I was looking for a new audiobook a couple of weeks ago, and Reese Witherspoon’s June book pick caught my eye. Thrillers are not normally something I gravitate towards, but I’ve been picking them up pretty consistently this year. Catherine Steadman’s Something in the Water seemed interesting, and I bought it on a whim on Audible.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut–for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.
If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?
Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .
Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?
Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?
Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.
Something in the Water starts off with a bang – our protagonist is burying a body. It immediately drew me in, and was an interesting way to introduce the main character. But when it flashed back to the story of how she came to be burying a body, it took me a few chapters to really understand what was going on. It took a while for them to find the thing in the water – no spoilers – which slowed down the pacing quite a bit. I think that prevented me from becoming fully invested in the characters, even though I really curious to know what happened.
This feels like an escapist novel; I don’t think any of us have experienced anything like these events. It is a little crazy and scary and fun, and I do like that part of the book. It’s an entertaining read, and one I had no desire to put down. The pacing is slower than I would have liked, but the mystery kept me going.
However, I have a few issues with this book. The first is the characters. Obviously I’ve never been in their situation, but I just could not identify with them at all. In the face of some pretty serious problems, they come off as reckless and irresponsible. Erin, in particular, annoyed me quite a bit. She is just completely blind to a lot of things, and I didn’t like it. There are times when she explains how well she thought something through, but I could think of multiple questions she doesn’t address. She’s so proud of herself, but she isn’t actually doing that well. And they get around a lot of things through sheer luck. I kept thinking it was amazing how often I could think of a way to catch them that wasn’t brought up. For something so technical, I just wish it had been more thoroughly thought-out. If I can find fault with their logic without actively trying, it pulls me out of the story.
My other big problem with this book is the foreshadowing. There are a few events that should have been great plot twists. But the author foreshadowed them to death. I’m not sure if she didn’t trust her readers’ intelligence (a problem a lot of new authors tend to make) or what, but I saw all the twists coming from a mile away. These huge, shocking things happened, and my reaction was “duh”. I was disappointing that I didn’t get that gut-punch I think this book should have had. By the time the ending came around, I didn’t care all that much.
★★★☆☆ – Something in the Water was a pretty solid thriller. However, it gets docked a star for being so predictable when I it could have been full of twists and turns. And another for having such an irritating protagonist. It wasn’t a bad book – I had fun reading it – I just saw so much potential for what it could have been, and it left me a bit disappointed.
Something in the Water is available in stores now. Pick up a copy on Amazon, if you’re interested.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Something in the Water as one of your two free books. I did enjoy the audiobook, so it’s worth checking it out if that’s something you’re interested in.
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