Skip to main content

Into the Water


Into the Water

First, from Paula Hawkins, it was Rachel (THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN), who spotted something fishy one day on her commute. Now, it’s Jules --- or, rather, her sister Nel, who has gone INTO THE WATER under suspicious circumstances.

The small English village of Beckford has seen more than its reasonable share of drownings. In fact, the town’s history virtually swirls around the river. There’s a place called the Drowning Pool, a dark place that has claimed many lives. Too many. And all of them women. Some say they were troublesome women. But what is truly troublesome is that two women have died in the Drowning Pool just this year: young Katie Whittaker and now Jules Abbot’s sister, Nel.

"Told from the viewpoints of many key players, INTO THE WATER virtually speeds along to its slightly murky conclusion."

Jules left Beckford years ago, weighed down by memories of a time she’d rather forget. But someone needs to take care of Nel’s teenage daughter, Lena. There had been bad blood between Jules and her sister, so Jules sort of resents the intrusion on her life, but she can’t let the girl suffer for it. While in Beckford, though, she begins to nose around since neither she nor her niece believe the story circulating that Nel jumped off the cliff unaided. Well, that little town has some big secrets. And they surface quickly as the investigation lengthens.

Local policeman Sean Townsend takes charge of the case, gathering clues and interviewing witnesses. He and his family have lived in Beckford for as long as anyone can remember. Sean has a special interest in drownings, because his mom was one of the river’s victims. His dad Patrick --- well, people describe him variously as someone to watch out for or just a harmless old man, depending on who you talk to. Nickie Sage thinks Patrick is anything but harmless, but then most of the town thinks Nickie is not all right in the head. Ask almost anyone in Beckford and they’ll tell you, at the very least, that Nickie is a charlatan, that her claims of having a kind of second sight are bogus. Steer clear of that woman. In truth, Nickie is just the sort of troublesome woman some say the Drowning Pool takes care of. But she does have interesting insights about Nel’s death. If she can only get someone to listen.

While Jules and Lena don’t believe for an instant that Nel killed herself, the notion that Katie committed suicide rings a little more true. But what was her reason? Doesn’t her best friend Lena know? The girl must have confided in someone. Finally discovering what sent Katie into the water shocks the entire village and unleashes a whole new set of dangerous conflicts. Desperate people do desperate things. And Beckford has plenty of desperate people. Grieving, Lena capriciously allows her anger to take over. She becomes almost self-destructive. At 15, many would think she needs watching out for, but Lena has a backbone made of steel and an attitude to match. Only now, as she is hurting from the loss of her mother, predicting what she might do could be a fatal mistake. Careful, Beckford, things are about to get ugly.

Told from the viewpoints of many key players, INTO THE WATER virtually speeds along to its slightly murky conclusion. Paula Hawkins has a distinctive style that compels her readers to keep turning the pages. She leaves a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, making sure to push her fans forward ever faster.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on May 4, 2017

Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins