A Book Spy Review: ‘Something in the Water’ by Catherine Steadman


Something in the waterCatherine Steadman bursts onto the thriller scene with this exceptional debut psychological thriller, written in the vein of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

Steadman opens her rip-roaring debut with Erin Locke, the book’s narrator and the main character, digging her husband’s grave. It’s a well-written and intriguing scene that also sets the tone moving forward. . . because, as the story shifts back to the couple’s honeymoon, Erin and her new hubby, Mark, dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole after making a shocking discovery that will forever change their lives. 

It was supposed to be a happy time. Erin and Mark had just tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony then jetted off to Bora Bora, where a five-star bungalow awaits them. As the story unfolds, readers learn that Erin is a documentary filmmaker working on a project that allows criminals behind bars to ponder their eventual freedom and what they’d like to do with their lives. Mark, meanwhile, an investment banker, has lost his job. The couple is preparing to be frugal once they return from Bora Bora, at least until Mark finds a new job and their financial situation brightens, but a random discovery offers them flexibility on that front if the couple is daring enough to take a chance. 

While scuba diving, Erin and Mark come across a duffel bag hidden in the water. Before they decide to touch it, before they even ponder opening it to look inside, they unintentionally light the fuse that kicks off a chain of events they couldn’t have possibly seen coming. Soon, their world comes crashing down around them as a number of mysterious characters descend upon their honeymoon, forcing the couple to make one impossible decision after another.

Things worsen considerably when they inadvertently find themselves being investigated by a DCI agent who takes an interest in Erin when one of the prisoners she was profiling disappears after being released from prison and is suspected of being linked to a terrorist organization. Ignoring your conscience is one thing, but, as Erin and Mark are about to find out, it’s a whole lot harder to abandon your moral principles under the watchful eyes of the Division of Criminal Investigation. . . 

One bad decision can take you further than you ever intended to go, changing your life forever. But what if you innocently got yourself into something you never intended or planned on? That’s the magic behind Steadman’s thriller, which mixes a Paula Hawkins-like unreliable narrator with a Joseph Finder-like conspiracy, creating enough suspense to have even those with nerves of steel gnawing at their fingernails. There have been some notable writers in past years who’ve delivered hit debuts, but few stand out like Steadman, who should appeal to both diehard readers and casual fans of suspense. 

Deftly plotted and told with lightning-quick pacing, Catherine Steadman hits readers with twists and turns they’ll never see coming, landing one expertly thrown punch after another. . . Something in the Water is psychological suspense at its absolute finest, and Steadman has all the makings of a writer poised to shoot straight to the top of the genre. 

Book Details

Author: Catherine Steadman
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524797189
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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