All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

on July 25, 2018

Something In The Water 
Catherine Steadman
Simon & Schuster UK
2018, 339p
Copy courtesy Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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.

Three things caught my attention about this book: the awesome cover, the fact that Reese Witherspoon has chosen it as one of her book club picks and Bora Bora. All of those really made me want to read it and because it wasn’t that long I found the time to slot it in almost right away.

Erin makes documentaries and has gotten permission to film the release of three very different people who are being released from jail. The man she’s about to marry, Mark, works in finance in London although just before the wedding, he loses his job in some rather suspicious circumstances. They dial the wedding back a bit but keep their luxurious honeymoon to Bora Bora (which is my dream destination!) and it’s a blur of first class travel, a fancy over the water villa and days of swimming, sun, food and drinks until a random encounter has the potential to change their lives forever.

Would you, or wouldn’t you? is the question this book seems to pose and after some deliberation and a mistake, Erin and Mark decide that they very much would. But oh man do they do some stupid things as well, having made this particular choice. In some ways they’re clever, trying to hide their tracks from ever having been there but they seem to balance that out with the stupidity of reading the messages on the phone that’s part of what they find, which sends read receipts to whoever the ominous party is on the other end.

Reese Witherspoon has had some success with buying film or tv rights to a book she’s enjoyed and it seems that she’s bought the rights to this one too. I actually think that this book will work really well as a TV mini series or movie. In fact it might work better than it does as a book. The scenery of Bora Bora, the agonising decision, the back and forth, the sneakiness, the suspense and feeling of are they being watched, does someone know what they’ve done? Will they be found? I can see all of that working really, really well on a screen, especially as I feel it will better showcase the dynamic between Mark and Erin, which is actually quite interesting. The opening scene is a direct contrast with what follows and you wonder how it got to that stage.

I enjoyed a lot about this but there’s no denying that for me, so much of felt like it relied on some really unbelievable coincidences. For example, when they get back to London after the Bora Bora trip, they need to sell something. It becomes very obvious that they can’t do it legally but luckily one of the people that Erin is filming for her documentary has those contacts and is extremely willing to help this person he just met sort that out. I wondered whether or not he had anything to do with it or was maybe even the mastermind for a while, but it just didn’t seem likely. What would the odds be? It seemed really weird that he was so keen to help this person who was filming his release from jail – it could’ve just as easily been a set up to see if he was really rehabilitated. He had little reason to trust her, especially as he’s supposedly a hardened criminal. Also they take something back to London with them that really…..they just should’ve left behind. If they were going to be smart about it, there’s quite a few things that they take back or look at that they just really should not. If they wanted to cover their tracks, there’s many better ways they could’ve done it.

It was interesting how when presented with an opportunity, it took relatively little time for both Erin and Mark to decide that they would take it, despite the fact that it was obviously illegal and fraught with danger. It seemed that greed was a factor for both of them, although I understood it in Mark’s case, I wondered about it in Erin’s. She seemed largely oblivious to their money issues once Mark lost his job and I wondered if she was so desperate to keep what they found because it would help Mark, because he seemed to be floundering. I wondered how much of her motivation was more about her marriage and wanting to prop him up, rather than her own personal greed. Perhaps I’m attributing more to her than there was, but it definitely seemed like Erin (despite her secret keeping) was more about the marriage than he was. It was around halfway or so in the book when I started to wonder if Mark might be a sociopath.

This was an enjoyable read but with lots of things that I found quite hard to believe. I still think plot-wise, it’ll make an interesting movie or TV series though, with that medium better able to show a broader picture and evoke a more threatening atmosphere.

7/10

Book #121 of 2018

 


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