Review of 'Into the Water'

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

into_the_water.jpg Jules Abbott has returned to Beckford following the death of her estranged sister Nel to take care of Nel's rebellious, troubled daughter Lena. Lena is herself still upset at the loss of her friend Katie Wittaker who died only a few months before Nel. Both Nel and Katie have died in the “Drowning Pool” which has been where many other woman over the years have died. Nel had been writing a book about the pool which had caused a huge amount of upset as she asked the questions no one wanted to hear. Jules knows that Nel would never have jumped off the cliff into the pool and as she starts reading Nel's manuscript she realizes there may be a lot more going on here than one or two unexplained deaths…

An interesting story with chapters that flip between the principal characters (thankfully there is a “dramatis personae” at the start to keep you straight on who's who, which I constantly turned to) as the truth is revealed. There are quite a good number of surprises that will keep the reader engaged and the chapters are short enough to move the story along quite quickly. Hawkins has created some very believable characters here who all have their very human, believable faults that lead to the mess they find themselves in.

It is fairly easy to follow (flipping back to the list of characters…) with not so much to remember to confuse too greatly. Just enough detail to allow all of the puzzle pieces to fall into place at the end. I found myself trying to make sense of it all as I read, often coming the correct conclusions but other times being quite wide of the mark. The infrequent but deeply personal violence is often a bit hard to take but it is, thankfully, over very quickly and certainly not trivialized in any way.

“Into the Water” is an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing up until the final pages with believable and engaging characters in an all-to-believable story. A great book to escape into.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-05-15

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication Date: 2017

ISBN: 9781784162245