Whitewater: A Thriller by William McGinnis

While searching for his parents’ killers, ex-Navy SEAL Adam Weldon encounters a lovely undercover FBI agent, a ruthless drug cartel intent on killing him, a gambling casino for the super-rich run by a radio preacher, a host of motley river guides, and a succession of hair-raising challenges both in and out of the whitewater rapids of the Kern River. A thrilling page turner, Whitewater: A Thriller overflows with the magic and beauty of rivers, a certain river-born holistic wisdom, and a celebration of nature and life itself.

Reviewers & Readers Comment on Whitewater: A Thriller

First, a letter from legendary class 5 river guide Mark Kocina:

Hey Bill, BRAVO! Bill BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! I just finished Whitewater: A Thriller and loved it! Totally original, exciting, insightful, beautiful, with just enough trepidation to get the heart pumping. What a great fun ride back to Kernville and the guiding life! So many memories and adventures flashed before my mind’s eye as you described the valley and the great people who live there. I loved the main characters and the way the relationship between Tripnee and Adam grew as the story progressed. The strong female leads are refreshing and the non-stop action kept me turning pages. The Forks description was awesome! But by far the best part was how you relayed the story you have been telling ever since I met you about how we can all benefit from listening to each other and accepting one another as wonderful souls traveling together on our little planet. The way your characters handle stress and encourage one another is a glimpse into what life can be. I have heard you describe these positive actions we can take to solve problems and have repeated them many times on trips and guide schools and at trying times in life. I call them Billisms, this is meant as the utmost compliment. My favorite has always been, “What is the situation, where are we going, and how do we get there.” It was really fun to see many of them put into play and used to tell a story. Along the way I kept thinking this book is what a Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt novel would be like if told by Thich Nhat Hanh with a little Carl Hiaasen thrown in. I hope one day it is made into a movie as it would be one fun roller coaster of a ride down the river. Well Done Bill and Godspeed in your next effort as I look forward to reading it. —Mark Kocina

Dear Bill, Finished your book and enjoyed it immensely. It’s a great, fun read, good-hearted, generous, and instructive, and though I only read it for fifteen minutes a day (I have a big pile of reading to get through), you never let me down. Thanks so much, –Peter Coyote

“OMG!!!! I’ve been on the edge of my seat with “Whitewater: A Thriller”! Your descriptions are marvelous to the point where I believe you have experienced the adventure. I know you’ve run the rivers—and that comes through so clearly. Also I’ve learned some wonderful history of the Sierras. The last few chapters had me on the extreme edge of my seat! Again, your descriptions were as though you had experienced them—the flume, the topography, the emotions, etc. AND the research you must have done…. You are a very talented writer.” Liz Gallen, author of The Goonerberry Farm and How it Began, Rossmoor Published Writers

“If you love nature, a ripping tale of good versus evil, and a hero with a heart of gold, buy this book! What Bill McGinnis manages to capture in this story of love, danger, and redemption is an epic tale set against the rugged wilderness of California’s High Sierra. Take one resolute ex-Navy SEAL on a mission to discover who murdered his parents, leaving him an orphan at age five; one undercover FBI agent who is as fierce as she is beautiful, a cruel gang of drug smuggling thugs, plus one sadistic radio evangelist; place them all against a backdrop of some of California’s wildest rivers and you have the recipe for a thriller like no other. An accomplished writer, this is McGinnis’ debut novel, and he deftly delivers a thriller crafted to please.” Cynthia Gregory, Award winning short story writer

”Wow! I just finished reading Whitewater: A Thriller and want to tell you how much I enjoyed it! Your writing is filled with such energy and excitement, with a plot line that kept me at the edge of my seat (on a couch, fortunately, not a raft), holding on to my book rather than a “grab loop,” and I marveled at how the strongly developed characters (Adam, Tripnee, Dog, Becca, Reamer, et. al.) confronted/dealt with each increasingly difficult and dangerous situation. As essentially a know-nothing rafter, I’d be inclined to add “Incredible!” to my overall summation of the story, but I suspect there truly are individuals who, in the face of such unbelievable circumstances, pull off some pretty extraordinary feats. All in all, I’d say you created the Ultimate Sports Team! Well done!”–Helen Munch, Chair, Published Writers of Rossmoor

“A good and swift read. I was committed from beginning to end, wanted to know the unfolding of character and plot, was definitely aligned with the good guys, wanted the bad guys to pay big time. As well, I learned. I knew nothing of the training and river life of guides, the challenges of running a river but felt I was right there in the raft because of the clear and vital writing. Most thrilling actually.” Jean E. Georgakopoulos, California Writers Club, Five Star Amazon Review

“I enjoyed Whitewater: A Thriller immensely: exciting, tense, alive. Makes me want to take up river rafting. Thanks for a good read. When’s the sequel?” –Jean Georgakopoulos, California Writers Club

A Thrill Ride: “Whitewater: A Thriller starts off fast and then picks up the pace. It combines the experience of being in a class five river with a mystery and a love story. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and was sorry when it ended. McGinnis is a first class writer with a deep appreciation for nature, people and rivers.” –Roger McAniff

