Something in the Water: A Novel

by Catherine Steadman

Paperback, 2020




Ballantine Books (2020), 464 pages


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. . . . 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. . . .


(430 ratings; 3.4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member nmarti
This is a morality tale and a gripping suspense story. Erin and Mark are madly in love and enjoying a honeymoon in Bora Bora when they find something in the water that changes the course of their lives and keeps the reader engrossed. Both are flawed individuals who demonstrate a frustrating lack of
Show More
judgment that puts them in one dangerous situation after another. Not easy to like, those two. Although then plot is somewhat predictable, there are sufficient twists, turns, personal challenges, tough decisions, and so on to keep this book moving along.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Although Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman starts off with a chilling first chapter, I found it took a little too long to get to the meat of the story. But once it took off, the unreliable characters and the steamroller of a plot kept the excitement levels at high.

While on a scuba
Show More
diving expedition in Bora Bora, Erin and Mark, a couple of honeymooners stumble on a plane crash. They take a bag from the crash site that both rewards them unbelievably but also brings terror, stress and disillusionment into their lives. I spent most of the book shaking my head over the decisions that the main characters made. I could feel the greed levels rising and even though these two were in constant danger, they were perhaps their own worst enemies. Like many recent thrillers, it was obvious that the train wreak was coming.

I would have preferred a more pared down version of the story. I didn’t feel that I needed to know every detail of their lives, a good third of the book was taken up with setting the scene. Once Mark and Erin found the bag in the water, the pace picked up and the suspense levels rose. This is Catherine Steadman’s debut novel so it will be interesting to see what she will produce next.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jpeterman
Starts with a bang that really gets you interested in how that happened. It does get very bogged down in useless information, but I liked it overall. I was pretty confused for a bit at the end, and the protagonist is a flippin' idiot the entire time. Definite tones of abuse from the husband
Show More
(gaslighting, verbal abuse). I didn't see the end coming in that manner. Overall a good read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ecataldi
Very much in the style of Lisa Jewell and other contemporary female thriller authors, Something in the Water keeps you guessing at the outcome until the end. When Erin and her husband go on their honeymoon they make a shocking discovery while scuba diving. Do they pretend they saw nothing or do
Show More
they take what they find?? One bad decision follows another as the two British newlyweds find themselves in heaps of trouble. They have to sleep with one eye open as the trouble begins to seep into every outlet of their lives. If only they had gone somewhere other than Bora Bora! Pretty fast paced all the way until the end (which I did not see coming).
Show Less
LibraryThing member dawnlovesbooks
Mark and Erin are just two ordinary people from London. When the couple marries and goes to Bora Bora for a honeymoon in paradise, an innocent trip out scuba-diving changes their lives forever. The couple packs up and returns home earlier than planned. Erin is making a documentary about three
Show More
prisoners that are about to be released and Mark has just been fired from a job and the couple is struggling financially. As the couple’s fear and paranoia get worse, they make numerous bad and hasty decisions. Erin: “Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like something is closing in on me, on us. I know it sounds stupid and paranoid and I have no evidence to back this feeling up, but I can just sense it all around me. Like it’s just waiting for something. I can’t feel it yet, but I can feel it coming.” The book explores how easy it is to adapt, to become a different person, and how you can do what you have to do for survival. “We human beings are amazing in our capacity for adaptation. Like plants, we grow into our pots. ”Erin and Mark begin to doubt everything and everyone, including each other. How well do you really know another person? I read this because Reese Witherspoon chose it for her Hello Sunshine book club. Honestly, I didn’t get interested until half way through the book. I found it boring and I was disappointed, but please read it for yourself because a lot of other people really seemed to enjoy it!
Show Less
LibraryThing member techeditor
I determine what I read by books’ reviews. SOMETHING IN THE WATER has plenty of great ones, including from Reese Witherspoon and her book club. So I expected this book to be “thrilling and thought provoking,” "deliciously dramatic,” and “a dark glittering gem of a thriller.”

