Christy Award-winning author and attorney Robert Whitlow combines his professional expertise, Bible knowledge and strong faith to deliver DEEPER WATER, a legal drama set in the South. Like his character’s aluminum johnboat, the storyline drifts slowly along for the first half as the scene is set and characters and complex relationships develop. Though this portion of the book lacks any page-turning action, it serves to bring us into the sharp mind and faithful heart of Tammy Lynn Taylor, a law student whose family ties and convictions will navigate her through the challenges of a summer internship at a prominent Savannah law firm.
In the prologue, we meet Moses Jones, a southern black man whose home is a piecemeal wooden shack on the Little Ogeechee River. His life is little more than a routine of collecting cans from town during the day and fishing by night. For all the world, Moses anonymously leads his simple life without a care. Below the surface, however, he conceals a secret that weighs heavy on his heart --- a secret that sometimes brings “faces” to the surface of the river’s black water. When Moses is arrested for tying his johnboat to private docks at night, his case is put in the hands of a sweet, intelligent legal intern.
Tammy seeks the Lord’s guidance in everything and follows through by opening her heart to His responses. As she traverses the murky waters of her profession, Tammy glides into Moses Jones and quickly uncovers a scenario far more sinister than a poor old man illegally tying his battered boat to people’s docks. She wonders about his “faces in the water” and questions whether or not he may have put them there.
Further research leads Tammy to an unexpected source: the elderly woman with whom she is living for the summer. As more and more clues are revealed, Tammy is sure that the senior partners of her law firm are tied to her client in a cold case involving the murder of a young girl. Her friendships with three co-workers are complex, and doubts arise as to whom she can trust. Answered prayers and an interesting twist set the record straight as Whitlow ties it up in a neat little bundle, still leaving the readers to ponder a relational question.
Tammy’s deep-rooted conviction is evident in every move and conversation, whether or not it leads to stares, persecution or simply awkward moments. Unwavering in her faith and as obedient to her parents as she is to God’s laws, Tammy is almost unbelievable as a character. That said, I have to add that she is inspirational as well, and may lead readers to pause now and then for some self-reflection of society’s influence on their own spiritual journeys.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on June 3, 2008