Jules Abbott, the heroine of bestseller Hawkins’s twisty second psychological thriller, vowed never to return to the sleepy English town of Beckford after an incident when she was a teenager drove a wedge between her and her older sister, Nel. But now Nel, a writer and photographer, is the latest in a long string of women found dead in a part of the local river known as the Drowning Pool. As Nel put it, “Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.” Before Nel’s death, the best friend of her surly 15-year-old daughter, Lena, drowned herself, an act that had a profound effect on both Nel and Lena. Beckford history is dripping with women who’ve thrown themselves—or been pushed?—off the cliffs into the Drowning Pool, and everyone—from the police detective, plagued by his own demons, working the case to the new cop in town with something to prove—knows more than they’re letting on. Hawkins (The Girl on the Train) may be juggling a few too many story lines for comfort, but the payoff packs a satisfying punch. Author tour. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (May)
Succulent new mystery... Hawkins, influenced by Hitchcock, has a cinematic eye and an ear for eerie, evocative language... So do dive in. The payoff is a socko ending. And a noirish beach read that might make you think twice about dipping a toe in those dark, chilly waters.
Highly suspenseful... all these intrigues are teased out with impressive skill by Ms. Hawkins, who tells a complex narrative...in a chronicle whose final pages yield startling revelations.
If you prefer your page-turners with a heart of darkness, then consider Paula Hawkins's follow-up to her much-lauded Girl on the Train... Hawkins constructs a bracing, knotty ride in which the ghosts of the past come back to haunt those living in the present.
There's no denying that when it comes to tension you could cut with a knife, no one does it better than Hawkins.
[INTO THE WATER] contains just as many hair-raising plot twists as the first. This time, Hawkins's absorbing and chilling cast of mothers, daughters, and sisters grapples with the implications of memory, exploring what happens when our conflicting recollections of personal histories collide to destroy the present.
Into the Water" captures all the suspense and terrifying emotions of the first, but it beams with a maturity in writing and in storytelling that will draw her fans right back over the edge... the novel also flows with an instinctual understanding of relationships, young love, devoted friendships and dedication to duty, familial faults and small-town paranoia. Every character is believable. The actions seem right and real, even when you don't see them coming. Prepare to settle in with the sisters of the water. The river tells the village's story as surely as the lifeline on your palm.
Hawkins returns to the rotating-narration style of her breakout debut, giving voice to an even broader cast this time… Order by the ton.” –Booklist (starred review)
Jules Abbott receives word that her sister Nel has drowned and returns to her hometown. Since she and Nel were estranged for decades, Jules had never met her teenage niece, who responds to her visit with rancor and mistrust. There is speculation surrounding Nel's death, with some calling it accidental and others suspecting suicide. Rumors swirl among the townspeople, linking Nel to the long history of women who have drowned over the years, this sinister sisterhood lost to the Drowning Pool. As the police conduct their investigation, Jules mounts her own informal one. Piecing together clues from the townspeople, Jules unearths decades-old mysteries and finds secrets from her own past bubbling to the surface. In the popular tradition of her best-selling debut, The Girl on the Train, Hawkins guides readers through a muddled labyrinth of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and misdirections that will ultimately reveal the sordid details of three deaths before its surprising conclusion. VERDICT A must-have for fans of twisty thrillers. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/16; "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/17.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
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
Women in a small British town have been drowning since 1679. "No one liked to think about the fact that the water in that river was infected with the blood and bile of persecuted women, unhappy women; they drank it every day." So sayeth the town psychic in Hawkins' (The Girl on the Train, 2015) follow-up to her smash-hit debut. Unfortunately, there's nothing here to match the sharp characterization of the alcoholic commuter at the center of that story. Here the central character—Danielle Abbott, an award-winning writer and photographer who's also the single mother of a teenager—has already died. At the time of her watery demise, she was working on a coffee-table book about the spot the people of Beckford call the Drowning Pool, once her "place of ecstasy," where she learned to swim, now her grave. She left behind a pile of typewritten pages and a daughter whose best friend also drowned just a few months ago. Danielle's estranged sister, Jules, returns to town to identify the body, relive the distressing past that led her to flee this creepy place, and try to deal with her snotty, grieving niece, Lena. Many of the neighbor families are also down a member via the pool, and even after you've managed to untangle all the willfully misleading information, half-baked subplots, and myriad characters, you're going to have a tough time keeping it straight. The spunkiest voice belongs to a somewhat tangential policewoman who probably should have been the narrator. "Seriously," she comments, "how is anyone supposed to keep track of all the bodies around here? It's like Midsomer Murders, only with accidents and suicides and grotesque historical misogynistic drownings instead of people falling into the slurry or bashing each other over the head." Let's call it sophomore slump and hope for better things.