But I was
Show More
disappointed. It bored me for the most part.

Erin and Mark, as young newlyweds on their honeymoon, find “something in the water” that changes both of them for the worse. It took until page 230 to get to that, though. Before they found “something in the water” are 229 pages of buildup. Even after they find “something in the water,” the story is predictable, including and most of all the end.

Show Less
LibraryThing member susan.h.schofield
This was a suspenseful novel that definitely will hold your attention but there were just way to many things that didn't make sense to me. The change is Mark's personality over the course of just a few weeks was really unbelievable. Maybe if he and Erin had only been together for a few months
Show More
before they got married it would have been plausible but the fact that they had been living together for 4 years and then he turned on her in a matter of days was very unrealistic. And it never made sense to me there reasoning for keeping the phone and USB - why didn't they just throw it back on the ocean? That would have solved a lot of their problems. Erin was pretty clueless at times and a little too trusting of everyone. But if you like psychological thrillers, this a fast paced easy read. I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DKnight0918
Oh my goodness, what a page turner. I see why Reece picked this one for her book club. Recommending this one to my friends. I just wish there would have been more with the documentary, like it actually being made at the end. I also felt like it ended somewhat abruptly. Other than those minor
Show More
complaints I really enjoyed this book. I was glad Mark died towards the end.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Bonnie.Franks
This book was provided to me by NetGalley.

I need to start by saying that the writing in this book is great. The characters are real, easily understood, and recognizable. You become immersed in this book easily and are upset when you need to put the book down to attend to life.

I felt the love the
Show More
couple felt for each other, I felt the pride Erin felt in her work project, I felt the expected twinges of fear where they were expected, and I was ultimately surprised to be so wrong about the direction some of the twists were taking me. In a good way. I love when an author can achieve that level of surprise for a's part of the reason we read.

This one has it all, the love, the romance, the fear, the twists, all of it. It's all in this book that you will want to read real fast so you know, and at the same time, read real slow so that it doesn't end.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Dokfintong
First I'll tell you how I read this book, then I'll tell you why, and then I'll suggest that you go ahead and read it regardless.

I have been travelling and have been carrying my smallest e-reader, a tiny smart phone that isn't very smart. The screen is bigger than a business card, but not much and
Show More
there isn't a lot of text on the page at one time – maybe a paragraph. I don't like this reader but use it anyway.

I read this book by flipping through the pages as fast as I could, slowing to read a sentence here and a whole page there. I "finished" the book in a remarkably short time. The tiny screen was one reason that I could go from screen to screen so quickly. Another is that Ms Steadman has added way too much description and back story in the text. I really didn't care about most of it. The third reason is that the story is told in the first person, a literary form I don't much care for. Finally, I felt that Erin, our hero, does some stupid stuff and takes strange risks that no one would take, and I found her somewhat unbelievable.

All that being said, I think there are a lot of mystery and thriller readers who will enjoy this story of a young woman and her husband who get drawn deeper and deeper into crime. Go ahead and give it a try.

I received a review copy of "Something in the Water" by Catherine Steadman (Random House – Ballantine) through
Show Less
LibraryThing member cathyskye
This review is going to be rather short and sweet because I don't have all that much to say. Something in the Water is a well-written example of domestic suspense, the type of novel that's come in on Gone Girl's wave of popularity. Therein lies the rub: I was so not a fan of Gone Girl that I
Show More
couldn't finish it. At least Catherine Steadman's characters aren't as obnoxious as those in Gillian Flynn's book, and I could stick with it to the very last page.

