Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins was the book selected by my blog followers as my Book Bucket read for January 2018. Each month, I hold a poll where you can pick from 12 books I want to read, rotating a new one in and out each month. I was excited to read this one, but hadn’t read Girl on the Train before, so Hawkins is a new author for me. I enjoyed the book a great deal, despite a few areas that didn’t quite work for me, but I’d still recommend it to others as a strong thriller and suspense novel.

The novel focuses on a small town in England, following a core set of about 10 characters. Chapters alternate to provide the history and perspective of multiple deaths by drowning in a local river. It all begins with the death of a suspected witch from several hundred years earlier, culminating with a few deaths in modern times that could be suicide, accidental or murder. As each character shares parts of the story, readers learn what truly happened to each victim.

Ignoring the historical murders, the current day plot is intricate. Several teenagers fight to be popular or earn respect while in high school. Sisters struggle to accept their differences with one another. Parents and children argue about parenting styles. Families are broken by affairs. Police detectives walk a fine line of doing the right versus the wrong thing. Each of the stories are weaved together in a way you can’t help but want to know all the connections. And there is, of course a ‘surprise’ twist in the end… which for many readers, probably won’t be a surprise.

I’m primarily a plot reader, followed closely by character. The plot is definitely strong; however, at least 50% of the characters have some flaws or issues in how they were written. Keeping characters in the grey zone is important within a suspense novel; readers need to know that they might be missing part of the picture, but in the end, it should be clearer than it was in this book. For 3 characters, I felt like the actions didn’t quite match what we’d come to expect from the personalities we’d gotten to know – and it wasn’t due to the grey area. It felt like a totally new character had replaced the ones we’d spent attaching ourselves to. If there are connections we just failed to see because of how good the writing is, then I am OK with it. But if it feels disconnected, then I think the book fails a bit. That’s what I felt happened here… what started out as a 4.5 rating began going south as parts of the plot unraveled. It was clear the entire way that something wasn’t right with a certain character, yet the twist in the end doesn’t do any justice to ‘why’ certain things happened.

All that said… as I kept turning the page, my interest was held and I liked many aspects of the book. I lowered my rating by 1 star because of how it seemed to fall apart in the end… ending somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.75, rounded up to a 4 in the rating. I’ll keep reading Hawkins’ novels, but if another has a similar downturn, I might not stick with it.

water

 

Thanks for picking this one for my January Bucket List! I was glad to read it.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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52 thoughts on “Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

    fitfulfearfulphantasmal said:
    January 8, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    the subject matter sounds precisely like my kind of book! thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    Run Wright said:
    January 8, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    I haven’t read this one yet but I read and liked lots of things about Hawkins’ earlier novel. I would also like to hear if you read and enjoy that one.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 8, 2018 at 2:17 PM

      I haven’t read it yet, but possibly in 2018, as I would prefer to read before I see the movie.

      Like

    anne leueen said:
    January 8, 2018 at 6:00 PM

    Interesting review and to the point. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    N. N. Light said:
    January 8, 2018 at 6:46 PM

    Great, in-depth review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    I’d like to read this before the movie comes out, but I’ve been putting it off because of the mixed reviews. Your honest review pretty much confirmed my misgivings. I’ll give it a go anyway though.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 8, 2018 at 8:53 PM

      It’s a decent read. But in terms of totally controlled and shocking thrillers, no, it’s not very high on my list. I’m not even sure I liked many of the characters to root for them. Tread lightly but definitely read before you see it.

      Liked by 1 person

    Book Club Mom said:
    January 8, 2018 at 8:56 PM

    Hi Jay! I’d be interested in this – I liked The Girl on the Train and am enjoying suspense stories more and more. Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 8, 2018 at 8:57 PM

      It’s a strong story, but the ending wasn’t as good as it should have been. I’ll happily share more offline if you want to know before taking it on. Good writer, just a few too many holes to really push the rating higher. it was a 3.5 but I rounded up just because of the story itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 8, 2018 at 9:00 PM

      Thank you. How are you doing? It’s been too many weeks since we chatted and caught up!

      Liked by 1 person

        Book Club Mom said:
        January 8, 2018 at 9:39 PM

        Yes! I’m fine – I’m finalizing my dad’s manuscript and trying to read read read! 😉 how about you?

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        January 8, 2018 at 9:45 PM

        That’s excellent! Doing well. Just finished my second. It’s with beta readers now.

