Cover image for Black water
Black water
Parker, T. Jefferson.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : Center Point Pub. ; Melbourne, Australia : Bolinda Pub., 2002.
Physical Description:
423 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
Format :


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X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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A beautiful young woman is dead in the bathroom of her home. Her husband - a promising young cop named Archie Wildcraft - is shot in the head but still alive. It looks like an attempted murder/suicide, but something tells Detective Merci Rayborn that there's more to the story. When the suspect vanishes from his hospital bed, he draws Merci into a manhunt that leaves the entire department questioning her abilities and her judgment. Is Archie's flight the act of a ruined mind, or a faithful heart? Is his account of the night his wife was murdered half-formed memory, or careful manipulation? Merci and Wildcraft head for a collision in a dizzying succession of cryptic clues, terrifying secrets, and painful truths.

Author Notes

Novelist T. Jefferson Parker was born in Los Angeles, California in 1953. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, in 1976, and initially worked as a reporter for a weekly newspaper. While writing for the Daily Pilot, he won three Orange County Press Club Awards.

His first novel, Laguna Heat, was made into an HBO movie starring Harry Hamlin, Jason Robards and Rip Torn. His other works include The Triggerman's Dance, Where Serpents Lie, The Blue Hour, Red Light, and Cold Pursuit. Silent Joe and California Girl won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2002 and 2005 respectively. Silent Joe also received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller.

When not working on his books, Parker spends his time with his family, hiking, hunting and fishing, and playing tennis. He enjoys diving, snorkeling, and travel. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Merci Rayborn, homicide detective for the Orange County, California, sheriff's department, has a crime scene that's a puzzler. And it's going to be very high profileupscale enclave of million-dollar estates, and one of the victims is a cop. Gwen Wildcraft is dead, and her husband, Archie, is unconscious with a severe head wound. Wildcraft is a patrol officer with the department, and his gun appears to be the murder weapon. Merci's superiors would prefer a quick call of murder-suicide, but her instincts tell her that's the wrong conclusion. Why would Archie choose to end this seemingly idyllic life when all who knew them said they were deeply in love? When Archie regains consciousness, his memory is spotty. Now he's suicidal because he wants to rejoin Gwen, but before he does, there is a vengeance killing to perform. The third entry in the Rayborn series is an excellent crime novel driven by Parker's recurrent theme of loss and isolation through illness or injury. Every significant character is coping with some type of loss, and their response to it is what defines them. A thoughtful, multilayered tale in which crime is a catalyst rather than the centerpiece. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

After 10 California noir cop thrillers, Parker may have finally settled on a series character to anchor at least a portion of his work: Merci Rayborn, a single mom consumed by her job as a homicide detective with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Blue Hour and Edgar-nominated Red Light both chronicled the professional fall from grace that left Rayborn a black sheep in the department, and she remains a fascinating (if somewhat distressing) character to watch. Without her colleagues' full cooperation, she plows into a thorny double shooting: a beautiful young woman, Gwen Wildcraft, is found dead in her lavish hillside home, while her husband, sheriff deputy Archie Wildcraft, lies in the garden with a bullet in his head. Archie manages to survive, but has little memory of what happened. Growing evidence, however, indicates that he murdered his wife, then failed at trying to kill himself. Despite the media clamoring for answers and political pressure mounting to arrest Archie, Rayborn's instinct tells her this was not a bungled murder/suicide. Instead, the case points her in other directions, toward an upstart biotech company, Russian mobsters and Archie's nearly impenetrable past. Parker takes great strides in unfurling Rayborn's life of quiet desperation and that of her immediate social circle her father, her partner on the force and her young son. Though lacking the kind of explosive finale that marks most of Parker's novels, this latest is a showcase for mood, setting and pace. $150,000 marketing campaign; national author tour. (Apr. 24) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Parker has written another winner. Black Water begins with the killing of a young woman and the wounding of her husband, a young sheriff's deputy named Archie Wildcraft. Is it the attempted murder/suicide that it appears to be or is it something more complex and sinister? Determining this is the task of Detective Merci Rayborn (from a previous Parker novel) and her partner, Paul Zamora, which becomes more complicated when Wildcraft, who has a bullet in his brain, checks himself out of the hospital and disappears. With an exciting and fast-paced plot and interesting and complex characters, this novel includes discussion of the biotech industry, the Russian Mafia, and the nature of brain injuries. Aasne Vigesaa does a solid job, effectively capturing the mood of the book. Highly recommended for all audio collections.DChristine Valentine, Davenport Univ., Kalamazoo, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.