Cover Image: Black Water

Black Water

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Member Reviews

An excellent debut novel. 
This book took my breath away. It’s grim, it’s disturbing and it’s chilling. 
A first class book and I can’t recommend it enough
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Wow. This book is a definite eye opener. It is a gritty dark story that is a compelling read. I read this book in one sitting. I had to know what happened. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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This book was amazing!  I read it in one sitting, it was that good.
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This book is unputdownable! Make sure that you have lots of time to dedicate to this book because you will not want to put it down once you start it.. I definitely recommend that you pick this one up but don't blame me when you stay up way past your bedtime because you just can't stop reading. Happy reading!
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A solid and gritty crime thriller that really gives a flavour of the criminal gangland scene in Ireland, as well as the difficulties facing the police in trying to deal with them. One of the real highlights of the book is the way the author develops his characters,  going to great lengths to give them depth and dimension. While some of the "baddies" are clearly evil, what impressed me more were the characters like Shay, a former guard with a violent streak,  who were struggling to overcome the darker sides of their nature. I also felt a strong connection to Jig, a young boy on the fringes of the gang, slowly drawn in by a combination of family circumstance and the glamour of power and money. This book did a really great job of showing how those on the fringes sometimes suffer the worst consequences.
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Thank you Netgalley and Black & White Publishing for the eARC.
Black Water packs one heck of a punch.  The book is intense and unputdownable ... what a read.  It's an unflinching look at gang life in Dublin.  Horrifying, scary and with parts that made me uncomfortable, it also made me sad and angry.  But it's so well written, the story so engrossing and eye-opening, I couldn't stop reading.  
Kids as young as 9 or 10 are recruited by the gangs.  Coming from criminal families who can't or won't look after them, they are left to roam the streets while their parents drink or drug themselves into oblivion - easy pickings for the gangs.  One of the boys, 10-year old Jig, is recruited by Ghost. Smacked around by his parents, with no supervision, the boy's only love is his dog, Bowie, left to him by his late grandfather.  Being singled out by Ghost makes him feel important and like a man.  One of his tasks is to leave a message for a woman whose son owes the gang money.  She ends up dead.  The Guardia's Tara Crowe gives her it her all to bring down Ghost, endangering her home life.  When one of her fellow officers is killed along with a young girl, putting another officer in a coma, all hell breaks loose.
This book is a real eye opener, shining a light on the horrors of drugs and the people who make their living from dealing.  They are utterly ruthless and the cruelties they commit sickening and terrifying.
The ending isn't necessarily a happy one, but a realistic one.  This was an excellent read, highly recommended!
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Black Water, a debut novel by journalist Cormac O'Keefe is hard to read -- in a good way.  The story is one of a drug gang's omnipresent grip on a poor neighborhood in Dublin and an all out effort by the Guardai to take them down after a traffic stop gone horribly wrong, it is also about individual struggles and perspectives on what it means to live in the midst of chaos, violence, generations of poverty and crime, with virtually no way out, lack of engagement and those who for one reason or another have the job or a passion to do something about it.  While it is similar to other novels about poor neighborhoods and the characters that inhabit them, O'Keefe's characters and their stories ultimately make this one to read and possibly to reread. O'Keefe manages to avoid stereotyping while writing a book about easily stereotyped people and neighborhoods. I find myself chewing on the stories and back stories of at least eight of the characters (your list might be different from mine) and feeling deeply satisfied that I understand -- not where they are going -- but what makes them tick. Jig, a ten year old boy is well on his way to the gang side, running their errands and skipping school with no one much caring or at least caring enough.  But he's also a promising soccer player and he keeps on showing up for practice. And, he has a dog he loves and cares for that once belonged to his Granda, who was a loving spot in a dark life. He joins in his friends' boisterous bonfires and longs for the attention of one of the neighborhood girls, all the  while watching the time for his next meet up with Ghost, his handler from the gang and a former soccer player. O'Keefe's story of Jig's family is a novel within a novel. One of domestic violence, family loyalty and adherence to the view that one never rats, even when a family member's safety is at risk. At times, you might feel lost but if you stick with it, the pieces are all put in place just where they should be.  As an USA reader, some of the terminology was new but that's part of the fun of a good book about a different country and culture.  Keep reading. Do not let that get in your way. Google the terms.  Flow with the incredible dialogue. Will you be satisfied at the end? Probably not. But was it the "right" ending?  I think so. O'Keefe never lets go of the complexity of his subject and that is most satisfying.
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