• Title: Something in the Water
  • Author: Catherine Steadman
  • Edition: Kindle Edition
  • Published: June 5, 2018
  • Page Count: 352 pages

“Erin and Mark seem to have it all: he’s a successful banker, she’s a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; they’re young and in love, about to embark on their dream honeymoon to Bora Bora. But when, after a blissful day of scuba diving, they discover a mysterious bag filled with incalculable riches, their subsequent choices trigger a sequence of events that will change their lives–and their marriage–forever. (Synopsis from Goodreads)”

This book was the first in a long time to grip me enough that I finished it in one sitting.

Something in the Water centers around a fresh-faced, dewy-skinned, pair of honeymooners named Mark and Erin. However, while Mark is certainly one of the central focuses of the story, this is really Erin’s journey through and through.

Even though the beginning of the story doesn’t have anything particularly crazy happen, Steadman does a great job at neatly folding a mounting sense of dread into her story. Before Mark and Erin are able to jet set to their picturesque honeymoon spot in Bora Bora they’re hit with a tremendous blow — Mark loses his job. Steadman swiftly lays the groundwork to the rest of her story without ever losing the tension, not an easy task to accomplish.

When I first glimpsed the title of this book I assumed it was going to be about something much different than what we ended up with, (though I have to give her credit for a clever “shark in the water” symbol that I won’t get too much into in order to avoid spoilers), but I was happy with the story we got.

Even though the real heart of the conflict doesn’t kick off until around a quarter of the way through the novel there was never a moment where I felt bored, Steadman used every chapter to build layer upon layer and once the real hook came in I was snagged and engaged. Pacing is one of the novel’s greatest strengths, it’s brisk and unrelenting, once you’re in, you’re in for the long haul.

That said, I never felt quite like the characters lived up to the story being told around them. Erin was frustratingly naive. I liked her as a character but as a narrator she was frequently irritating, lovesick to the point of being blind to her husband’s faults, and couldn’t seem to learn from her mistakes. I also found the ending of the novel to be so predictable it was almost a slap in the face. Any and all nuance went out the window by the third act leaving me baffled as to why Steadman decided to take the story in that direction. I wish there had been a little more thought put into the general arc.

Not to nitpick but I had my fair share of issues with the writing too. For the most part the writing style was simple without being rudimentary, it got the story told and there was some beautiful prose but it could also be repetitive, with phrases being repeated near exact within paragraphs of each other and pet names like “honey” and “sweetheart” being sprinkled around so heavily it was almost nauseating to read, especially as they were always from the male characters to the women. I felt like the book needed another solid edit to flatten out some of the kink; mind you I did read an early copy so that could still be happening as I type this, I hope it is.

In spite of these flaws, I would still recommend this book. It’s a tightly plotted, addicting, and just flat out fun thriller if you don’t overthink it too much, it makes for the perfect beach read for more reasons than one!

Special thanks to Catherine Steadman, Netgalley, and Ballatine Books at Random House Publishing for allowing me the pleasure of reading this book in exchange for an honest review!

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