Excitement: “The first page had me hooked, and every page did not disappointment me. I loved the fact that there was a love connection but not a bunch of smut. I am also very pleased as a woman that Bill had two of his ladies in the story as very powerful and strong women. It really is a must read. Bill and one of his Whitewater Voyages businesses are our neighbors and I have to say they have been great neighbors. I am left with wanting more books from Bill.”–Wina Helm

“I just finished Whitewater: A Thriller! HOLLY BEJESUS FRAKKING SHEIST! What a ride! It never lets up for a minute. And it’s cool in a James Bond sort of way all the different rides the characters take. Cars, truck, rafts, wind surf rides, kayaks, FLUMES for heaven’s sake! Good read!” –Dick Linford, Author/editor of Halfway to Halfway and president of Echo River Trips

“I read Whitewater: A Thriller at family camp last month. Boy am I glad I’ve never had to deal with anything but rapids and the occasional bear on my river journeys. I’m not usually a big thriller fan but the combination of whitewater with intrigue was great. I’ve been recommending it as a great summer read.” –Marguerite Young, Friends of the River, California League of Conservation Voters, and Clean Water Action, Board Member, East Bay MUD

“I can’t wait to see Whitewater: A Thriller on the Best Seller Thriller List! –Jim Horan, President, The One Page Business Plan Company

“I am absolutely loving William McGinnis’ book Whitewater: A Thriller! It is a great story, definitely a thriller, with some powerful “life teachings/lessons” woven in. Only one issue with the novel: I can’t read it just before going to sleep – too d_mn stimulating! Made it hard to go to sleep.” –– Jim Horan, The One Page Business Plan

Whitewater: A book that feels like a river! The story sometimes flows slowly – almost as a meditation and then in a second everything changes and you are completely “absorbed” with an action where events are happening in a breathtaking chain. The author masterfully manages to combine in a single book such diverse themes as beautiful descriptions of California nature, deep philosophical reasoning, practical observations about whitewater rafting and exciting thrills. The book has it all. The characters are so vivid that you could almost see them. I think this book should become a great screenplay for a wide-screen movie!” –Konstantin Afanasyev

“Really liked your book Bill … Think it should be made into a movie…It is a page turner ..Lots of action but pretty smooth. Keep on…. I think you have more introspective insights to explore ….” Jay Daley

“A fun, creative … energetic, real-world tale. … In McGinnis’ first foray into fiction, a series of near-fatal attractions conspire to turn one man’s quest to gain peace and self-knowledge into a contest for his own survival. … (McGinnis’) prose oscillates between quick-moving action sequences and lyrical descriptions of the mountainous Southern California setting. … The story incorporates humor, pathos and even geography into its arc, resulting in a fun, creative take on the temperamental, erratic and bloody drug trade that exists in the United States… A novel oriented toward both readers of crime fiction and nature writing.“–Kirkus Review

“If you are looking for a soulful adventure in one of the most beautiful and intense places on earth, Whitewater: A Thriller is a must read! This novel captures you on page one and doesn’t stop raging until the very end. The characters are richly imagined and the novel provides, in vivid detail, a physical and emotional ride you won’t soon forget. Bill McGinnis takes you down a Class 5 rapid with this thriller, but you are always safe in his hands.” –Elizabeth Nikels

Thanks for another thrilling 2 days on the Lower Kern. Karn and Sam did a spectacular job guiding us off of, around and sometimes barely between the boulders in the river. Our meals were plentiful and scrumptious. I bought Bill’s new book Whitewater: A Thriller from Brian the morning before we floated and started reading it in camp. I couldn’t put it down and finished 2/3 of it before we shoved off for our second day. I stayed in Kernville an extra day and finished the book. The book made the trip even more special. See ya next year.” –Dennis Wagner

Whitewater is a unique thriller that blends the adventures of movie star heroes and unscrupulous villains into the excitement of white water rafting. Set in one of nature’s most beautiful areas – California’s Kern River and Sequoia Forest – this exciting novel weaves an exciting story around two protagonists that Ian Fleming would enjoy. Bill McGinnis creates verbal pictures of challenges, risks, love and conquest. And just when you think you’ve figured things out Bill shuffles the story and you’re pleasantly challenged with a new twist. What makes this novel even better for me is that I know Bill McGinnis. I’ve white water rafted with him and I’ve sailed with him. He’s a remarkable person who knows and cares about the earth, nature and nature’s blessings. Bill is a celebrated white water pioneer and his spirit is reflected in Whitewater.

If you’ve ever thrilled to the excitement of white water rafting, this is a book for you. If you haven’t, read Whitewater and you will. –Noel Robyn

I found Whitewater: A Thriller a fun, exciting read about a beautiful area I would now like to visit.. I, who have never been whitewater rafting, found myself thrilled by the sometimes terrifying, always exhilarating rush through rapids and enjoyed the people I met there. The bad guys are wonderfully bad and Tripnee and Adam’s escapes from disaster are imaginative and sometimes humorous. I enjoyed spending time in Mr. McGinnis’ world and hope to read further adventures of his characters. ––Jil Plummer