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Extended Audio Sample Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,236 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Attica Locke Narrator: Dion Graham Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget.

Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. But he's carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It is here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night he impulsively saves a woman from drowning in the bayou—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 power brokers, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Subtle and compelling.”

    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

  • “Locke, a screenwriter with both film and TV credits (including a forthcoming HBO miniseries about the civil rights movement) steers a gritty drama to a satisfying end…Locke remains an author to watch.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • 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

  • “Locke shines…this is a rare occasion where the hype is deserved…Locke seamlessly weaves history, suspense, and passion in this promising tale that will linger long after this season.”


  • 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

  • “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.”


  • “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

  • A 2009 Booklist Best Book for a Debut Crime Novel
  • Selected for the July 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2010 Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel
  • Selected for the 2010 Orange Prize Shortlist
  • Finalist for the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel
  • A 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Mystery/Thriller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Sherese | 2/20/2014

    " This book has no clear focus and honestly no mystery either. The writing is just all over the place despite the connecting storylines it didn't hold much interest for me and I couldn't wait to be done. The characters were drab,lack conviction and I found myself not rooting for main protagonist. That's a problem. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Robin | 2/13/2014

    " It is a book about a black lawyer (Jay) who goes up against Houston's corporate power brokers (big-oil). It is also about his past, and his white ex-girlfriend, who is now the mayor of Houston. Race and greed play a part in this story. It is the story of how Jay decides to do the "right thing" instead of taking the easier route of just walking away, even when he/family are threatened. This was a hard book for me to keep up my interest, but I am glad that I perservered in my quest to understand what was going on. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Denali | 2/12/2014

    " I'm giving this 5 stars to try to draw as much attention to this book as I can. It's a very well written, well paced, genre blending debut set in East TX in the late 70s/early 80s. Locke sketches scenes and layers stories with great economy. I will definitely be checking out her other book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mark | 2/12/2014

    " I loved the writing style - the details, the character development. The plot was good but a little predictable. I felt like it ended too early - too many unresolved issues. "

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