The followup to Hawkins’ excellent debut novel, The Girl on the Train is a rather annoying disappointment in some ways. No wonder there was no wait at the library, heh. In spite of that, it stayed out of my DNI (Did Not Finish) pile because Hawkins is a tremendously skilled stylist of suspense novels and there was something hugely compelling about it.
Specifically, there were rather too many similar 1st person narrators and Hawkins is good, but she’s no Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (the author of Rashōmon) so the overall effect is confusion. Added to that is a chronology which slips back and forth into the dark murky past. What you need is a big family tree for notes on who’s who, where and when.
INTO THE WATER
by Paula Hawkins
2018 / 394 pages (Kindle)
read by a cast – 11h 32m
rating: C- / crime-suspense
From Amazon/and Penguin Publishers:
The small British town of Beckford, known for its winding river and history of women drowning (by suicide or in a test of witchcraft) provides an eerie setting for this tale. Fifteen-year-old Lena’s mother, Nel, who has been researching the river’s mysteries, is found drowned a few months after Lena’s best friend’s body is discovered. Did they take their own lives? Or were they murdered? Multiple detectives are on the case, and chapters from the perspectives of the many characters slowly reveal clues. Hawkins’s sophomore effort after The Girl on the Train is bound to be a hit, but the plethora of characters and measured pace may deter some teens. Those who stick with the novel will be rewarded as the plot picks up toward the end of the book and builds to a satisfying denouement. VERDICT For literary readers of atmospheric mysteries.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
So I was one of those who finished and I’ll tell you that the confusion mostly clears up, but it’s not a terribly satisfactory ending.