Saturday, May 27, 2017

There's trouble where I'm going but I'm gonna go there anyway: INTO THE WATER.

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When the police show up at her door, Jules Abbott knows it isn't good news, but she isn't expecting this. Her older sister, Nel is dead--drowned in the lake known as the Drowning Pool back in their hometown. Jules has always vowed to never return to that place, but she finds herself back: in her childhood home, where Nel lived with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Lena. The assumption is that Nel committed suicide in the Pool, but Jules knows that isn't possible. Even though she hasn't seen her sister for years, she is convinced her water-loving sibling would never willingly die in the water. Meanwhile, Jules discovers that Nel was looking into other local residents who died at the Drowning Pool over the years for a book she was writing. What exactly happened to them--and Nel?

It's never easy to follow up a blockbuster like The Girl on the Train - I cannot even imagine the pressure. I didn't adore that book, but I do remember that I basically read it in one sitting. That wasn't the case with INTO THE WATER, though in its defense, I read it during an extremely busy period with work, where I basically collapsed in bed each night to read a few chapters.

This is not a bad book, but it wasn't a great one, either. It's not one that will stay with me. For one thing, much of its plot is predicated around one of my most reviled literary pet peeves: ridiculous miscommunication. You know, that whole thing where if the characters would just talk to each other, as normal folks do, for about 5 minutes, we wouldn't have to go through any of this? Yes. That. So that irritated me to no end.

There are also a lot of points of view in this book. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly took a while to keep everyone straight. I was glad I was reading this as an actual book, so I could flip back and see whom I'd been reading about earlier. Slogging through those early portions of many characters slowed things down for me and made it harder to get into the story.

As I said, it's not a bad book. I enjoyed reading it. The storyline is fairly interesting, overall, and it held my attention, even when I was pretty tired. I had a pretty decent suspicion of "whodunnit" fairly early on and turned out to be correct, but about halfway through, I was still second-guessing myself and pretty captivated. Nel, Jules, and Lena are intriguing characters, if not fairly frustrating in their lack of ability to talk to one another.

Still, overall, I was left feeling a little deflated by this one. There was no big "gasp" moment for me (perhaps because I had a decent inkling what had happened early on?) like GIRL. It was just a fairly good thriller that kept me entertained for a few days.

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