Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Water's Edge" Review

Water’s Edge by Robert Whitlow was sent to be as an advanced review copy by Thomas Nelson Publishers. My husband read this one, and he helped me with this review!
In Water’s Edge, Tom Crane is a successful young lawyer in a major Atlanta law firm.  He has a beautiful girlfriend, a nice apartment, and is about to make partner at the firm.  When his father, a small town lawyer from Tom’s home town, and another man from the town drown in a fishing accident, Tom needs to go home to take care of his father’s affairs.  Just before leaving, Tom’s world crumbles.  He loses his job, his girlfriend leaves him, and he still has to deal with his father’s death.
Upon returning to his home town, Tom starts closing his father’s law firm and discovers that his father’s death might not have been an accident.  Upon further investigation, he discovers nearly 2 million dollars in one of his father’s accounts and evidence that his father might have been involved in fraud.  Meeting the daughter of the other victim of the boating accident, Tom must navigate the deceptive and confining roads of small town America to find the truth, both about his father, and about his own faith.
I have mixed feelings about this book.  For the most part, it was very well written.  The characters developed at a good pace, with only one major exception.  The descriptions of a small town were accurate, and painted a very good picture.  You really got the impression that you were right in the middle of the situations.
But, there were a few problems I had with the book.  The first was the abrupt change of heart that the main character had.  One moment he is a skeptic about God; perhaps even so much as to say that he thought it all a complete waste of time.  Then, one morning, he was sitting at his father’s desk and read a verse that his father had written before his death.  After reading the verse, Tom suddenly has a complete change of heart and becomes a true believer.  This change was just so abrupt, without anything leading up to it, that it seemed unbelievable. However, maybe this has truly happened to others and this is just unbelievable to me because it was not my experience.
Also in this novel, Tom was faced with the decision to stay in his small home town and take over his father’s small law practice or to go back to Atlanta and try to get a job at another large law firm.  The author certainly leads the reader down the path that staying in his home town is the “right” choice or the “Christian” thing to do.  Now, perhaps he was trying to imply that it was the right choice for this character, but that is not how it came off.  I definitely got the impression that going back to Atlanta was the selfish thing to do.  I had a problem with that.  Often in life, we are presented with choices that are neither good nor bad.  Instead, it is more of a choice between good and good.  Would it have been sinful for Tom to go back to Atlanta? Not if he continued to live his life according to the Bible and to glorify God. Sometimes, it is okay to take the job that pays more money.  Staying in the small town might have been a good choice for Tom, but the author came across as portraying the Atlanta job as ‘bad’ because it was in a large city and had good pay and the small town job as ‘good’ because it was in the small town and paid less.
Despite a few differences of opinion with the author, I did enjoy this book.  The mystery of the death of his father and the whole secrecy of the money kept me entertained.  I figured most of the story out by the end but still had a few surprises. 
I will give Water’s Edge by Robert Whitlow… 3 BookWorms

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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