Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Taking on Water

25745037When James Morrow, a social worker, first meets Kevin Flynn, he suspects the teen is being abused. To learn more about Kevin’s home life, he gets to know the boy’s father, Tucker, who’s a lobsterman. James is able to put his suspicions to rest, and the two families begin to form a friendship.

When a kid at the local recreation center dies of an overdose, Detective Maya Morrow adds the case to the long list related to the drug problem plaguing the small New Hampshire coastal town of Newborough. But her investigation gets her much too close to the dangerous players.

Both the Morrows and the Flynns are holding dark secrets, and when their lives collide, tragedy is inevitable.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Taking on Water by David Rawding is more than a tragedy. It's chaos. It's insanity. It's selfishness. I was not expecting the level of emotional intensity that this novel achieves. Taking on Water is a horrific theater of human nature. And it begins with James. 

James Morrow was abused as a young man. His father was an abusive alcoholic, always smelling of Jameson with a slap or a slur just awaiting any sort of motive. Readers will immediately connect with James based on his past alone. They will sympathize with him and dare to understand. As an adult, James helps children who are being abused. A former field agent, James now mans the phones, taking down information that could help save a child. Readers will respect James for what he does and it's evident that he is passionate about his career choice. But readers will also be a little afraid of James. While he's a good natured person who has a heavy past, James also has his own anger issues. There are times that he sees 'red' to the point where he feels as if he cannot control himself. So although readers will connect with James, they must be wary, hold back a little, because there is no happy ending. 

The plot does in fact start, and end, with James. When he meets a child at the rec-center who he believes may be being abused, James makes it a point to introduce himself to the parents. The two families become friends, of a sort. Meanwhile, James' wife Maya works as a police detective, investigating a new influx of heroin in her suburban town. Soon it's too late for everyone and disaster has struck. Rawding's writing style is factual with only necessary details. This technique makes his story incredibly believable, while also intriguing readers by providing them details that the characters lack. Taking on Water is a drug and murder mystery, but it's also much more than that. It's blunt, laced with curse words, brutal, and unforgiving. I was surprised by the dark turn the story took and am hereby warning future readers. A cliche comes to mind: revenge is a dish best served cold. And readers, this book is best read with a cold heart because there really is no happy ending.

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

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