Welcome back to the wonderful and twisted world of Paula Hawkins’ mind. I say welcome back because I assume you’ve already read her bestseller, The Girl on the Train. Or at least seen the movie. You have, right? (If the answer is no, stop reading and go do that!)
Now that we’re all on the same page…
(^see what I did there?)
Into the Water is Paula Hawkins’ highly anticipated second novel about a river that runs through town and the women who have died in it. The story begins with the most recent death in the river, or the Drowning Pool as they call it, of a single mother. Her sister comes back to town to search for answers and meaning and has her whole life turned inside out by what she learns along the way. With Hawkins’ signature suspenseful and elusive writing style, this novel will keep you turning page after page and guessing right up until the end. The plot is dark and twisting and unpredictable, not unlike the river itself.
While a fairly quick read, I found it somewhat hard to follow certain parts of the book. Particularly in the beginning, so many allusions are made to vague theories and various characters that readers aren’t familiar with that it makes it more frustrating than frightening or suspenseful. Similarly, I’m not sure the plot is strong enough to support the intrigue. Let me explain… **SPOILER ALERT** There’s an element of mysticism throughout the book, the river’s curse and the serial deaths that have occurred there over centuries, but Hawkins never does explain how the various women who died in the Drowning Pool are connected, only that they were “troublesome.” Needless to say, that left me less than satisfied in the end. I was hoping for a big reveal that would explain it all (rather than just explain the most recent deaths), but that never came. **SPOILER ALERT OVER**
Overall, I’m glad I read this book. It was hard not to get my hopes up on the heels of The Girl on the Train, but that is a tough impossible act to follow! Into the Water is well written, the characters are interesting, and the plot is as eery as it is irresistible. Enjoy this book, but maybe not poolside…unless you dare 😉
Stats: 394 pages
Rating: 3/5 stars
Recommended for: Fans of Hawkins’ first book and those who enjoy suspense grounded in reality with a hint of otherworldliness along the way.
Up next: Honestly, I’m not sure! I have several books on hold at the library, so it’s just a waiting game of what becomes available first 🙂