Judge a Book by Its Cover: ‘The Waters & The Wild’

Picking up books based solely on their looks

Entangled in the vines are weapons of destruction.

“The Waters & The Wild” begins in an unusual fashion, teasing us with what is to come, where several strangers’ lives would become entangled.

The story starts in a quaint cafe run by Reverend Nelson Spurlock where a young woman is waiting for him. She is inquiring about her father’s will in which Spurlock was appointed responsible for her correspondence. Her name is Clementine, and her father is psychoanalyst Daniel Abend.

Spurlock has no idea what she’s talking about until later on when he receives a package in the mail containing Daniel’s last confessional.

As Spurlock dives into the documents, the mystery unravels.

The story follows the conversation that Daniel has with Spurlock to explain exactly how he ended up in a river in Paris — dead.

Daniel’s story floats between his past with the love of his life, Miriam, and the present in which he is a single father in New York and his daughter has just run away.

Daniel created a story for how Clementine came into the world and how her mother Miriam had left it. But when things don’t start to add up, Clementine takes off in search for the truth.

But it all starts with Daniel’s patient Jessica Burke.

Jessica’s life had just return to normal as a recovering addict until the news broke that she had overdosed in her bathtub at home.

Daniel knew this was common with addiction patients, but when he received an anonymous package in his P.O. box containing a photograph of Jessica that suggests foul play, he begins to question everything.

Throughout several months the packages keep coming, but they start creeping in closer and closer to Daniel’s personal life. First, a photo of his daughter. Next, a photo of the river where Miriam committed suicide, and finally, a picture of Miriam, dead after autopsy.

When the police don’t believe him, he takes matters into his own hands. Someone is making Daniel remember all of his sins, and they’ve offered an ultimatum — either him or his daughter, then the vigilante will be satisfied.

To protect his daughter, Daniel has hidden the wrongdoings of his life and has now placed them into the lap of Rev. Spurlock.

Rev. Spurlock faces a tough decision on whether or not to keep Daniel’s confession confidential or to tell Clementine because her life is possibly at stake.

Twist after twist, it is finally revealed that Miriam was never Clementine’s mother. When Daniel found out that Miriam was pregnant, he decided that being a father wasn’t the life he wanted and left her. His absence pushed Miriam over the edge — literally — and she committed suicide, taking their unborn child with her.

Her death caused Daniel to spiral, and he went in and out of a blacked-out state from his diet of vodka and cigarettes.

Somehow, his mind was in the right place when he decided to lend a helping hand to a pregnant, homeless addict. As she approaches full-term, Daniel knows that she will need to see a doctor, but she refuses.

Eventually, she will need his help delivering the baby, and when she dies during birth, Daniel would become the father of her daughter, born with an addiction to heroin.

The truth is, Miriam was never Clementine’s mother; she was born to an addict that died in an abandoned warehouse.

Daniel constructed the story of Miriam being Clementine’s mother to keep her spirit alive because he could never shake the guilt he felt in his role in her death.

In the thrilling conclusion, Daniel comes face-to-face with his vigilante, who turns out to be Miriam’s father, Yves. Yves sought revenge, and he succeeded — Daniel’s life for his daughter’s.

From beginning to end, even with Daniel’s sins being revealed, I was rooting for him.

All he ever wanted was for his daughter to be safe and for the life of his love Miriam to live on.

It may seem that Daniel was responsible for the death of Miriam, but truthfully, she was sick and her fate may have been the same even if Daniel was never involved.

The beautifully written story ends with an unlikely friendship between an orphan and a Reverend.

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