Published by Ballantine on June 5, 2018
Barnes & Noble
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.
I had a lot of hopes for this one after seeing that Reese Witherspoon picked it for her book club, but, sadly, I was pretty disappointed.
Erin and Mark find the titular “something in the water” on their honeymoon in Bora Bora. From there, a series of stupid decisions followed by even stupider decisions sends their lives careening out of control.
None of this was a surprise to me. The discovery doesn’t happen until about halfway through the book, and by then Erin had shown herself to be almost completely incapable of even the tiniest bit of common sense. As an example, one of the big points of the first half of the book is that Mark loses his job in finance. It’s been made pretty clear to the reader at this point that Erin’s career as a documentary filmmaker, while emotionally rewarding and important, isn’t very financially rewarding; they mainly depend on Mark’s salary to pay for their 1.5 million pound home, and the rest of their lifestyle. But when he loses his job, she carries on spending money and living their lives the same as before. He tells her that he’s adjusted their honeymoon to save some money and she pouts about it until he ends up yelling at her to try to make her understand that they have no money coming in.
And, to be clear, he “adjusted” their honeymoon by taking their 3-week trip to Bora Bora and making it 2 weeks. They were still flying first class, still staying in a luxury five-star resort, still taking all of the smaller trips and jaunts and scuba outings they had booked. Just 2 weeks instead of 3. Even this, Erin had to rationalize to herself to make it ok. Seriously. She was so upset that Mark would even consider changing their plans for this once in a lifetime trip. She was also upset that he had done it without talking to her, but she was mainly upset about the loss of part of her vacation.
I was also really annoyed by how long it took Erin to figure out what was going on. I realize that I have the advantage of knowing that I’m involved in a mystery and that I shouldn’t trust anyone, and I realize that I had the advantage of that opening chapter which was the end of the story, before the rest of the book was told in retrospect, but still. There were so many things that were so obvious and so clearly telegraphed that she just completely missed or decided to rationalize away that it became frustrating to listen to.
There were also a few other threads that really didn’t connect to the main story. They were wrapped up, but I don’t know what they had to do with anything. The author had a tendency to go on for pages and pages giving the most minute details for tasks and procedures that didn’t matter. I listened for at least 10 minutes to her watching YouTube videos of how to take apart, reassemble, and shoot a Glock, for example. A Glock that she never used or needed. The very first scene is Erin burying a body, and we hear the dimensions of the hole, the square footage of the soil removed and how much that soil weighs. Again – information that might be interesting on the surface, but went on for so long and was ultimately irrelevant.
I was hoping for a good, creepy mystery, but didn’t get it. Every move was clearly set up, there were no surprises, and we never got resolution to some of the bigger questions. I can’t recommend this one.