Title: Into the Water
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Fiction
This is the second book from the author I have read, first one was Girl on The Train. The famous book gained vast acceptance and sold over 2 million copies. I thoroughly enjoyed that one. That, coupled with this being a Reader’s Choice in Mystery from 2017 on goodreads.com. made Into the Water my first book of this year.
The setting for the book is rural England in the town of Beckford. The water inlet from the nearby river is a source of entertainment and an integral part of the town. But the water has an ugly history of women falling to their deaths from the cliff above into the “Drowning Pool“- the more accepted name . The latest death is that of Nel Abbot, it appears Nel has made enemies and most people are people are happy she is dead. Nel leaves behind her writings that tell the stories of the women whose lives ended at the drowning pool, they range from a suspected witch to the sheriff’s mother who committed suicide. As the reader goes through the notes compiled by Nel, these mysterious deaths have surprising stories attached to them- the Drowning Pools is just the tip of the iceberg!
Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women
Paula Hawkins has the ability to make her readers empathize with some very odd characters. In this book she has managed to tell stories of some powerful characters which fall into place very smoothly towards the end of the plot. I took away one star from my review because there were just too many characters which make it a tough read. I wish Hawkins would have avoided giving each them that much importance because some ended no where. I for one, got pretty confused because every three pages Hawkins would switch the story-telling from one character’s perspective to the next. So just between reading the book and learning to hop between characters took me half the book. I was honestly tempted to make a cheat sheet of characters just so I remembered who does what in the book. That said, the vast array of characters do make the story unpredictable; maybe that was Hawkins’s intention. As the plot reveals itself, there are elements of domestic violence, inappropriate relationships, jealousy and violent behavior that just keep the reader guessing who the culprit really is.
Anything was possible. When you hear hooves you look for horses, but you can’t discount zebras.
However as the reader learns more about the characters the shame, the small town mentality, the fragile sibling relationships and the broken childhood all make sense to the reader. In my opinion Into the Water is not just a mystery but reveals some very disturbing aspects of human behavior. It shows that sometimes fear of shame triumphs over all rational behavior and feelings! In spite of a bit hodge podge of characters, this book delivers an exceptional mystery as it keeps one guessing until the very last page. So pick it up as your next read if you’re in for something Alfred Hitchcock-ey.