Something in the Water

Something in the Water

by Catherine Steadman

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut—for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

“A psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. What unfolds makes for a wild, page-turning ride! It’s the perfect beach read!”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick)


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?
Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Praise for Something in the Water

“Superbly written, clever and gripping.”—B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors 

“Deliciously dramatic.”Entertainment Weekly 

“Thrilling . . . the perfect beach read.”PopSugar

“A dark glittering gem of a thriller.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Arresting . . . deftly paced, elegantly chilly . . . [Catherine] Steadman brings . . . wit, timing and intelligence to this novel. . . . Something in the Water is a proper page-turner.”The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525632924
Publisher: Diversified Publishing
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 275,910
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London, UK. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End. In 2016 she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest, UK, and lives with a small dog and an average-sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Something in the Water"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Catherine Steadman.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. The novel begins with the striking scene of Erin digging a grave, then flashes back in time to describe the events leading up to it. Is this an effective way to enter the story? Did the opening pages hook you? Why or why not?

2. Erin’s career as a documentary filmmaker puts her in touch with incarcerated people she may never have met otherwise, and her relationship with Eddie is especially complex. She never tells Mark about him and is drawn to him during her interviews. She befriends a known criminal. Why does Erin become so closely involved with him? How genuine are her connections with her other documentary subjects, and how do those relationships affect the events in the novel?

3. Throughout the novel, Erin makes questionable decisions in order to secure what she thinks is the best future for her and Mark. Did you sympathize with her or criticize her actions? Does she ever become suspicious or untrustworthy as a narrator?

4. Catherine Steadman is a professional actress and wrote parts of Something in the Water whilst on set. Can you identify ways in which her writing process may have influenced the tone and/or structure of the novel? What struck you about her writing style?

5. After their discovery on the scuba dive, how does Erin and Mark’s relationship change? Despite the secrets they’re hiding from each other, they do not struggle intimately. Do they truly love each other?

6. Money is a motivating factor in Erin and Mark’s decisions, and the idea of the fiscal divide between the extremely wealthy and the middle classes percolates through the novel. Are the characters in the novel motivated by greed? Or survival? Do financial issues have the power to tear people apart?

7. Erin references her family only briefly, focusing most of the narrative on Mark and her documentary subjects. Why do you think her family gets so little page time? Eddie’s daughter, Charlotte McInroy, tells Erin that she disconnected from her family and created a life “from scratch.” Do these two women have similar stories? Does Erin make a life “from scratch”?

8. Erin is often very empathetic, and she doesn’t blame Mark for the consequences of their actions until she has no other choice. Does this reflect a broader tendency for partners to excuse their spouses’ behaviors or put them on a pedestal? Is that reaction even more common among women than men?

9. Erin learns a striking piece of news in the closing pages of the book. Will this affect her character for the better—or for the worse? Do you think Erin is capable of committing a crime herself in the future?

10. The novel ends with Erin thinking, “You can’t save everyone. Sometimes you just have to save yourself.” What sacrifices does Erin have to make to save herself? Does she leave anyone behind? Would you have made the same choices?

