Book review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water has one of the best opening chapters of any book I’ve ever read.

I only wish the twist hadn’t been quite so transparent and easily deduced.

And, while that didn’t ruin the novel for me, it did keep it from being one of my favorites. But it was certainly close to rising to that level.

The story starts with Erin digging her husband’s grave. It describes the ritual in brutal, what I can only assume is authentic detail. As readers find out, it’s not the start of Erin’s story. I don’t always love frames like this one, but this was absolutely the best way to start this novel. I wonder if that was Steadman’s original idea, or whether a great editor teased this opening out of her. Since Steadman is an actress, and TV/film often uses frame stories like this, either way would make sense.

Erin was on her honeymoon with husband Mark. But as we discover, she is not burying him during this honeymoon. Something happened there that sent them down some kind of destructive path that led to his demise back in Bora Bora.

The start of this path is one that’s been done in fiction plenty of times: they find a bag of cash. The discovery of this one is a bit unique, though.

I really enjoyed Steadman’s writing style, which helped make up for the fact that she telegraphed who did it and why pretty early. Unlike other novels that do this, I did enjoy getting to the answer I already knew.

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