into the water by p hawkins

Testing, testing, 1,2,3… anybody still out there??? I am incredibly happy that my baby blog has patiently waited for my grand return! It feels so liberating to know– to really, really, really, know and feel– that I have the time to type away without feeling rushed or exhausted. There’s been so many pent-up words and bookworm-feelings in my head.  What a great way to end the day :)

Whenever summer rolls in, I’m eagerly looking for something easy and fun to read (because, you know, the weather is so nice; more traveling involved; more days lazing around cafes & pools).  Two summers ago when I read The Girl on the Train I spent the following weeks direly looking for a similar thrill.  Never succeeded though.  What more can beat Hawkins’ suspenseful prose than Hawkins herself?? Or so I thought.

Into the Water is about the suicide of Nel Abbott and the historical witch superstition that resurfaces her hometown of Beckford because of how many suspicious suicides that were committed before hers.  Julia, Nel’s estranged younger sister, returns to Beckford from years of hiatus to fathom and to dispel this supposed curse.  In the process, she reconnects with Nel’s teenage daughter, Lena, and the two of them try to look past their differences to investigate what had really taken place during the last few days of Nel’s life.  Hawkins description of the town is cinematic; it’s descriptive and a bit redundant.  Beckford has murky earthly structures that have mysteriously engulfed many suicides since the town’s past: a river, a drowning pool, and a bridge that hovers over its people like a giant wailing wall.  As Lena and Julia trace back Nel’s steps, they encounter so many characters around town.  They believe there is a silent murderer in town.

There are too many characters that are unrealistic or unbelievable.  It’s as if Hawkins wanted to dilute any predictable suspicion of any character; she distracts us from one character after another, layer after layer, personality after personality.  Some of these characters include the detective in charge, his retired police chief father, his hermit wife, a randomly handsome teacher from the Abbott’s childhood, Lena’s rebellious best friend Katie who died in an apparent suicide, Katie’s dark and skeptical mother Louise, and finally, a random psychic Nicky who conveniently lives in a house with the full view of the town bridge (but of course we won’t know what Nicky saw until the very end).  Whew!

To make it even more complicated, the book is written in three different time periods with these characters popping in and out of the story.  This book isn’t quite the thriller in terms of speed and action but there’s a lot of darkness and plenty of unsettling emotions that bring you into a devilish cave.  Maybe if I hadn’t read her first book, Water wouldn’t have been a disappointment.

dee’s recommendation: 2/5