Into the Water - Paula Hawkins

Jules and Nel no longer speak. They like most sisters fought when they were young but Jules never seemed to get over a specific argument that happened in their youth. She is always pushing Nel away when she needs help and now she thinks that ignoring her most recent phone call could be the reason she has now been found in a river after falling from a clifftop above. Jules returns to her hometown where Nel lived to find out the truth.

As a reader it is usually expected that you are to at least like the main character in a book. I avidly disliked Jules from the start, she was whiny and arrogant, she assumed she knew her sister best despite not speaking to her properly since they were children. Her internal monologues to Nel were creepy and strange, we are to understand that the relationship has broken down beyond reconciliation but Jules is adamant she still knows what her sister was thinking. I don't buy it. We then have to consider Lena, Nel's daughter, who struggles with the loss of her mother but has to deal with Jules trying to solve a mystery she insists isn't there. Again Jules is terrible, let the girl grieve!

Like most readers I decided to listen to this audiobook as it was advertised for 'fans of The Girl on the Train' and although I haven't read the book yet I loved the story from the film because it was insanely well planned out. However, with The Girl on the Train there was a much larger sense of mystery surrounding fewer characters, with Into the Water there was a huge cast of characters trying to make a mystery happen but it clear from the start that a) it was a murder, not a suicide and b) we had met the killer within the first few chapters. There were a few red herrings that could have easily been the killer but we were turned around at the last second to think "oh, maybe not then", so it was very back and forth with who did what and when.

Along with the vast amount of characters there was a vast array of story-lines to keep up with that I feel Hawkins used to make the story more enticing but actually made me more confused. Without giving it all away there are intermingling stories with nearly all the main characters that muddy the waters a little (get it?) when trying to understand what is happening. There was a slight historical narrative surrounding the river/pool that Nel died in that I really liked because it did show that Hawkins had actually put a bit of effort into creating the elaborate backstory that surrounded the area.

I hoped this story would get easier to handle as it went on but even to the last few minutes of the audiobook I was confused. The general story was interesting in the sense of wanting to actually find out the details but it was clear early on what had happened. If you enjoyed "The Girl on the Train" you actually probably won't enjoy this, a bit of a let down.

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