Publisher: Riverhead Books
Released: May 2nd 2017
Warnings: Suicide, rape, animal death
Another woman is dead, the second one this year; both died by apparent suicide in the same pool of water. But there’s more to it than that, there’s more history to this place. The truths and half-truths blur together to make an intriguing mystery about what is real and what is a lie.
Warnings first: This is a fairly heavy book on the whole, covering several intense subjects. Rape is mentioned; as one of the character’s backstory. There are details included, from the perspective of the victim. There are several suicides and attempted suicides discussed, and they come up frequently. Additionally one character kills an animal – though it is “off screen” so to speak, and we only learn about it from another character’s reaction to the news. The animal one is quick, though brought up a couple of times later.
Into the Water is Paula Hawkins follow up to Girl on the Train, and many fans will be happy to hear that it was not a fluke. I felt that Hawkins’ writing style has grown, though there is still something to be desired for with the character development. Many of the characters have had horrible and tragic events in their past, and while I did find myself feeling sympathetic or defensive for them (as the situation called for), I feel like Hawkins could have done more to bring the characters to life; to bring their grief and anger to a whole new level.
What I loved in particular was the study of how time can distort the perception of events; how a lie told enough times can become the truth. That is where the book truly shined, in my mind. One can find a mystery or a thriller in any bookstore, or on any shelf. It is much harder to find a novel that explores subjects such as this. I’m half tempted to give it a four star rating for this fact alone.
There were many more characters in this novel; with the perspective switching about each chapter. I found the number of characters with their own point of views just a bit overwhelming, and would have been happier with even just one or two less. Additionally, I felt that there were some secondary plots introduced by a couple characters that were later left unresolved. This could have been intentional, allowing for a sequel, or it could have been an oversight. I’m unsure as to which.
I am very happy to report that while I had my theories of “who done it” I wasn’t truly sure until the end; and I found the ending itself satisfactory. It held up to the promises delivered to us at the start of the book, and fully explained the why and how of what happened (for the main plot at least). We’re also not thrown a mysterious killer that is only introduced at the end, so bonus there! (That’s a pet peeve of mine).
Side notes: The book cover itself is absolutely beautiful, and I swear isn’t half the reason why I bought it. Ok, that’s a bit of a lie. I adore well designed covers; especially when they’re in hues of blue.