Book Review: “Something in the Water”, by Catherine Steadman

Erin and Mark are honeymooning in Bora Bora when they discover something completely unexpected floating in the water. It could be the answer to their prayers or it could rip apart their fledgling marriage. Will they do the right thing?

Well, of course they don’t do the right thing. That would make for a short and boring story!

Erin is a freelance documentary filmmaker, whose current project involves following three about to be released prisoners as they navigate their newfound freedom. It puts her in contact with one of London’s notorious crime bosses (which becomes important later in the story). Her fiance, Mark, is a banker who has recently lost his job and isn’t taking it well, at all. He becomes very focused on finances, convincing Erin to scale back the wedding and, without consulting Erin, reducing the duration of their honeymoon. This is the first example of what becomes a theme of these two not being completely honest with each other.

Bora Bora is beautiful and the newlyweds seem to be well on their way to a lifetime of wedded bliss. But fate throws a curveball their way one day as they’re returning from a scuba diving excursion. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say they found something very valuable floating in the ocean. And it’s obvious that it’s tied to something shady. Using all kinds of acrobatic forms of rationalization, they justify keeping it.

Thus begins a story whose simple moral is “don’t commit crimes” or maybe “choose your spouse wisely.” Erin and Mark are ill-equipped to handle their windfall. Erin becomes paranoid, hides things from Mark and makes bad decisions. Mark becomes a little more distant. The situation gets out of hand and tests their trust in each other, leading to a surprising climax…Which I am not going to reveal.

I’ve been reading some good suspense novels lately, and I would add this to the list of ones I’ve enjoyed. It has a creative plot that really kept my interest. Erin is the narrator and the author effectively gets the reader into Erin’s head as she thinks through how to handle their “find,” justifies more and more bad behavior and wonders what’s going on with Mark. This an example of a story that examines what could happen when two ordinary people are put into a situation that tests their moral code. With stories like this, I like to think about how I would have handled the situation and in this case I can say unequivocally that I would not be on Team Erin and Mark. Crime doesn’t pay, boys and girls!

On the negative side, I didn’t totally buy how it ended. I would like to think human nature isn’t quite that fickle. But maybe I’m just being naive.

Overall, a solid, engaging suspense novel. Thanks for the recommendation, Tracy and Kelly!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: “Something in the Water”, by Catherine Steadman

  1. I too enjoyed this book Michelle! A great example of that slippery slope between right and wrong. One wrong was all that they had planned but of course, that’s not the way it works and there were then obviously many wrongs to follow. I enjoyed how the book was written: Erin as the narrator and especially with the revealing Prologue. I had to go back a couple of time to read the Prologue to make sure I had it right. Even though you know what was going to eventually happen, it was written in a way so as to make the reader want to find out how. Great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi MIchelle! I put this on hold at the library after your review. Finally got it after a long wait and finished it yesterday. Your review was spot-on! Throughout the book, it makes you ask question yourself, “What would I do?” Very compelling read.

    Liked by 1 person

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