Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

This summer I’ve been trying to broaden my reading horizons by reading books in genres I don’t necessarily read a lot. Also, I’ve been following Reese Witherspoon’s book club and I’ve mostly had a lot of success with her pics. Given these two things, reading Something in the Water was a natural pick. Sadly, this was the first of her book club picks that really, really fell short for me.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

There were basically two distinct stories being told in this book – that of Erin and Mark finding the mysterious bag of contraband, and that of Erin making her documentary. There was very little overlap between the two stories, and the plot line about Erin’s documentary was wholly unnecessary and a waste of time. It bore no interesting events, had very little resolution or payoff, and only served to slow down the rest of the already slow plot. The rest of the plot was about Erin and Mark finding the mystery bag while on their honeymoon, which was a half-baked thriller at best.

The pacing was all over the place – there were times when it would get almost thrilling and then there would be three chapters of filler nonsense. The plot itself was incredibly predictable. I called what was going to happen from the very first chapter (which wasn’t hard as the book opened with the final scene and this book completely lacked any sort of meaningful twists. Without any major twists, the book just went through the motions and eventually arrived at it’s obvious ending. To make matters even worse, there were huge logical leaps and gaps in the story (who was on-board the sunken plane, what were all the papers in the water, why was everything in the bag magically waterproofed, why had no one else spotted the debris, and much more). The worst sin of all was the complete lack of tension – a book like this should be swimming in tension, but this one just felt as though it was going through the motions.

Neither one of the main character was endearing, enjoyable, or had an amount of wit or sense. Erin, who was supposed to be the witty filmmaker, chose to actively seek out help from a dangerous criminal, decided to steal the money and diamonds that were obviously linked to the black market, and refused to see her husband for who he was. Not only that, but she was overconfident and never progressed as a character. Mark, on the other hand, was just an overconfident jackass. That’s it. There was never anything more to him – he just was a jerk to his wife and gave me nothing to get invested in.

I would highly recommend anyone who might be thinking of reading this book to give it a pass. It’s predictable, poorly written, makes little sense, and gives you absolutely no one to root for. It is an incredibly poor representative of its genre and I’m not quite sure how it managed to make it to print in this state. If you’re looking for a similar, better book, check out The Woman in Cabin Ten, Sadie, or Gone Girl. 1/5

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  1. Thank you for such a comprehensive review – this sounds like a real miss! I’ll admit that the synopsis didn’t really grab me anyway through the way it was written but I might have given it a chance anyway… now I know to steer clear!

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