As I read the book, I could admire the writing, the characters, the story, and the pacing... but I simply could not care for the book. This review has more to do with me than it does with Steadman's work. I am tired of domestic suspense. I'm tired of reading books in which you can't trust any of your nearest and dearest. Just give me a simple murder and a dedicated cop to solve it. If you are a fan of Gone Girl and the domestic suspense subgenre, Something in the Water should be something that you will really enjoy. As for me, I'm going to steer clear of Domestic Suspense Circle and head for Harry Bosch Boulevard.
Show Less
LibraryThing member arlenadean
Title: Something in the Water
Author: Catherine Steadman
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"Something in the Water" by Catherine Steadman

My Thoughts....

I enjoyed this good fast paced and thought provoking read which was about two
Show More
newlyweds [Erin & Mark] who honeymooned Bora Bora. They enjoyed the weather, great food and loved scuba diving, however while scuba diving they find something in the water that did definitely change their lives. How will this twist of fate change their lives as they had back home to plan what they will do with the items found in that suitcase? How will these two deal with 'a sudden ethically and legally challenging issue.' Definitely there will be some very bad reasoning made that will only follow in a wave of horrible decisions for these two.

I liked how this author was able to draw the reader into a riveting psychological suspense-thriller and mysterious read where one will find themselves on the edge of your seat with all that will be happening in this story from all of its twist and turns. The author really knows how to give the reader a well developed plot as well as defined characters that will keep your attention. So, if you are interesting a a roller coaster ride you will be into a treat from this read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member pomo58
Something in the Water from Catherine Steadman is not without its flaws but it ultimately succeeds. In part because of the first person narration but also because many common story elements are used and presented in unique ways. Certainly not for everyone, especially those who feel the protagonist
Show More
should never make foolish decisions or should be particularly likable. If you're comfortable with characters being less than perfect, like all of us, then I think you'll enjoy this.

The first line, which is also used in the promotional material, is an attention-grabber and the entire first chapter is a wonderful opening. This is one of the fairly common elements I think Steadman uses very well, opening with a scene that sequentially would come at or near the end of the book in a simple chronological presentation. The set-up means we are curious about how she arrives at this point rather than wondering what the end point will be. Again, some prefer simple chronological storytelling and really only want a story to be told to them. Some, I think many, enjoy knowing something of the end but wondering what in the world could have brought her to that point. Not quite as simplistic as the pure chronological presentation but really just a shift in what the reader will ponder.

Both Erin and Mark can be annoying. I am not of the mind that they are as bad or as unlikable as some seem to see them. I particularly don't think they are that bad in the early part of their relationship. Like many of us, they discover aspects of themselves when either bad luck or good luck confronts them. We often learn more about ourselves when presented with life-changing events, whether good or bad, and they are hit with both, so they make some bad decisions and become less than what they likely considered themselves to be as people.

I personally liked getting plenty of detail, I think it fits with who Erin is and even when Erin goes into minute detail about a Glock it highlights how foreign a gun is to her while also showing how she becomes comfortable with it. I empathized with Erin even when I was annoyed by some of her actions. She seemed to have always felt like she didn't quite belong at many times in her life and she developed mechanisms to either fit in or at least not draw attention to herself. That odd mixture of confidence and doubt at the same time, believing in oneself at the same time you doubt yourself.

I don't know what loose ends people have mentioned not being tied up. As far as the narrative of the story is concerned, everything was sealed pretty well. The only thing left hanging wasn't part of this story and seems to be a potential hint at a future volume. If you read attentively you should have all of your questions, as they pertain to the story, answered. You may find some things to be a stretch or even unlikely but if you read thrillers and mysteries you have come to expect some of that.

Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads.
Show Less
LibraryThing member debkrenzer
This book begins with someone telling us how to dig a grave. Right off the bat, you know someone is going to die and it's not accidental.

Then the story starts at the beginning of this couple's relationship. I found myself rooting for this couple all along the way until after the honeymoon. Then I
Show More
definitely changed my mind. Of course, it went back and forth for a while. I couldn't figure out who was the actual bad guy.

There were many suspects and this was definitely a gripping read. Towards the end my pulse was racing, I couldn't read the book fast enough. And then the spiel about the Glock? Come on, get with the book. HA!!!

