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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Every appearance by T. Jefferson Parker's protagonist Merci Rayborn is a cause for celebration among fans of police procedurals. A warm, endearing, but tough heroine, she is filled with all the wry charm and expert insight we've come to expect from Parker's hard-edged storytelling. The author always gives his novels an extra dose of genuinely moving humanity, featuring honest character motivation and a gripping, energetic narrative.
Archie Wildcraft, a cop with a great career ahead of him, is found with a bullet in his brain, lying beside his murdered wife, Gwen. It looks like a botched murder-suicide, but Sergeant Merci Rayborn's gut instincts tell her differently. As Archie holds on by a thread, Merci is drawn further into the Wildcrafts' private lives and comes to believe that the young couple were deeply in love and that Archie's been framed. When Archie vanishes from the hospital, it appears he's on a vendetta, and it's up to Merci to cover for him until she has a chance to solve the case on her own. Eventually, she's led to the Russian mob and discovers awful secrets that she isn't sure she wants to hand over to the heartless district attorney.
Black Water gives voice to subtle yet resonating themes relating to loss, audacity, and vengeance. That sense of obsession and purpose is what makes this novel a standout in the Rayborn canon. The complexity of character detail and the poignant writing prove once again just what a superior stylist Parker remains. Merci is an Everywoman, a detective who doesn't merely do her job but in a sense actually is her job. (Tom Piccirilli)