Something in the Waterby Catherine Steadman Published 05 Jun 2018
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A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut--for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.
If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?
Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .
Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?
Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?
Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman's enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we're tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.
"Something in the Water" Reviews
5 THUNK THUNK THUNK Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!!!
A slow build to a shocking discovery, this book will have you wondering what you would do!!! See my review here!
What an incredible debut novel this is for Catherine Steadman! While the book starts with a bang, the next 30% is a slow build as you get to know the characters. Then at about 35% the story takes a turn and readers will find themselves holding on for the ride, unsure of where they’ll end up!!! I was unsure about this book at first, but I have to say I ended up really enjoying it and found it to be a tantalizing premise for a story.
I don’t even know what I’d compare this book to… Its really quite unique from other psychological thrillers, though I’m sure some comparisons (Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins) are bound to come up. I don’t want to make those though because I don’t think readers should go into this book expecting something similar to what they’ve already read. Enjoy this one on it’s own merit!
Erin and Mark are about to embark on their dream honeymoon...
Erin is a documentary filmmaker and is engaged to handsome, successful, financial advisor Mark. The two have a nearly perfect relationship—each balances the other out, and is able to cheer the other up when down. Erin is creating a documentary about prisoners reintegrating into society after their release, when she takes a break and she and Mark leave grey-skied England for a dream honeymoon in Bora Bora.
Mark and Erin spend their days hiking, eating exotic meals, basking in the sun, and making love in their room—a perfect honeymoon! Erin is even facing her fear of scuba diving to see the oceans with Mark. But after a big storm makes the waters cloudy, they are forced to change their dive location to a different island about an hour off the shore of Bora Bora.
And then, out in a boat in the middle of the ocean, they hear it....
THUNK THUNK THUNK
There’s something in the water, and nothing will ever be the same again…
I cannot believe this is a debut novel! Catherine has a way with vivid characters, settings, and vernacular, probably from her career as an actress. I found Erin and Mark so compelling, both as individuals and in their relationship dynamic. Mark is calculating where Erin is creative. Erin is action-oriented where Mark is strategic. Both are open to understanding when they’ve misunderstood the other.
But I don’t want to forget to mention the other characters! The three prisoners—Holli, Alexa, and Eddie—are fascinating each in their own way. Steadman shows the incredible diversity of those who are convicted. Some may deserve worse than they got, and others you might empathize with, or even see a bit of your own decision-making in. Each has their own story, peppered throughout the book in Erin’s interviews with them.
And the mystery!!! The “something” that is in the water!!! It sets a chain of events in motion that are twisty and heart-pounding in their rapid succession. From the time the boat hits the THUNK THUNK, readers will NOT be able to put this book down! Erin and Mark both handle the situation so differently. Erin surprises even herself with her boldness, which was wonderful to read about. Erin was a great narrator, even if I did want to shake her at times and tell her to stop, JUST STOP!
The series of tiny decisions that could lead them on different paths each step of the way was extremely well-written. I found myself unsure at each stage what I would choose. Would I follow the same path that Erin and Mark did? What would I do, if I were the one to find something in the water? I wanted to avoid saying much about the plot beyond the discovery, because readers will absolutely love the ride this book will take them on! I look forward to more from this author.
I want to sincerely thank Netgalley, Catherine Steadman, and Ballantine Books at Random House Publishing for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure!
5 Tension Filled Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Well HOT damn this book was just... brilliant! Full disclosure I was running behind on my reviews so I purchased this on audio on release day and I was even a little hesitant because I saw the author was narrating.... not always a good thing, but I had no idea that Catherine Steadman is an actress.... and after finishing this book I now know she is also a fantastic author and audiobook narrator!!! Simply amazing! Seriously if I could I would give her narration six stars, it was really exceptional! And this book kept me on the edge of my seat from about 30% on...
Erin and Mark are a happy newly married couple on their honeymoon in Bora Bora... they are having a wonderful time in this tropical paradise until...thunk thunk... there is something in the water.... and what it is will alter this couple’s lives.... from this point on the tension is ramped up and I felt as though I was on the edge of my seat throughout... so many thoughts... what would I do in this situation? What is the ethical thing to do?
