Book Review, Fiction, thriller

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman ~ Book Review

Something in the Water with cookies in a teacup

Ballantine Books
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: June 5, 2018
My Book Rating: 🍪🍪

We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and I really try to make it a habit to follow this advice. I couldn’t help but throw in a little analysis of the cover of this book though. The copy I read (the version distributed in the United States), shows a bird’s eye view of bright blue ocean waves. The title and the author appear in the bottom half of the cover, and look almost as if they are sinking into the waves. The majority of the letters are tinged with red. You see red in the water, you skim the back of the book, which explains that a lovestruck couple, Erin and Mark stumble across (drumroll please) Something in the Water while honeymooning at a luxury resort in Bora Bora, and (if you’re me) you assume they find a body. Or a limb. Or some other similar unpleasantry pointing towards foul play. Boy was I wrong. Is this false advertising? Honestly, I kind of think it is. Not that I would have put the book down if someone told me, “Hey, they don’t find a murder victim in the water.” Not at all, I was just surprised, which I guess is good. I like it when books catch me off guard.

Moving right along from my incorrect pretenses going into reading, we get to the meat of the book. Essentially, Mark and Erin discover money, lots and lots of money in various forms. They also find a gun, a flash drive, and a cellphone, all floating above the site of a private plane that has crashed deep into the sea (so I guess there are some bodies in the water after all). Faced with the sudden prospect of being a whole lot richer, the two of them abandon their relaxing honeymoon plans, and spend the rest of their stay tracking the flight to see if anyone is looking for it, and deciding what to do with the money. Big shocker: they keep it. When the two arrive back in England, they then need to figure out how to go about depositing it in a non-suspicious way while also dodging whoever has been contacting the cellphone looking for the mysterious flash drive.

Something in the Water and cookies from above

Our story is narrated by Erin, who is unbelievably impulsive and chooses to make a string of terrible choices she doesn’t feel the need to mention to her husband. Why? Because she knows he’ll tell her not to. How cute is that? They balance each other out; he’s the thinker, she’s the doer. Wrong. This couple seems incompatible and unbelievable from the start. When Mark suddenly tells Erin he changed the plans for their honeymoon without telling her because he’s worried about finances, she’s incredibly passive. She THINKS a lot about why Mark makes the choices he makes. But she never does anything about it. Maybe she should be THINKING about why she is marrying Mark. Some insight on how that relationship evolved would have been super. Was it supposed to seems as unhealthy as it clearly was? Needing to ask that seems like a bad sign.

Can you tell that I’m mad yet? It gets worse. Erin becomes more and more paranoid throughout the book. There are strange, breathy messages left on the home answering machine, things seem to be subtly misplaced around the house. Is it paranoia, or is it real? It seemed real to me, I bought it. In order to end things once and for all (or so she hopes), Erin decides to meet the mysterious person who has been in contact via the cellphone and return the flashdrive for another chunk of change. This is when the story really lost me.

When Erin shows up for the exchange, Mark is there, already in place to do the same thing. Erin suddenly has a thousand epiphanies about how Mark must not really have ever loved her, and was planning to take the money, hire a hitman to take care of her, and run off to America.

At this point, I could not flip the pages fast enough. “Stupid Erin and her assumptions based off nothing!” I thought, “just wait until she finds out whatever the truth actually is! She’ll feel so stupid and finally need to grow as a person and a character!” But that’s not what happens. Instead, her chance guesses are all correct? Or we just have to assume they are? Because guess what, Mark dies. He can’t corroborate. The guy who comes to get the flashdrive just point blank shoots him in the head. Which reminds me. Who is that guy? What’s on the flashdrive? What’s the story behind the plane and the money? That’s what the entire novel is named after, so why do we end the book not knowing a damn thing about that ‘something’ in the water?

Close up of browned butter toffee cookies

I’m so filled with renewed fury just thinking about how many loose ends I was left with once I closed this book that I’m demoting it from my original rating, I give this book a two. Adding a little positivity to this post, are these Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies by bon appétit. These guys take a little time (as all browned butter recipes do), but they are full of chocolatey chunks and explosive toffee flavor and are, quite frankly, the most perfectly round cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure of making. If that’s not saying something, I don’t know what is. Enjoy!

My Book Rating: 🍪🍪
Buy Something in the Water on Amazon
Something in the Water on Goodreads

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