River Rising is book three: The Loss of Certainty Series
T.P. Jones’ River Rising is book three: The Loss of Certainty Series. Dedicated to the citizens of Dubuque, Iowa, the narrative opens as weatherman Walter Plowman drives through fog with the window down and his elbow sticking out of the opening.
A warm front with first rains already appearing and temps climbing to the low 50s brought fog roiling from the snowpack. Behind the front was a second which would likely bring more rain along with the first thunderstorms of spring.
From that point the reader travels with various Jackson players facing weather, problems, sinkholes, thousands of gallons of missing water, ice moving out of the river, possibility of the worst flood in the annals of recorded history on the Upper Mississippi, and Walter Plowman as he moves in and out of the scene. Plowman works for a local TV station.
The Jackson city council discusses the sinkhole and its result; a car veered into the hole and a driver was injured. More interested in accountability than any larger problem; council members discuss liability along with how the sinkhole occurred.
In the first of the Loss of Certainty Trilogy, Jackson, readers were introduced to the residents of Jackson, Iowa, and the crisis before them. 2,000 jobs are in jeopardy; Jackson Meatpacking Company may need to close. Attempts to save the company reveal the ugly underbelly of a brutally competitive industry.
The Gamble, second book of the trilogy, again takes readers to Jackson as the town experiences deals with the results of a racially motivated hate crime. The town’s politicos try to remedy damage, amidst mounting unemployment disquiet in addition to introduction of a divisive new racial assimilation plan which tests the underpinnings upon which the community has been built.
The third book of the Loss of Certainty Trilogy, River Rising, continues to tag along with the inhabitants of Jackson as a steady rain begins threatening to inundate the town.
Jackson residents discover that the town’s flood prevention systems might well not succeed in protecting them from the rising water. The only hope for survival means everyone must leave behind long held prejudices and narrow-mindedness if the town hopes to continue to exist.
While writer Jones bases his writing on his research he undertook during months observing city departments, citizens and the like he is careful that none of his characters can be traced to real life city employees of the Dubuque Iowa region upon which is narrative is loosely based.
As the threat of flood brings apprehensions regarding Jackson's financial future; city officials discover that existing floodwall and levee structures in place around the city may stop working bring with their failure impending overwhelming outcomes.
The dog track under construction on an island in the Mississippi River was supposed to bring the town out of its money woes; now the project is in jeopardy.
Chauvinism within the city, as well as intolerances and injustices about events in the past maintain and even prolong impact regarding the manner in which people view and work together. Divisiveness will make it thorny if not impossible for city leaders and even citizens themselves to concentrate on the threat of flood. As the situation worsens it becomes apparent that not everyone has the same understanding whether addressing the hazard posed by the possible flood or the best way to deal with it.
T.P. Jones’ River Rising is a fast paced, well written novel filled with flowing and easily read prose offset by recurrent use of dialogue. Characters are well-formed, beset with the foibles and idiosyncrasies as beset us all causing them to be believable beings without being overdone. Jones does not fill his work with unnecessary specificity, rather the narrative is concise and to the point. Jones details players and circumstances only as need dictates in order to further the storyline.