The Waterman by Tim Junkin
A Novel of the Chesapeake Bay

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Set along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this first novel tells the story of Clay Wakeman, who spent his boyhood on the water and finds he can't leave it. When his father is lost in a storm off the Eastern Shore, Clay drops out of college to take possession of his father's boat and his work as a waterman, that is, as an independent commercial fisherman.

Since the old boat constitutes his sole inheritance, Clay starts out small. He recruits his oldest friend, Byron, a traumatized Vietnam vet, to join him in a crabbing business. Just as they're breaking even, Hurricane Agnes roars in to ruin the salinity of the eastern Bay waters. Agnes forces them across the Bay to set their crab traps along the Virginia shoreline and to move in with Matt and Kate, Clay's uppercrust friends from college.

It's in these unfamiliar waters that their real troubles begin. Clay falls irrevocably in love with the spoken-for Kate; Byron's demons pursue him with even greater vengeance; and out in the Bay the partners stumble onto a drug running operation. Lines are drawn by the dealers. And, at the very end, in a riveting boat chase, Clay comes very close to losing the battle . . . forever.


About Tim Junkin

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Junkin has a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He practices law in Washington, DC.
Published January 9, 1999 by Algonquin Books. 310 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Waterman

Kirkus Reviews

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Clay Wakeman, a 20-year-old college boy at Georgetown, leaves school and moves back home when his father, George, vanishes without a trace from the Miss Sarah, the Chesapeake Bay crab trawler he—d worked off for years.

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Publishers Weekly

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Clay and his boat survive the crisis of Hurricane Agnes, but the storm decimates Chesapeake Bay's crabbing trade, so Clay and Byron move down the coast to Virginia Beach, where they find that the local watermen and law enforcement are territorial and hostile.

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