Erin and Mark were both fabulous characters... they both handled the situation so differently and I found that part so compelling and true....Erin was very bold about it all and didn’t always think things through, in fact sometimes she did some really stupid things... Mark on the other hand was more cautious, not much of a risk taker, although he was usually fine with his wife taking a risk.... I have to say I was both surprised and a little disappointed by both of these characters at points in this book....
There is also a very fascinating side story in this book... Erin is filming a documentary about prisoners about to be released.... Eddie, Holly, and Alexa were all strong, interesting, and well-developed characters.... I found each of their storys compelling and unique.... definitely added another layer to this already wonderful book.... and the voice of eddie is absolutely the best in this audio!
This really was a book unlike any other I have read before... it was very refreshing.... absolutely recommend to everybody regardless of your reading preferences!
*** thank you to the publisher for my copy of this brilliant book ***
The story was just “meh” for me. The audio was incredible. The author is an actress from Downton Abby. If you don’t read a lot of thrillers you might enjoy this. If you do read a lot of thrillers you might find it just ok.
I’m still in a rut. On to the next!
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman is a 2018 Ballantine publication.
Slightly predictable morality tale with a nice hook and a few clever twists-
You just got married, you’re in financial straits, looking at a drastic change in your quality of living standards, but you’ve already got a nice honeymoon planned in Bora Bora- so why not enjoy every minute of your vacation? That's what newlyweds Erin and Mark plan on doing before they head back to reality and an uncertain future.
But, on a standard scuba dive they discover something in the water, a discovery that puts them in a very prickly position. However, the bottom line is they probably hit the Motherload. But, they also make another, very grisly discovery, and in their paranoid horror and glee, make a few whopping mistakes that could come back to haunt them.
Can they get away with keeping something that doesn’t belong to them? Should they? What if someone finds out?
The pressure they were under before is nothing like the pressure they are under now. As they work to cover all their bases, they face one moral dilemma after another, as lies and rationalizations take over and they slide further into moral bankruptcy every day.
Erin, a documentary filmmaker, is our narrator, laying out the full story going back to when she and Mark first met. Mark’s job as an investment banker, ended abruptly and quite unexpectedly, forcing Mark to face the dismal prospect of having to take any job he can find, in an economic downturn.
The treasure they find is the answer to all their problems, but they aren't prepared for the lengths they will have to go to to profit from their discoveries, while trying not to get caught. They soon find themselves rubbing elbows with less than trustworthy people, justifying their moral compromises and keeping secrets from each other.
Right now, psychological thrillers are so popular publishers are rushing subpar novels with interchangeable plotlines into the marketplace in record numbers.
It’s so bad I’ve begun removing PTs from my TBR pile, before I burn out completely. ( Sort of reminds me of the fever pitch PNR and Urban Fantasy reached back at the peak of 'Twilight's' popularity- thank God that's over! Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey knockoffs are on the way out too- one can only hope!) But- I digress.
This book, however, had a very intriguing synopsis and the ratings were mostly favorable, so I had to see why it was popular. While I was hopeful, I also approached the book with cautious optimism.
Thankfully, despite my having picked up on a few ‘tells’ early on in the novel, I found myself caught up more in the character’s fear, guilt and self-loathing, their guilty consciences- or lack thereof- battling against the need to cover their butts and pull off the caper of the century, all so they can maintain a lifestyle they had grown accustomed to. It was an interesting journey, from that standpoint. The parallels between Erin’s documentary subjects and her own life didn’t go unnoticed and the role they played in the story was ironic.
However, the characters were often so naïve, so utterly clueless, I wanted to scream- or maybe I didn't give them enough credit. You’ll have to be the judge on that one.
Overall, the story is a little predictable, but I was very engaged, and very interested to see how everything would turn out in the end. It’s an addictive read, with some well- timed twists, that are every effective. Overall, I ended up enjoying this one for the most part. It has a few flaws but didn’t feel like a book written just to cash in on a trend. Perhaps, Steadman will try her hand at this more often- in between her acting roles, of course.
For domestic suspense fun, it doesn't get much better than this! SOMETHING IN THE WATER is Numero Uno on the NYT bestseller list this week, a Reese's bookclub selection and the movie rights have long been snatched up!
