Two Reviews of ‘INTO THE WATER’ by Paula Hawkins on its Publishing Day

INTO THE WATER

Author Paula Hawkins

ISBN 9780857524423

Published by DOUBLEDAY on 02 May 2017

Hardback RRP £20.00

An adult fictional book Crime Thriller/Adventure

The first review is by Petrina M of The Midlands/Dorset, UK. Petrina states that she read the book in two days and couldn’t put it down.

What is it that invites you to pick up a book and read it? The author’s name? Even our favourite artist can produce a song that doesn’t always hit the mark. Never underestimate the power of the imagery of the book cover. The contents of the written word are worthless if there isn’t the temptation to invite us to delve further into what lays beneath.

This mesmerising front cover entices the reader to dive into this book and once the pages start to turn the content does not disappoint. With each chapter dedicated to a character, the mystery develops through different points of view. With the style and language appropriate for each person, you glide easily into each ones soul. Their turmoil, their memories, their past and present. There are no words wasted on the colour of the teapot waiting to pour tea or the scarf around a characters neck. This would be distracting to the reader. Unlike other novels where your mind can drift and you start to write the plot in your own head, often disappointed when your assumptions are correct, each new chapter is eagerly awaited as the story unfolds. This book keeps you spellbound, you are totally absorbed with the unveiling revelations. The different time zones weave in and out, sitting comfortably within the story to help the reader navigate and reason with the mystery. No one is insignificant and everyone has a purpose.

As you turn a page, you hold your breath, what if; but too late. Every action and reaction has a consequence and there can be no turning back. If only our memories of events were flawless.

This book doesn’t need the girl on the train to be its ambassador, it stands equal if not above the previous novel. But don’t take my word for it, mine is just one view.

Nikki M of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham UK., also read the book over a couple of days, this is her review:

The story begins with Jules, returning to the summer home she visited as a child with her family, upon the suspected suicide of her sister Nell, both to find out what happened and to take care of her recently bereaved 15-year-old niece Lena.

Jules and Nell have been estranged for years; Jules never answering the often-sporadic, sometimes-infrequent calls from her sister, regarding them as cries for attention rather than a genuine reaching out. The sisters had never properly discussed a shameful event that happened when Jules was 13 and she had never forgiven her sister for not supporting her.

Nell’s broken body was found at the Drowning Pool, a place she frequented to swim and by which she was fascinated. Nell was working on a project that looked at both recent and historical drownings of women at the spot, from the old tales of dunking witches, through to the modern-day suicides of local schoolgirl Katie, best friend to Lena, and Lauren, wife of Patrick.

Katie and Lauren’s remaining family still have questions about what happened to their loved ones and despite the best efforts of a policewoman from London, Erin, assigned to the case after being disgraced by an affair with a co-worker, their stories are woven together by their proximity to one another and a web of tangled priorities and relationships, stories hidden and secrets kept.

The witchy air of the drowning pool is another thread that weaves through the book, with Jules often having almost supernatural experiences of her dead sister Nell, and the local psychic Nickie who gives her version of events when she can, often to deaf ears.

It’s hard to read the book following a massive success like The Girl on a Train and not compare the two, but these are very different books. There are a lot of characters and it can be hard to follow at times; I didn’t feel I had a grasp on everyone until about half way through. The book is split quite unnecessarily into four parts but the short chapters do give a good sense of pace and I wanted to know what had happened next, which kept me reading.

However, some of the characters’ back stories are mentioned but then not fully explored – such as policewoman Erin – and I also was hoping, with the witchy intro, for the supernatural to play a larger part in proceedings. There were possibly too many characters and tales to be effectively managed as I felt some were left totally unfinished and others only artifice to answer an earlier question.

Despite that criticism, I was surprised the right amount by the ending and the whodunit element, which is an achievement in such a book; that it made sense at the same time as being unexpected. On the whole I would say that I enjoyed it; not quite as clever as The Girl on a Train, but within its genre a good and enjoyable read.

 

Thank you to both women for their editorial contributions.

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