Sunday, September 5, 2010

River Rising by T. P. Jones

River Rising. T. P. Jones. Synergy Books. September 2010. 392 pp. ISBN #: 9780984235889.

Off the record, Walter tells Chuck, “I think the Corps of Engineers has got it wrong. I think what we’re likely to have here is the worst flood in the history of the white man on the Upper Mississippi.” Jackson, Iowa is a place in physical and financial crisis!

It rains and storms frequently and severely here, and the levee and flood wall system aren’t up to par with the needs of another flooding system.

But several items are definitely awry, as it seems some water in the town’s water plant which no one seems able to solve. The town project of building a dog track that could save the town’s economy is failing because of union and management conflicts and bad relationships between black and white construction workers. Politics prevail, as usual, and the ever looming media search, dig, and probe despite being treated like the town pariahs they are. They’ve picked up on the story that the flood wall just can’t handle another big one. Instead of seeking a solution, the blame game continues, lawyers shadow for coaching all company and city responses, and now the story of the prediction of a devastating flood is hitting the national media beyond local interests. That means a bevy of unanswerable questions and blame-gaming enough for everyone involved. There’s even an aside to the plot about a priest being transferred to another parish because he’s been too successful, while in reality his faith and the system under which he works are spiraling downwards faster than the anticipated flood.

By the time everyone stops arguing and agrees that emergency flood services are to be top priority, it seems it might just be too late! While at times the debating and nasty comments being flung to and fro loom large and last far too long, the shoe falls with a fuel explosion in the river and the dreaded storm arrives, everything turns to flood fight mode.

River Rising is an all too true tale, as we know from similar stories throughout the United States. It’s a cautionary piece of fiction, with realistic depictions that highlight the need to address beforehand the conflicts, lies, exaggerations, understatements, predictions, and underhanded business practices. The rebels are the true heroes herein! Read it before it happens to you!

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