Customer Reviews

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Something in the Water: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would have given this 5 stars but I could skip a lot of it. It was a page turner and I really liked it, I would recommend but say you can skip a lot of it that didn’t need to be part of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely keeps you on your toes! I just couldn’t stop reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book very much. The characters were well developed however I was hoping for more in the ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! A definite page turner! You think you know what's coming, but you have no ides!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked from page one but was disappointed at the end. What favor did Eddie need? Did these favors continue ? Did Erin stay in a life of crime? More closure is needed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Captivating and a page turner.....I read it in one night , binging on the words as though I were enjoying a feast ! Hoping for another show of brilliance from this author.....soon . BRAVO !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Early on I expected how it would end. The main character was annoying and I found myself not caring for her. There were also a lot of unanswered questions. Things that seemed to be really important were quickly dropped or never explained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding! Once you start reading the events just keep pulling you deeper and deeper. Couldn’t put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I saw the ending coming, it was still a good read. Nice job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am getting into more books like this and am loving it! I find the main character's mind like mine and relate with the couple in some ways. When challenged does it change them or everything?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me reading! Great twist! I highly recommend it.
LisaB95 More than 1 year ago
I REALLY wanted to love this book from the moment I read the discription. And it did start off with a bang. Erin and Mark are just getting married and have been together a while, doing lots of things as a happy couple. They go to Bora Bora on their honeymoon. Erin is telling the story. It starts off with her digging a grave, telling how she wonders how deep it needs to be. She’s burying her husband. Next we are taken back to where it all began, before the wedding. This is great, I’m thinking. But it got so weighed down with her droning on and on. I found myself skipping through parts of it around 30% of the book. I think it was mainly because I wasn’t crazy about the characters. Erin was so annoying. Mark was ok but not as developed as I would’ve liked. That being said, if you have the patience to wade through all the details, the ending will knock your socks off. The beginning and ending are wonderful. So intense. It makes you wonder just how well you really know someone.
gmcootie 6 months ago
Although the suspense builds and builds in Something in the Water until you almost can’t stand it, the pace is almost painfully slow and deliberate. Author Catherine Steadman makes you experience every single excruciating moment, every what if. Of course I already knew the terrible thing that happened. It was right there in the first chapter. Or do I really know? Is there more, or something unimaginably worse? I had a sense of dread from the very beginning, like a dark cloud over the story that just kept getting bigger and bigger until it enveloped everything. I did not like Erin. Chapter after chapter I wanted to yell at her: What is wrong with you? Are you so greedy? So stupid? So selfish? So cold? She is arrogant, careless, reckless, deceitful, self-serving. She says she is afraid but she is very proud of how clever she thinks she is. Although Mark has several temper tantrums as he starts to worry about money, he initially seems to be the more cautious and thoughtful of the two. But I didn’t really like him (or most of the other characters) either. Erin asks herself at one point if she is bad person. This book is full of bad people. You never know who has an ulterior motive or is out to cause harm. The honeymoon turns into a nightmare, and it’s worse when they return home and try to deal with what they have done. But I wondered what kind of relationship they had in the first place, such strain, so many secrets. What’s with him having hiding places and her knowing all of them? I couldn’t really decide if I liked this book or not. There were a lot of twists and turns and surprises but at least part of the ending was already known. The deliberate pace and attention to detail that worked well in building suspense also made many chapters plain boring, too full of information that added nothing to the plot. I couldn’t put the book down, but I think that was due more to that overall sense of dread and anxiety and just having to know exactly how the author would wrap things up. However, the ending and afterward were disappointing. They felt rushed and left us with a platitude. Thanks to LibraryThing for provide a copy of Something in the Water for me to read and review. This review is entirely my opinion.
JamieS 8 months ago
This is a thriller about a couple who find themselves in financial distress weeks before their wedding and the decisions they make afterwards will have life-changing consequences. The book opens with a scene where one of the characters is digging a grave to bury a body! What, aren't you on your honeymoon? All throughout make you stop and wonder...what would I do. A good pool read or beach read! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC for my honest review.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This was a good read
Anonymous 12 months ago
Great read. Looking forward to more books from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has you hooked from the beginning and the ending is even better than you could imagine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I had a better understanding why Mark did his 180 degree but I enjoyed the book very much!
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
This book is about secrets, lies and questionable choices. It features documentary-maker, Erin, and her London banker husband Mark, and a discovery made on their honeymoon in Bora Bora that changes their lives forever. It grabs you from the beginning, has some very unexpected twists and, in a way, it's sort of like watching a train wreck -- you can't turn away. from the story. The ending is fast-paced, and the premise of this book is quite original, making it a worthwhile read. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it but figured out ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
See above.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a book club read I finished this tall tale; otherwise I would have abandoned Mark and Erin shortly after the honeymoon. It was entertaining though; as one bad decision leads to the next and the only certain outcome should be Erin’s death. Maybe the author will follow up with Erin working as Eddie’s hit woman in the next installment of this highly unlikely story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! Read in one sitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Loved all the twists and turns!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end felt like the author ran out of time and rushed it. Overall it was a good book but disappointed with the ending.