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Something in the Water
Cover of Something in the Water
Something in the Water
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
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)

A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB 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.
Advance praise for Something in the Water
"With unreliable characters, wry voices, exquisite pacing, and a twisting plot, [Catherine] 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
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)

A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB 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.
Advance praise for Something in the Water
"With unreliable characters, wry voices, exquisite pacing, and a twisting plot, [Catherine] 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
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  • From the cover 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,...
About the Author-
  • 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-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 26, 2018
    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.).

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Something in the Water
A Novel
Catherine Steadman
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