Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke (18 July — 20 July)

I think I liked this book. I’m not sure, though. Has this ever happened to you? At first I wasn’t sure I’d keep reading it, then it got interesting and I devoured it, and then the ending was sort of okay. Hmm.

Well, let’s stick to the facts. The novel opens with our protagonist, Jay Porter, taking his pregnant wife out for a birthday “cruise” on Buffalo Bayou in Houston. That gets quotation marks because the boat is kinda crappy and so is the captain. But Jay makes the most of it, at least until the shooting starts. When it’s done, Jay fishes a woman out of the bayou and takes her to the police station, figuring to have done a good turn. But when he later finds out that there was a dead man left behind, he gets a little nervous. And when he starts getting followed? More nervous. And when he starts getting threatened? Well, you know. Meanwhile there’s a dockworkers strike that Jay’s father-in-law wants Jay, as a lawyer, to get involved with, which means he will have to go talk to the his ex-girlfriend from back in his civil rights heyday (this takes place in 1981). Also there is Jay’s current case involving a prostitute and also some sneaky oil tycoons (shocker?). All in all, it’s an adventure of a novel.

I just felt like the ending was a real cop-out [spoiler alert?]. Locke spends several hundred pages getting me interested in this whole conspiracy thing, and then the conspirators get away with it but then Jay is like, “I’ma take them down!” and then the book ends. And I would certainly have rather seen them either taken down in the novel or just left to get away with it, or even to have ended the novel before they got away with it if ambiguity was the word here. Meh.

Rating: 6/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2009)

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