Blood in the Water


Fiction - Thriller - Political
286 Pages
Reviewed on 04/26/2021
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Author Biography

Rick Outzen is the publisher and owner of Pensacola Inweekly and creator of Rick's Blog, one of the most influential blogs in Florida. His investigative reporting on crime, corruption and the BP oil spill for his newspaper and The Daily Beast earned him international attention and awards. His 2018 debut novel, City of Grudges, was honored by the Florida Writers Association and Killer Nashville. He has been profiled in the New York Times and featured on Dateline NBC and Investigation Discovery Channel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Blood in the Water by Rick Outzen is the story of a man named Walker Holmes, a newspaper publisher whose life is falling apart. He got the shock of his life when his girlfriend left him, his arch nemesis is trying to become unstoppable and a woman he saved from a terrible life is found brutally murdered. As if that wasn’t enough, nature strikes his city in a devastating way and almost everything is destroyed. To make matters even worse, the county jail has an explosion in which hundreds of people are injured and many die. Now it is up to Walker to investigate what really happened at the county jail and uncover their nefarious plans. However, things are a lot more complicated than he initially thought, but he is not one to hold back.

Blood in the Water by Rick Outzen is an amazingly entertaining and thrilling novel. Although this is the second novel in a series that I haven't read, I had no issues in catching up with the characters and enjoying the story. There wasn’t a moment in which I felt as if the story was lagging or there was anything missing. I enjoyed the characters, the storyline and even the vile Sheriff Ron Frost. I think this is largely because of the narrative and how the story was written; the author did a wonderful job at keeping the narrative light, humorous and very witty. These were perhaps some of the best dialogues I have ever read; they were well constructed, crisp and very entertaining. There isn’t any aspect of the novel that I did not enjoy. Simply amazing!

Jack Magnus

Blood in the Water is a political thriller written by Rick Outzen. Just about everyone in Walker Holmes’ life was fed up with him. The staff at the Pensacola Insider, the city’s alt-newspaper weekly, was worried about his drinking, and his investors were seriously considering bailing on him. Big Boy, his Labrador-mix, was probably his own impartial cheerleader, but even the perceptive dog had taken to giving him the odd look here and there. Walker couldn’t get over Rachel Townsend’s murder, and he couldn’t help feeling that his paper’s coverage of her assault had been, at least in part, the cause. Pensacola was poised on the edge of an election and Walker’s nemesis, the corrupt Sheriff Frost, was determined to hold on to the post, especially since Walker’s friend, an African American, was also running for the position. Things got even hotter, however, when the mother of all storms hit causing widespread flooding. The county jail was hit particularly hard. When an explosion in the Central Booking and Detention Center led to death and injuries, Walker needed to find out what went wrong. Frost and his supporters were determined to make that investigation was the last one Walker undertook.

Rick Outzen’s political thriller novel, Blood in the Water, is a fast-paced and engrossing tale of political corruption and the investigative journalist/editor who is determined to get to the truth. I’ve long been a fan of alt-weekly newspapers and appreciate the service they provide in giving the public a non-corporate take on the news, so this book was especially appealing. The plot is complex and finely crafted, and the author’s characters quickly formed a living tableau, especially Walker’s press team who become housemates of a sort after the storm. The book is well-written and the storyline feels like something you could read about in a contemporary newspaper. Blood in the Water is most highly recommended.

Ruffina Oserio

Blood in the Water by Rick Outzen is a great thriller with hints of sleuth and strong political themes. Walker Holmes is a weekly newspaper publisher who is fond of his dog, Big Boy. Holmes is bent on exposing corruption in Northwest Florida. In this novel, Holmes is a man with a lot of issues and, apart from the fact that his girlfriend has just left him, he has a more serious problem — a human trafficking victim he has been trying to help has just been murdered. Follow Holmes as he copes with great loss in the city when the rain hits Pensacola and when the county jail goes up into flames, claiming many victims. The worst is still to come in his investigation, getting him embroiled with a powerful mafia group and the KKK.

Rick Outzen’s novel is a thriller with strong characters and themes, a story so well-plotted and skillfully executed that it leaves readers not just satisfied but looking for more. There is a peculiarity about the protagonist that I loved. Rick Outzen gives readers a powerful idea of the protagonist, stating he has always been the one person the town turns to tell them how to look at things, a constant in the crazy place for the past ten years. The relationship between the protagonist and Big Boy, his dog, adds to the beauty of the narrative. The conflict is strong and it has strong emotional and psychological dimensions. Blood in the Water is written in great prose, punctuated by interesting dialogues and descriptions that keep the writing atmospheric and colorful. It is, indeed, a fun read.