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Black Water    by T. Jefferson Parker order for
Black Water
by T. Jefferson Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Angela Landreth

Once again, Merci Rayborn is in the headlines. Merci is a single mom and also a homicide detective in Orange County. Her 67th investigation involves an attempted murder / suicide. The death of Gwen Wildcraft and the alleged suicide attempt of her husband Archie are big news because Archie Wildcraft is a police officer. Archie appeared to have it all - a beautiful wife, an elegant home, a healthy bank account, and a successful career. But how could he afford such a lovely home on a deputy sheriff's salary? And what would make a man kill a wife to whom he seemed utterly devoted? Despite circumstantial evidence that points towards Archie as the shooter, Merci is not yet willing to place him under arrest.

Those in authority question Merci's investigative skills. A year earlier, in The Blue Hour, Merci was involved in exposing a scandal within the police department - this has left her unpopular with her colleagues. Not only is this investigation going to determine Archie Wildcraft's fate; it also holds Merci's career in the balance. Merci checks every detail of the crime, but with the support of only half the department. Archie's claim of innocence is deemed dubious, especially since his memory is impaired by the bullet that is still lodged in his brain. Convinced that he is about to be arrested, Archie leaves the hospital to conduct his own investigation, and (against medical advise) attempts to regain his memory through hypnosis. Will this advance his investigation or harm his already critical condition?

Black Water is T. Jefferson Parker's tenth novel, but the first one I have read. What a wonderful introduction to an author. I am adding him to gift list, and am on my way to track down another of his books.

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