Cover image for Something in the water : a novel
Title:
Something in the water : a novel
Author:
Steadman, Catherine, author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
342 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . . Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .
General Note:
"Reese's book club."--cover.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781524797188
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut--for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

"A psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. What unfolds makes for a wild, page-turning ride! It's the perfect beach read!"--Reese Witherspoon (Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick)

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman's enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we're tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Praise for Something in the Water

"Arresting . . . deftly paced, elegantly chilly . . . [Catherine] Steadman brings . . . wit, timing and intelligence to this novel. . . . Something in the Water is a proper page-turner." -- The New York Times

"With unreliable characters, wry voices, exquisite pacing, and a twisting plot, Steadman potently draws upon her acting chops. . . . A darkly glittering gem of a thriller from a new writer to watch." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Captivating . . . daring . . . The threats and increasingly bad decisions accelerate with Bourne-like velocity. . . . Steadman [is] a newcomer worth watching." -- Publishers Weekly

"An unbearably tense debut with a knockout premise, Something in the Water had me hooked from the very first sentence. Thrilling and thought-provoking, it's the perfect beach read. I devoured it!" --Riley Sager, bestselling author of Final Girls


Author Notes

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London, UK. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End. In 2016 she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Oppenheimer . She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey . She grew up in the New Forest, UK, and lives with a small dog and an average-sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Documentary filmmaker Erin Locke scores big when three high-profile convicts, including London gangster Eddie Bishop, agree to allow her to document their transitions back into society. But, as Erin's career soars, her fiancée, Mark, struggles to replace the lucrative banking job he's just lost. Although they can scarcely afford it, Erin is convinced that their Tahitian honeymoon will set things right. It looks that way until a boating excursion leads them to a mysterious bag floating amid a plane's wreckage. Inside the bag is what appears to be an answer to their woes: millions of dollars in cash and diamonds. Erin and Mark boldly decide to disregard the accompanying cellphone full of increasingly threatening Russian texts and smuggle the contents back into Europe. But, when Erin secretly attempts to fence the diamonds, she's targeted by ruthless killers and must turn to Eddie Bishop to survive. This debut's opening hook, which jumps ahead in the story to reveal a shocking outcome, teamed with Erin's spunk and the threat of Russian mobsters, creates irresistible suspense of both the what-will-happen and the how-did-that-happen varieties.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

