The Drowning Pool is a place where many women have lost their lives, whether that be through suicide, accident, or through being too troublesome for the men around them. Nel Abbott has been fascinated with the Drowning Pool for most of her life, which has now ended in the same place. But her sister, come to take care of the daughter that Nel has left behind, doesn’t believe that Nel would have jumped. And so starts our mystery, delving into the secrets and lies of the locals, all of whom have a connection to Nel as well as to those who have died before her.
I haven’t read Girl On A Train, so I came to Into The Water with absolutely no expectations. Told from multiple perspectives – from Nel’s sister, her daughter, the grieving mother of a previous suicide, the wife of the local copper, the local copper and his father, a school teacher, the local ‘psychic’ and more – it took a while for me to get into the story and keep straight whose perspective we were seeing at the time. Everyone has been affected by the deaths in different ways, and all have their own backstories, secrets and agendas, which all slowly build until the mystery of Nel’s death is revealed. The effectiveness of this kind of relies on how well you get along with the multiple perspectives – I felt that, although atmospheric, they kept us at a distance from proceedings – and whether or not you see the end coming. I felt that I’d seen the end flagged from the very start, only to be tripped by the last minute twist that drew the book to a quiet close.
The writing was very atmospheric, and I did find myself continuing to turn pages trying to uncover the town’s secrets, so I would definitely read more of Hawkins work. I think I just expected this to have a little more oomph.