Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman (I’ll tell you what it is at the bottom of this post, if you really want to know.)

I have the feeling of being too near to something I don’t want to be near to. To something dangerous. I can’t quite see what it is yet, but I feel it; it feels close. I feel the trapdoors in my mind creaking under the strain of what lies underneath. But then, of course, it could just be free money and everyone loves free money. Someone might have made a mistake, and if it doesn’t hurt anyone…then we could keep it. Free money for us. And it’s not like we don’t need it. (p. 119)

Who knew that Reese Witherspoon was a reader, or even the host of her own book club? And who knew that Catherine Steadman, who played Mabel Lane Fox in Season 5 of Downtown Abbey, calls herself a writer? Actresses becoming book mavens…I had to see what the fuss was about. For Something in The Water, one of Reese’s Book Club picks, is popping up on every screen I open with accolades too bold to ignore.

The title alone bears the immediate question, “What? What is in the water?” Could it be lemon sharks? Blacktipped sharks? Tiger sharks? Could it be panic from scuba diving more deeply than one is comfortable with doing? I must admit I was a little curious from the title, but not from such boring writing as the text quoted in the beginning of this post.

Erin and her new husband, Mark, are on their honeymoon in the South Pacific when they chance upon “something in the water.” (I’ll tell you what it is in the spoiler below, in case you don’t want to read the whole book; truly, I wish I had just known what it was so that my curiosity could be abated, and I could begin a new piece of translated literature of which I am so fond.) Their lives are immediately complicated by the allure of this discovery compounded with one foolish decision after another.

One can almost see how a young couple would be tempted to thwart professionals in their naivety, but I tired of their stupidity (particularly Erin’s stubborn perseverance into realms she had no business entering). Worse yet, I knew that her husband was not entirely straightforward when I was halfway through the novel. I’ve read Need to Know, The Girl on The Train, The Woman in The Window, The Couple Next Door, The Wife Between Us, The House Swap, and Our House, all of which are presented as thrillers only to resemble themselves in poor mimicry more often than not. I have been truly surprised at a novel’s conclusion quite infrequently, such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent which was over 30 years ago.

Something in The Water may be the “talked about book of the summer”, but frankly, I don’t see why. I’m still waiting for a truly spectacular thriller to find its way into my hands. Something that held the power of The Day of The Jackal, Shibumi, or even The Bourne Identity which I adored in college.

Spoiler: This novel does have an interesting premise, that while out on the Pacific a young couple should find themselves suddenly surrounded by floating sheets of paper. Then, they hear a thunk-thunk-thunk against the side of their boot which turns out to be a nylon bag which has been zipped up and locked. They bring it to their hotel room, cut it open, and find two million dollars as well as a bag of 2 carat diamonds, an iPhone and an USB port. When they go back to the coordinates they have recorded, and Mark dives underwater to explore further, they find that a small plane has crashed and landed on the ocean floor with several people dead inside. The rest of the novel carries us through their temptation to keep the money, as well as the jewels, and the efforts they will make to hide their tracks in doing so. Somewhere along the way, Mark’s true character emerges which leaves Erin saddened, and as we knew from the first chapter, widowed.

Personally, I think that both Reese and Catherine ought to stick with acting.

How about you? Have you read it? Do you think I am the only one who is yet again disappointed with today’s “psychological thriller”?

19 thoughts on “Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman (I’ll tell you what it is at the bottom of this post, if you really want to know.)”

    1. Not that new – that quote’s from Northanger Abbey!

      I think it does turn out to be a skeleton in whatever novel the character is reading. I’m not sure that the psychological thriller from 200 years ago was any better than today’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. New in the sense that it isn’t always the husband. Or, money. Or, a crazy wife. A skeleton, even from Austen, would be a welcome change. Even DuMaurier’s Rebecca was…thrilling! (To me.)

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        1. Maybe there are two many layers here.

          Neither I nor Bellezza read Austen as a thriller. But if we were to read whatever novel Catherine is reading – is it Ann Radcliffe? – we would read that as Gothic novel, a thriller.

          Mostly, here, I just enjoyed the excuse to deploy one of my favorite bits of Austen, all too relevant to today’s world of Spoiler Alerts.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I laughed at your review and did not read the spoiler. Have not tried this book yet, but it is certainly getting a lot of buzz. I do still like the psycho thriller (but might like them better if there were more actual ‘psychos’ – like in Psycho – ha!). I’m finding that I do better when I intersperse them with other types of books or even with new entries into favorite mystery series. Those series that I read to catch up with the characters that I’ve come to care about. The trend toward these types of books will likely eventually wane. Something new will come along. Sadly, after so many years of reading, I suspect that it won’t be as ‘new’ for me as for the general reading public. Sometimes I think back to books like Presumed Innocent or The Firm or Jurassic Park. All of these prompted a ‘now this is new!’ response from me. Ha!

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    1. Remember after Harry Potter’s success every subsequent book was about a magical school? So frustrating! Also, are you seeing as many films from books as I am? Like a book could be improved on if it was made into a movie.

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  2. I’ve seen this book everywhere, but thought it sounded ridiculous and would wind up being too predictable. So, I passed on it. And I’m with you about Reese Witherspoon needing to stick to acting – I just don’t really care for her (especially after she was arrested and telling the police “Dont’ you know how I am?” – ugh!) Anyhow, this book sounds like a fail to me. Hopefully, your next read will be a great one 🙂

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  3. Let me guess. The item floating in the water was Freddy Krueger’s glove clutching Jason’s knife.

    I think part of the problem is that you are older than the target audience for these books.
    Add the sheer stupidity of the players to their lack of moral character, and you have the current day descendents of the horror movie serials/sequels, (Friday the 13th,Nightmare on Elm Street et al) of the eighties.

    “Free money”, huh? Really? Won’t hurt anybody? You know this, do you? I know, lets go down to the basement.

    Bookwise, it sounds like No Country For Old Men territory to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you saying I’m old? 😉 Or, maybe it’s just that anyone older than seventeen is past the target audience for this book. I read it because I was so curious to know what was in the water (okay, she’s got a good title), but I rarely succumb to fiction such as this. Too bad it took more than one night to read it when I could have been devouring so many other worthy titles on my shelf(ves). I do like your comment about Kruger’s glove clutching Jason’s knife…

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  4. I don’t even want to know what this is about – from what I’ve heard, it’s amazing. So that’s enough for me! I love a good thriller so I’ll definitely have to pick this one up.

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    1. I heard it was amazing, too, and hopefully you will not be as disappointed as I was. It appears you are going into it with a much better perspective than I did; I was already more than half scornful of Reese and Catherine. Not that I can act, or have published a book. 😉

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  5. I’ve have been following Reese’s book club on Instagram. I have a sneaky suspicion she is getting paid or reimbursed in some way by publishers. I see a lot of style bloggers also suddenly doing book clubs. I wonder why.

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