Misery loves a lot of company
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
This is Hawkins’ follow-up novel to the superbly plotted The Girl on the Train. Into the Water, not as much.
The story takes place in the British town of Beckford, where you don’t want to live if you’re female. Because women die. A lot of them. They jump, dive, or slip into the river that snakes through town. The story’s primary focus is on Nel Abbott and Katie Whittaker, two recent suicides, or so people believe. Big players are Sean (the detective), Jules (Nel’s estranged sister), and Lena (Nel’s 15-year-old daughter and Katie’s BFF).
Here are my thoughts as I read the book:
“Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.” That’s a quote from Nel, and it’s a really good one. I wished I’d written it.
Descriptions of the miserable little hamlet of Beckford are spot-on. The river practically seeps into the pages of the book.
Sweet merciful crap! There are 11 points of view. Eleven! Tough keeping track of everybody, especially early on. It also interferes with deep character development of any of them.
That being said, I liked Nickie Sage, a psychic who everybody avoids because they think she’s nuts. I don't know why, I just liked her.
Like The Girl on the Train, there aren’t any likeable characters here. They’re all rather pathetic, but that seems to be a trend these days.
Menacing comments are eeked out to keep the thrill-ride going. “I couldn’t touch her. Not after what I’d done.” Yeah, that's the stuff that keeps me reading.
I did eventually get hooked and happily read through to the end.
Do NOT read the last plot-twisting chapter early. Just don’t.