finish this one, it didn't become interesting at any point and the characters never came to life. What a waste of a good plot and a sunny afternoon.
Read it if: You can't fall asleep.