“The Tears of Dark Water,” by Corban Addison

Corban Addison

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard

The mastery of Corban Addison’s The Tears of Dark Water lies in its multi-tiered plot and timely social commentary, as well as its soulful examination of the human condition.  The external conflict of a father and son held hostage by Somali pirates resonates with the internal conflicts of a troubled marriage, war-broken families, and the severity of quick decisions made under emotional duress.

I could not put this book down, simply because I had no idea what would happen next.  Suspense is held throughout this 532-page novel.

Daniel Parker and his young adult son, Quentin Parker, began a sailing voyage that bonds and heals them until they encounter Somali Pirates on the Indian Ocean.  The standoff is negotiated by top US hostage negotiator Paul Derrick, but quickly ends in tragedy, when Daniel Parker is shot dead and his son is wounded.

The pirates are captured and extradited for trial in the United States.

Readers are then introduced to the beautiful yet tormented heart of Ismail, the young pirate leader who is identified as the shooter by the other pirates.  As Derrick questions Ismail, a complicated story unravels of radical Islamists who kidnap Ismail’s sister, murder his father and brother, and send his mother into hiding in Kenya.

In America, Daniel Parker’s wife Vanessa prays for the recovery of her son while dealing with the regrets of her marriage and awaiting the trial of Ismail.  Derrick’s sister, Megan, a criminal defense lawyer, represents Ismail.

Derrick and Megan share a family tragedy similar to Ismail’s, while they both realize there is more to solving the murder of Daniel Parker by digging into the young pirate’s past.

The setting of the novel is complex as it moves from the Indian Ocean to Washington, D.C., from the Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis to a refugee camp in Kenya and the Hawa Abdi Village outside Mogadishu.   As readers follow Megan’s investigation into Ismail’s past, his mother and sister are reunited, while Vanessa finds solace in her son’s healing and her growing relationship with Paul Derrick.

The final courtroom scene integrates this novel’s important messages on family, healing, international politics, and gender-based violence.  Finally, resolution is found in Tanzania for Vanessa and her son, Quentin.

Click here to purchase this book:

Leave a Reply