I was very excited when I saw Paula Hawkins was releasing a new thriller, since I loved The Girl on the Train, and was ready to read more from the author of such a great book! Unfortunately, I was disappointed, possibly because I went in to it with such high hopes. Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘Into The Water’ by Paula Hawkins
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.
Into The Water is Paula Hawkins’ second stand alone novel from the mystery thriller genre, and is set in a small British town, following several different characters and their actions and reactions to the death of a local woman, Nel, in a famous part of the river known as The Drowning Pool. The events that happen throughout the book are cleverly shown to the reader, allowing us to try and guess the outcome of the investigation. Nothing is given away, but I still found it slightly predictable because of the limited character selection, and the ending wasn’t as exciting as I expected, as it was with Hawkins’ first novel. The point of view that the chapters were written from changed with the characters. For example all of Jules’ chapters (Nel’s sister) were written in first person, but all of Mark’s chapters were written in third person. This change in perspective threw me off in the beginning, but I got used to it as the book went on. I did think that this was done for a reason, but unfortunately I could not find any valid literary reason for Hawkins to do this. However, having Jules’ speak in first person narrative created a sense of her talking to us as if we were Nel. This filled in Nel’s character, placing us in that position and therefore allowing us to sympathise more with what happened to the characters who were close to her. The plot was mostly fast paced because of the shorter chapters, and cliffhangers featured at the end of each character point of view. Everything, as with any thriller, was fairly logical, although there were some parts that didn’t make sense, and didn’t fit with the storyline. They had no reason to be there, for example, the history of the other women in The Drowing Pool. It created a false lead to a possible link between the women in the pool, which would have made it slightly more interesting and exciting. There were a lot of red herrings in the story line, making it too complex, and some were not really tied up at the end like a good thriller should be.
I wasn’t really overcome with a sense of favouritism for any of the characters, although I did feel sympathetic towards Jules and Lena, because of what I previously discussed about first person writing. Every character had a darker side to them, which made them slightly less likeable, but if I had to pick, Jules seemed the most kind, and genuinely worried about Lena losing her mother. The setting helped the characters feel more realistic, and they were written with a fair bit of development and character history, which made them more interesting to read. I did find Erin’s character to be a little on the flat side, and that Hawkins left it too late in the story to introduce her past misdeeds. If they were important to the storyline, they should have been introduced a lot sooner, but alas, they were not at all relevant, and could have been missed completely and allowed the character room for a bit more development within the story.
Of course, because it was a thriller, I wanted to try and guess what happened, but I did’t feel a strong urge to try and guess who did it, because I didn’t really find a lot of drive in the story line. The police investigation seemed to fall a bit flat, because they didn’t really find a lot of evidence, and relied a lot on what people said. I like to read a thriller with a string of evidence that I can unpick as I read it, and that makes me guess what happened, but evidence seemed to be a bit thin on the ground where this story is concerned.
However, I would like to applaud Hawkins writing style, and her very clever use of language throughout the book. She references the water, and vocabulary relating to the Drowning Pool, which could also be related to the characters being ‘drowned’ by their emotions. These vocabulary choices were one of my favourite things about this book.
The beginning was a lot more gripping than the middle to the end of the book, because it was setting the scene and I wanted to find out what had happened. As the story unravelled it started to become clear there wasn’t really a lot to uncover, and with the lack of evidence, there wasn’t the promise of a shocking ending to keep me turning the pages.
The characters were well written, but I didn’t think the storyline and the outcome of the crime was as exciting as some other thrillers I’ve read, and not as good as Hawkin’s first novel. If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train, then you might feel the need to read this book, but you may be disappointed.
My Rating: 3 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you want to have a read of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)