All that buzzy attention heaped on one lil ole debut novel can make some of us (okay.....me😂)a tad skeptical. No need to worry. You are in expert hands with Catherine Steadman. Maybe you live on a deserted island and haven't heard, but Steadman is a fabulous, gorgeous actress working in the U.K. She, most notably, was a cast member of Britain's Downton Abbey. She can also write like the pros, if not better. What the heck? So much talent in one person! Quit your day job or not, Ms. Steadman, you are a superstar either way!
There are tons of summaries out there. Please don't read them. Listen, I accidentally read the "spoilest spoilers" EVER in the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. Geez. Don't look for more about the story. I would have enjoyed it so much more if I didn't already know what the something in the water was! Take my word for it.
The pacing is brisk, the narrator is unreliable (BUT NOT A DRUNK!) and the story translates quite believably as a realistic situation. You guys know how much I abhor the hand-wringing heroine. But here, our protagonist is VERY pro-action. True, she doesn't always make the best decisions (omg!), but she tries her best and I, for one, felt a weird kind of kinship with our main character.
It's my favorite kind of suspense-building story. One bad decision leads to another, leads to one more and so on.....It's the ultimate "what would you do" situational structure. Steadman writes in a slick, sophisticated manner. I'm completely infatuated with her wit and style.
If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train, The Woman in Cabin 10, or The Flight Attendant you will love Something in the Water.
The audiobook is stellar! Steadman acts as her own icy, sexy narrator and you will quickly understand why she is such a wonderful actress! Highly recommend! I am so excited to discover this new, gifted author. Looking forward to her career in this difficult-to-write genre.
3.5 "money is the root of all evil" stars for this impressive debut!
Erin is a filmmaker working on a prison documentary, and she is about to marry a banker named Mark Roberts. When Mark loses his job, they're forced to downsize their wedding and their honeymoon. Poor things only get TWO WEEKS in Bora Bora. What a pity. They spend the first week snorkeling and romancing, then some major THUNKS happen. The thunks are not good thunks. Or are they? Telling you about the thunks would be the single biggest spoiler, so I ain't doin' it.
What follows are a series of rash decisions that leave this couple questioning what the difference is between legal and criminal, safety and danger, sane and insane. Both Mark's banking contacts and Erin's ties with her prison documentary subjects drive the suspense in this novel, although there is a syndicate-level undertone that leaves literally everything up in the air.
I found this novel to be successful because, for the most part, it leaves out all the procedural detective work of a typical thriller. It's about two seemingly average people who get in over their heads and are toeing the line between getting themselves out and, as it were, diving in deeper. Mark and Erin's relationship has both beautiful synchronicity and juxtaposition: They respect each other's ideas but have different ways of getting what they want.
Erin is the only narrator, so it is heavy with internal monologue. As is often the case, things get a bit repetitive as she asks herself the same questions over and over again, hoping for a brilliant breakthrough. However, I found her to be far less annoying than your average "female in trouble" trope. Yes, her dedication to her husband was unwavering. Yes, she wanted desperately to prove that she was capable of making smart decisions on her own. But NO, she was NOT going to be messed with. I have a soft spot for female MCs who prove to themselves, other characters, and readers that they are so much stronger than initially thought.
And, frankly, I liked the narration:
"It seems that the one drawback of having every opportunity in life is that you can never fulfill that level of expectation. You'll always fall short of your own potential. Any achievement will be the minimum expected of you.."
"It's funny how little we all know about fertility, pregnancy. It's the single most important subject for the whole of humanity and yet I feel like I'm trying to read Urdu."
"If you ever need to buy anything suspicious, it helps to buy some Super Plus Tampax at the same time. Cashiers seem to get so flustered by them they rarely pay attention to the rest of your purchases. They'll want to get that box in a bag for you as fast as possible. Try it."
All of this being said, I did round down for my 3-star review. There's a delicate line between mystery writers making their plots too tame or too audacious - a task I don't envy. While Steadman kept a steady pace, and all of the characters were vivid in both their strengths and their flaws, I wanted a bit more oomph. I was expecting the reveal at the end to be a little more complex and nefarious.
And finally, though I'm not British, I have several British friends and loved this bit:
"She'd been desperate for a Nando's. On about it forever. Really excited about the bleeding Nando's."