Paula Hawkins – Into the Water (Release date 2 May 2017 – Doubleday Publishers)

Paula Hawkins has done it again. Into the Water, her latest thriller, is all I’d hoped it would be. Hawkins’ distinctive and free-flowing way with words once again takes the reader on a journey crammed full of suspense, anticipation and a wow-factor ending I certainly didn’t see coming.

Set in the quiet English village of Beckford, Into the Water, meanders and weaves beautifully from character-to-character both past and present. We first meet Jules, traveling back to Beckford following the sudden death of sister, Nel – it’s a place she’d hoped was firmly set in her past. As we are introduced to figures from a life Jules has tried to forget and the pain and anxiety this brings, she finally sees things a whole lot clearer than first thought. But is it all too late?

On top of dealing with the guilt and mystery surrounding Nel’s death, Jules is thrust into the role of surrogate mother to Nel’s teenage daughter, Lena. A feisty young woman with her fair share of complications, Lena provides a hot-headed narrative that Nel would be proud. Into the Water, is as much Lena’s story as it is everyone else’s, but I took a shine to her and was so willing Lena to come out less tainted than people gave her credit for.

As is so often the case with tight-knit communities, people start talking and people start believing. Hawkins’ ability to create convincing characters makes reading, Into the Water, so believable that you can’t help but get wrapped up in their tales and theories. There a few likeable characters in this story; everyone has such a troubled past or present that friendliness is all but void. But that makes wanting to get to the bottom of the gossip all that more vital. Men in positions of authority give opinions and show stature, but as with Hawkins’ highly acclaimed debut, The Girl On The Train, it’s the strong-minded female protagonists that show their worth.

Stripping back the murky waters of Beckford and its ‘troubled women’, Hawkins, in my opinion, so poignantly conveys the importance of family ties and talking things through. A simple miscommunication can carry such lasting affects and in the case of Jules and Nel, it’s simply beyond repair.

Into the Water, is a powerful read that will no-doubt cause more than a few waves throughout 2017 and beyond.

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This copy of Into the Water was kindly provided by Alison Barrow at Transword Books for review purposes.