One minute London newlyweds Erin Locke and Mark Roberts are enjoying a honeymoon to die for-Bora Bora, five-star lagoon bungalow-and the next they're being sucked into a maelstrom that might actually get them killed, in this captivating if credulity-stretching debut from Downton Abbey alum Steadman (she played Mabel Lane Fox). What changes everything is the couple's discovery while scuba diving of a locked canvas duffel bag. Its contents would free both recently fired investment banker Mark and narrator Erin, who just started filming her first solo documentary (about three prisoners and their transitions postincarceration), from any financial worries-but almost certainly guarantee worries of a more lethal nature. Once the pair start down this perilously slippery slope, the threats and increasingly bad decisions accelerate with Bourne-like velocity, as do their lies to each other. Although not all of the plot gambles prove equally successful, daring choices, such as opening with a scene of the desperate Erin digging a grave, mark Steadman as a newcomer worth watching. Agent: Camilla Wray, Darley Anderson (U.K.). (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Debut author Steadman narrates this story of young love in a skilled and compelling voice. Erin and her husband, Mark, set out for their dream honeymoon in Bora Bora fully expecting to live a long and happy life together. However, what they find in a bag floating in the water following a scuba adventure changes everything. Finding no ID on the bag, Mark and Erin make the foolish choice to keep the treasure of diamonds within it. Perhaps Erin's vocation as a documentary filmmaker predisposes her to digging into things that should be left alone. Her current project is documenting the lives of prisoners as they are approaching parole. Erin asks one of the prisoners in her documentary to help her liquidate the gems. Despite her promises to Mark that she will not touch the phone and flash drive that were bundled with the cash and stones, Erin opens both. She becomes deeply immersed in shady activity but is so likable that listeners will hope she escapes detection. The twist at the end is a surprising relief. Verdict The balance of terror and hope in this first novel is breathtaking. Listeners will anxiously await another novel from Steadman, and will hope the author will choose to narrate future works as well. ["Erin's and Mark's motivations are sketchy and a number of threads are left untied at the end, leaving the reader hanging. Still, this has been getting some prepub buzz so die-hard thriller fans might be interested": LJ Xpress Reviews 6/15/18 review of the Ballantine hc.]-Ann Weber, Los Gatos, CA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 Saturday, October 1 The Grave Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age. However long you think it takes, double that. I'm sure you've seen it in movies: the hero, gun to his head perhaps, as he sweats and grunts his way deeper and deeper into the earth until he's standing six feet down in his own grave. Or the two hapless crooks who argue and quip in the hilarious madcap chaos as they shovel frantically, dirt flying skyward with cartoonish ease. It's not like that. It's hard. Nothing about it is easy. The ground is solid and heavy and slow. It's so fucking hard. And it's boring. And long. And it has to be done. The stress, the adrenaline, the desperate animal need to do it, sustains you for about twenty minutes. Then you crash. Your muscles yawn against the bones in your arms and legs. Skin to bone, bone to skin. Your heart aches from the aftermath of the adrenal shock, your blood sugar drops, you hit the wall. A full-­body hit. But you know, you know with crystal clarity, that high or low, exhausted or not, that hole's getting dug. Then you kick into another gear. It's that halfway point in a marathon when the novelty has worn off and you've just got to finish the joyless bloody thing. You've invested; you're all in. You've told all your friends you'd do it, you made them pledge donations to some charity or other, one you have only a vague passing connection to. They guiltily promised more money than they really wanted to give, feeling obligated because of some bike ride or other they might have done at university, the details of which they bore you with every time they get drunk. I'm still talking about the marathon, stick with me. And then you went out every evening, on your own, shins throbbing, headphones in, building up miles, for this. So that you can fight yourself, fight with your body, right there, in that moment, in that stark moment, and see who wins. And no one but you is watching. And no one but you really cares. It's just you and yourself trying to survive. That is what digging a grave feels like, like the music has stopped but you can't stop dancing. Because if you stop dancing, you die. So you keep digging. You do it, because the alternative is far worse than digging a never-­ending fucking hole in the hard compacted soil with a shovel you found in some old man's shed. As you dig you see colors drift across your eyes: phosphenes caused by metabolic stimulation of neurons in the visual cortex due to low oxygenation and low glucose. Your ears roar with blood: low blood pressure caused by dehydration and overexertion. But your thoughts? Your thoughts skim across the still pool of your consciousness, only occasionally glancing the surface. Gone before you can grasp them. Your mind is completely blank. The central nervous system treats this overexertion as a fight-­or-­flight situation; exercise-­induced neurogenesis, along with that ever-­popular sports mag favorite, "exercise-­induced endorphin release," acts to both inhibit your brain and protect it from the sustained pain and stress of what you are