Publisher: Riverhead Books
The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.
“Hawkins is at the forefront of a group of female authors – think Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott – who have reinvigorated the literary suspense novel by tapping a rich vein of psychological menace and social unease… there’s a certain solace to a dark escape, in the promise of submerged truths coming to light.” –Vogue
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
Along with most of the free world, Into the Water was very high on my list of most anticipated reads for 2017. I think it’s always difficult for an author that has had a successful first novel to release their second, imagine the pressure, the doubt, the insecurity. When you wrote one of the best selling books of all time and had tremendous global success, I would gather it’s even scarier, even more intimidating. I saw a tweet from Clare Mackintosh the other day and I couldn’t agree more. Here’s what she said:
#intothewater is out today. Intelligent and beautifully written. It’s not #thegirlonthetrain, and nor should it be. Don’t compare – enjoy.
I’m glad I saw that before I picked this up, she’s totally right and I did my best not to compare the two books. How can you even top TGOTT anyway? Simple answer? You can’t. Hawkins second book shows her writing style has gotten even more sharp and refined, she is a sure footed author and a talented one to boot, however this one never did grab me the way I expected it to.
This one is slow going and at the beginning is downright confusing. I think I counted twelve different perspectives, which the fact that I can’t remember an exact number pretty much speaks for itself. It’s told through flashbacks, parts from a manuscript written by Nel, and present day happenings. Each chapter shows a different narrator which never gave me the proper time to form a solid connection to any of them. There was so much going on, and I’m no slouch when it comes to reading books that follow this formula, but it was even a bit too much for me.
The middle is where I finally felt drawn in, I remember thinking, finally, this is what I’ve been waiting for! This is also where Hawkins shines, the various plot threads started to vaguely come together and there was a sinister feeling that I couldn’t shake, along with a hint of the supernatural that really worked for me. Unfortunately, as things neared the end she lost me again. The intensity did increase as did the chapters, and I was eager to see where things would head, but I kept feeling like something was missing. I wanted more suspense, tension, that addictive quality that makes a book a real page turner.
My overall feeling when I was finished was that I was underwhelmed. Hawkins does have an uncanny ability to tie several plot threads together effortlessly and I’m immensely impressed by this ability. This wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t my favorite, I’m feeling pretty apathetic about it. I think people will be divided about it and I’m so curious to see what others think, if you’ve read it I would love to chat! Or when you do read it, come back and we can discuss.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to BookSparks for my review copy.