Black Water Rising
A NOVEL BY ATTICA LOCKE

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE 2010 ORANGE PRIZE
NOMINATED FOR A 2010 EDGAR AWARD
NOMINATED FOR A 2010 NAACP IMAGE AWARD
2009 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NOMINATED FOR A 2009 STRAND MAGAZINE CRITICS AWARD
INDIE NEXT PICK 2009 & 2010

In the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles comes a powerful new voice in American fiction: Attica Locke delivers a brilliant debut thriller readers will not soon forget…

Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl, and he runs his fledgling law practice out a dingy strip mall. But he’s long since made peace with his path to the American Dream, carefully tucking away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It’s here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night he impulsively saves a drowning woman’s life – and opens a Pandora’s Box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom of a tangled mystery that reaches into the upper echelons of Houston’s corporate powerbrokers, Jay must confront the demons of his past.

With intelligent writing that captures the reader from the first scene through an exhilarating climax, Black Water Rising marks the arrival of an electrifying new talent.

PRAISE & REVIEWS

“…[Locke] is able to write with a serious, stirring moral urgency akin to that of George Pelecanos or Dennis Lehane.”
—The New York Times

“Locke deftly moves between past and present action…[putting] her in the company of master thriller writers such as Dennis Lehane or Scott Turow…Attica Locke [is] a writer wise beyond her years.”

—Los Angeles Times

“An astonishingly accomplished debut…It’s a completely absorbing, gorgeously written early 1980s story… Locke will earn well-deserved comparisons to Dennis Lehane for this work…This author is destined for literary stardom.” 

Dallas Morning News

Black Water Rising is an excellent book by any measure, but as a debut, it is nothing short of astonishing.”

—BookPage

Black Water Rising [is] a strong and whip-smart debut from Attica Locke. Set in the author’s native Houston, it’s both a compelling mystery and a sharp, literate portrait of the social layers within that city’s black community.”

—Seattle Times

“Attica Locke is a vivid storyteller…Without pretence, she provides an engaging story about one man’s enduring struggle for justice and equality. It’s a must for your summer reading list.” 

Associated Press

“Locke gives readers a well-paced suspense tale…Let’s hope Locke has more novels in her. Any author who can make readers actually like a low-rent lawyer has talent to spare.” 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Locke flawlessly melds social commentary into an action-packed crime fiction, never allowing the briskly paced Black Water Rising to be bogged down by her scintillating look at racism.. Locke proves herself an author to watch with Black Water Rising, clearly one of the year’s best debuts.” 

South Florida Sun Sentinel

“A crackling thriller from Attica Locke…Locke’s writing is sharp and authentic; you can practically hear the Southern drawl emanating off the page…a writer we’ll need to keep an eye on”
—Sacramento Book Review

Black Water Rising reads like a hard-boiled thriller, but the real trick resides in Locke’s ability to personalize an overlooked part of American history and show how far-reaching, how entrenched, it is in today’s social, political, and cultural fabric.”


—San Francisco Bay Guardian

“First-novelist Locke presents a searing portrait of a man struggling to reconcile the bitterness of his life experiences with the idealism of his convictions. Like Dennis Lehane, she skillfully deploys the conventions of the thriller while also presenting biting social commentary, a sure sense of place, and soulful characters.”
— Starred Booklist

“Locke expertly etches a portrait of her anxiety-ridden protagonist, and she animates the complex plot with the assurance of a practiced screenwriter…”

Kirkus Reviews

“What a ride! Black Water Rising is a superlative debut; a wonderful treatise on the Texas 1980s; the best bad town novel in some time. Attica Locke is a stand-out in every imperative-young-writer way.” 

—James Ellroy, author of American Tabloid and L.A. Confidential

Black Water Rising is a stylish, involving literary thriller with a strong emphasis on human politics and character. An auspicious debut from Attica Locke.” 

—George Pelecanos, author of The Turnaround