doing. Exhaustion is a fantastic emotional leveler. Running or digging. Around the forty-­five-­minute mark I decide six feet is an unrealistic depth for this grave. I will not manage to dig down to six feet. I'm five foot six. How would I even climb out? I would literally have dug myself into a hole. According to a 2014 YouGov survey, five foot six is the ideal height for a British woman. Apparently that is the height that the average British man would prefer his partner to be. So, lucky me. Lucky Mark. God, I wish Mark were here. So if I'm not digging six feet under, how far under? How deep is deep enough? Bodies tend to get found because of poor burial. I don't want that to happen. I really don't. That would definitely not be the outcome I'm after. And a poor burial, like a poor anything else really, comes down to three things: 1. Lack of time 2. Lack of initiative 3. Lack of care In terms of time: I have three to six hours to do this. Three hours is my conservative estimate. Six hours is the daylight I have left. I have time. I believe I have initiative; two brains are better than one. I hope. I just need to work through this step by step. And number three: care? God, do I care. I care. More than I have ever cared in my entire life. ||| Three feet is the minimum depth recommended by the ICCM (Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management). I know this because I Googled it. I Googled it before I started digging. See, initiative. Care. I squatted down next to the body, wet leaves and mud malty underfoot, and I Googled how to bury a body. I Googled this on the body's burner phone. If they do find the body . . . they won't find the body . . . and manage to retrieve the data . . . they won't retrieve the data . . . then this search history is going to make fantastic reading. Two full hours in, I stop digging. The hole is just over three feet deep. I don't have a tape measure, but I remember that three feet is around crotch height. The height of the highest jump I managed on the horse-­riding vacation I took before I left for university twelve years ago. An eighteenth-­birthday present. Weird what sticks in the memory, isn't it? But here I am, waist-­deep in a grave, remembering a gymkhana. I got second prize, by the way. I was very happy with it. Anyway, I've dug approximately three feet deep, two feet wide, six feet long. Yes, that took two hours. To reiterate: digging a grave is very hard. Just to put this into perspective for you, this hole, my two-­hour hole, is: 3 ft x 2 ft x 6 ft, which is 36 cubic feet of soil, which is 1 cubic meter of soil, which is 1.5 tons of soil. And that--­that--­is the weight of a hatchback car or a fully grown beluga whale or the average hippopotamus. I have moved the equivalent of that up and slightly to the left of where it was before. And this grave is only three feet deep. I look across the mud at the mound and slowly hoist myself out, forearms trembling under my own weight. The body lies across from me under a torn tarpaulin, its brilliant cobalt a slash of color against the brown forest floor. I'd found it abandoned, hanging like a veil from a branch, back toward the layby, in quiet communion with an abandoned fridge. The fridge's small freezer-­box door creaking calmly in the breeze. Dumped. There's something so sad about abandoned objects, isn't there? Desolate. But kind of beautiful. I suppose, in a sense, I've come to abandon a body. The fridge has been here a while--­I know this because I saw it from the car window as we drove past here three months ago, and nobody has come for it yet. We were on our way back to London from Norfolk, Mark and I, after celebrating our anniversary, and here the fridge still is months later. Odd to think so much has happened--­to me, to us--­in that time, but nothing has changed here. As if this spot were adrift from time, a holding area. It has that feel. Perhaps no one has been here since the fridge owner was here, and God knows how long ago that might have been. The fridge looks distinctly seventies--­you know, in that bricky way. Bricky, Kubricky. A monolith in a damp English wood. Obsolete. Three months it's been here at least and no collection, no men from the dump. No one comes here, that's clear. Except us. No council workers, no disgruntled locals to write letters to the council, no early morning dog walkers to stumble across my quarry. This was the safest place I could think of. So here we are. It will take a while for it all to settle, the soil. But I think the fridge and I have enough time. I look it over, the crumpled-­tarp mound. Underneath lie flesh, skin, bone, teeth. Three and a half hours dead. I wonder if he's still warm. My husband. Warm to the touch. I Google it. Either way, I don't want the shock. Okay. Okay, the arms and legs should be cold to the touch but the main body will still be warm. Okay then. I take a long, full exhalation. Okay, here we go. . . . I stop. Wait. I don't know why, but I clear his burner phone's search history. It's pointless, I know; the phone's untraceable and after a couple of hours in the damp October ground it won't work anyway. But then, maybe it will. I place the burner back in his coat pocket and slip his personal iPhone out of his chest pocket. It's on airplane mode. I look through the photo library. Us. Tears well and then streak in two hot dribbles down my face. I fully remove the tarp, exposing everything it conceals. I wipe the phone for prints, return it to its warm chest pocket, and brace my knees to drag. I'm not a bad person. Or maybe I am. Maybe you should decide? But I should definitely explain. And to explain I need to go back. Back to that anniversary morning, three months ago. Excerpted from Something in the Water: A Novel by Catherine Steadman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.