Michael's Reviews > Deeper Water

Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow
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's review
Jun 05, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2008
Read in November, 2008

When I first discovered the contemporary Christian legal thrillers by Robert Whitlow, I made the inevitable comparisons between his stories and those of John Grisham. And as the years have gone along, it's been interesting to watch the path both have taken as writers. Neither is cotent to write carbon copies of the same legal thrillers over and over again and instead choose to push themselves and their audiences.

Whitlow's last few books have moved out of the legal arena to some extent and focused more on character-building. Now, he brings the lessons learned there to the lessons of his early legal thriller storytelling skills together in "Deeper Waters."

Tammy comes from a very conservative Christian home. She was homeschooled until she went to the University of Georgia to study law. She receives an offer for a summer internship at a prestigious Savannah lawfirm and after a lot of debate and prayer decides to take it. One of the first decisions Tammy makes is to change her name's spelling to Tami, to make it look more sophisticated. Interestingly, Tammy chooses to lie to her mother about this when a letter comes to the house addressed to Tami and not the actual spelling of her name.

With Tami, Whitlow has set up an interesting example of a person living in the world but not being of the world. But in her journey, Tami is not perfect and, at times, comes across as difficult or irritating. I think a lot of this is deliberately done by Whitlow to help build Tami as an authentic character. And, for the most part, it works effectively in the course of the story.

Tami is assigned a case where a man was arrested for tying his boat up on the piers of some of Savannah's richer homes. But as she digs, Tami discovers the man needs more than just legal representation. Something more is lurking here, just below the surface. Tami's decision to pursue it could cost her not only her internship but her potential future as a member of the legal profession.

Meanwhile, Tami is being pursued by two of her co-workers at the lawfirm. One is her "boss" and the other is a fellow intern. Both have positives and negatives and watching as Tami wavers between the two and whether she wants to date either makes for an interesting sidestory and sets up a minor cliffhanger to ensure you'll come back for the next book.

Given her background, it's interesting to watch how Tami reacts to the world. Whitlow's great strength is that he's able to take the Christian walk and make it feel authentic to his characters. No one is drawn in shades of black and white and it's not predictable who will or won't be "saved" in the course of the story. Whitlow instead creates characters and explores their paths. Some may be won, some may stray, but they'll always be interesting to read about.
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11/21/2008 page 86
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