        Liked by 2 people

        Book Club Mom said:
        January 8, 2018 at 9:48 PM

        Wow that’s great – you are a reading, writing and blogging machine! 📝📚

        Liked by 2 people

    honeyleafs said:
    January 8, 2018 at 10:05 PM

    I loved The Girl on the Train 🙂 And Into The Waters is already on my shelf. It is like you know that you would love the book yet don’t pick it up; it is like a dish you save to savour at last!

    Liked by 1 person

    inspirationpie said:
    January 9, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Great review, Jay. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. Like you, I loved the plot. Honestly, It’s been so long since I’ve read the book, that I can’t remember the characters or if I did or didn’t like them. Ha! I’ll just nod and agree with you there 😉 Just kidding. I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t have the same excitement with it as I did with Girl on the Train, maybe the characters were the reason for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    shalini said:
    January 9, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    I knew it… I don’t think I would have been so kind in my review. You have done a fabulous job analysing it… Very precise

    Liked by 1 person

    Karalee said:
    January 9, 2018 at 4:29 PM

    Great review! I have already bought this book, but I haven’t read it yet, so it’s good to know it’s you rated it well

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 9, 2018 at 8:06 PM

      Thanks. I look forward to when you read it. It was a good book, somewhere between a 3.5 and 3.75. I would have added a little more to the end and a bigger twist to push it truly over a 4, but otherwise, it had many great parts.

      Liked by 1 person

    theorangutanlibrarian said:
    January 10, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Honestly, I had similar issues with plot and characters in Girl on the train- it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 10, 2018 at 2:02 PM

      It must be hard to get these type of novels perfect where it’s believable but also a suspenseful and shocking twist… maybe I should try to write one someday! lol (thank you)

      Liked by 1 person

    hsimone said:
    January 10, 2018 at 1:31 PM

    Thank you for the insightful review. I think the content interests me, but I can also see how those three characters’ actions didn’t match their personalities would be a bit of a turn-off; I think for me, too. It’s bad that the twist in the end wasn’t satisfying, but it’s good to hear the plot was strong. If the plot is strong, then I might be able to “overlook” these flaws while reading, but then would probably have similar thoughts as you when I would finish. For now, I will put this on my TBR list, but it won’t be number one yet.

    Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 10, 2018 at 2:07 PM

      You are welcome. There was a lot of build-up for at least 2/3 of the story where I really expected some powerful twist and connection, something I overlooked about a character’s actions or thoughts. But it didn’t deliver in that “OMG Shock” moment. Writing style is good. Setting is good. Still kept me highly interested.

      Thanks for sharing such great feedback on your thoughts prior to reading it. I look forward to seeing if you ever do!

      Liked by 1 person

        hsimone said:
        January 10, 2018 at 5:21 PM

        I like that it still kept your interest, which is very promising. It’s definitely on my TBR. Let’s see how long it takes me to get to it, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        January 10, 2018 at 5:54 PM

        Ha. Good luck with that!

        Liked by 1 person

        hsimone said:
        January 11, 2018 at 3:02 AM

        Haha, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

    Aislynn d'Merricksson said:
    January 10, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    Tanya Hooper said:
    January 11, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    Read this book and have posted my review of it on my blog TanyaTale.wordpress.com!
    Thanks 👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    RahulYuvi said:
    January 12, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    Wonderful review..a detailed insight ..I too have recently reviewed a recent launch – The Wild Cat – a thriller , a deviant tale of a young woman who unknowingly becomes victim of Cyber Crime through an online dating app.

    It’s an intriguing story dealing with Cyber safety for women.Here goes the review :

    https://the-passport-souls.travel.blog/2018/01/12/book-review-the-wild-cat-trilogy-book-1/

    Liked by 1 person

    Darque Dreamer Reads said:
    January 16, 2018 at 7:55 PM

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    buccisbookshelf said:
    January 23, 2018 at 9:38 PM

    I’m really excited to read this! Girl on the Train was a great novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    […] via Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins — This Is My Truth Now […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Diana said:
    March 9, 2018 at 3:42 AM

    I really liked the author’s first book but I was a bit hesitant to read this one because of the mixed reviews. The character development seems a bit off but I like the fact that this was still a good read for you. Hopefully, I will get a chance to read this year. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      March 9, 2018 at 7:09 AM

      Good luck, thanks for the kind words. I understand what you mean. It’s not as good from what I hear, but I enjoyed the suspense and mystery.

      Like

    Katherine said:
    March 12, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    This is another one on my TBR. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      March 12, 2018 at 1:06 PM

      Thank you! Good to read, not as stellar as I expected tho.

      Like

        Katherine said:
        March 12, 2018 at 5:27 PM

        Heard a lot of hype.

        Liked by 1 person

    […] via Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins — This Is My Truth Now […]

    Liked by 1 person

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