Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is the author's new suspense novel after her previous best seller Girl on the Train. The new title is a similar puzzle of memory and deceit told through a series of alternating character points of view.
The novel takes place in the insular English village of Beckford, where a sinister pool in the local river has claimed the lives of a succession of women going back centuries. The place is known as the Drowning Pool, where women have died -- some by suicide, some by violence in the era of witchcraft hysteria, some more recently by murder perhaps.
The latest to die is Nel Abbott. Shortly before that was teenager Katie Whitaker. Both deaths at first appear to be suicides. Investigating the case are two detectives, the locally born Inspector Sean Townsend, and Sergeant Erin Morgan.
The mystery winds through the changing internal viewpoints of a half dozen characters. But all of them may be unreliable narrators holding back their own secrets, including one of the detectives. The story is convoluted, jumping into flashbacks at times, requiring close attention by the reader to follow the narrative.
Into the Water is a tangled psychological suspense tale that builds slowly toward a resolution that is itself enigmatic, where we can still not be certain we really have the final truth.