Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Beneath the Surface

Catherine Steadman
Ballantine Books
June 5, 2018

Mark and Erin have what appears to be a perfect life; madly in love, together four years and proud owners of a beautiful home. Their upcoming lavish wedding and three-week honeymoon at a five-star resort in Bora Bora will be the icing on the cake, right? Cracks begin to appear when Mark, a previously successful London investment banker loses his job and can't find another. Meanwhile, Erin's career as a documentary film-maker is on the upswing. She has secured funding for a documentary following three prisoners who are due for release. One of the prisoners, Eddie, is an old-style London gangster who is a legend. Erin's interviews with the charming and charismatic Eddie will just about guarantee success for the project. The couple agrees to downscale the wedding and shorten the honeymoon, not without some rancor coming to the surface. The honeymoon is idyllic until they are scuba diving and find "something in the water," something that will lead to a terrible decision, followed by more bad decisions and reckless behavior. Erin, in particular, begins to rely on Eddie, still in prison, for advice and help.

I am not going to say much more about the plot because Something in the Water is so plot-driven. Steadman does not neglect character development in the pursuit of the plot, however. All of the characters, from Mark to Eddie, and the two other prisoners featured in the documentary, to family and friends are well fleshed-out. However, Erin is the first-person narrator, and we get to know her the best. Something in the Water is an extraordinary debut novel with a prologue that grabbed me from the first sentences. There was a loose end or two at the end, but perhaps they could have no answers.

Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. I look forward to more of Catherine Steadman's work in the future. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4.5 Stars

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