Excellent read. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Thanks to Random House Ballantine and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DrApple
I really like this novel. The suspense never wavered. The main character was likable (if somewhat dense from time to time.) The events that lead to the complications in her life were believable, and the shadowy bad guys were truly terrifying. I would highly recommend this book.
LibraryThing member Sharn
I'd give this one 3.5/5 stars. I didn't round up because there are lot of unanswered questions at the end of this one and the ending confused me. Maybe there's going to be a sequel that answers all of our questions.

The book starts with Erin digging a grave with her dead husband next to her. As I
Show More
read, I couldn't fathom how Mark would die. The book then backs up a little and gives you foresight into how they got to that point.

Erin and Mark are on their honeymoon. They make a startling discovery when they find Something in the Water (see what I did there?). The choices they make along the way might startle you but nothing will prepare you for the end.

Tampax - LOL - if you read it, you know.

I'm really enjoying the audio books. This book was narrated by the author, Catherine Steadman, and I loved her voice. It was really easy to listen to and read well.

I still wonder if a book rating would change for me if I were to read it first instead of listening to it first but it's not something I'll ever be able to find out since you can only read/listen to a book as a virgin once. After that, you know.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sbenne3
A solid thriller. I did get a little tired of the protagonist . . . she wasn't as strong as I like to read and am wondered how smart she even was . . . certainly low on common sense and street smarts! Regardless, there were some good twists and turns and this was a great summer travel read.
LibraryThing member seasonsoflove
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

When a newlywed couple finds something completely unexpected on their honeymoon, they make decisions that change everything for them and their life
Show More

Here's the thing with this book. It starts out with a lot of promise. The first chapter is a great set up that had me hooked right away.

But the middle section, at least to me, was very predictable. I called it very early on. This made getting through the middle section almost a bit of a chore.

The end, however, was also really well done. It was completely unexpected, a great twist, that surprised me and left me thinking.

So, total, the book was pretty good. It was just that middle section that really lacked. Steadman has great ideas, she just needs to work on carrying the interest of the story completely through, not just the beginning and ending.
Show Less
LibraryThing member dcoward
I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this one, so I'm not rating it. When a documentary film maker and her unemployed banker husband discover something in the water during their luxurious honeymoon in Bora Bora, their lives take a disturbing turn.
LibraryThing member Mrs.DuBois
I loved the beginning, but after that I had to force myself to keep reading. I kept wondering when the author would introduce the plot line but when Steadman (about p.100) did there was no putting this book down!
LibraryThing member kimkimkim
It was exhausting being inside Erin’s (the narrator’s) head. She examined thoughts, possibilities, probabilities, everything in minute detail. The one thing she never examined nor doubted was her love for her new husband, Mark, and there’s the rub. The ending is perfectly told in the first
Show More
chapter. How we get to that point is laid out in forty subsequent chapters each subtitled to give the reader a glimpse into what to expect.

It is a big year for Erin. She has obtained funding for her first solo project, a documentary following three prisoners during and after incarceration. Her upcoming wedding to Mark; everything seems to be “at a magical point”. Maybe not. Mark loses his job as an investment banker for an undisclosed reason. No severance, bad economic timing, no job prospects, limited savings and a mortgage on his only asset, his house. They minimize the situation, downsize the wedding, shorten the honeymoon and everything will be fine. Off to Bora Bora for their honeymoon and when something goes “thunk, thunk, thunk’ in the water the downward spiral begins. Now the beguiling question of whether something is flotsam or jetsam begins to define everything, the truth, the lies, the deception, the fear, the idiocy of all of it. It would be too easy to add more but they would all be spoilers.

The tension is at all times handwringing tense. The characterizations and their circumstances are spot on. This book is a true testament to “How quickly what is good can become not good enough through comparison.” There are no altruists in these pages just varying levels of greed and for me that’s the rub.

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC
Show Less
LibraryThing member gail616
Good book. If it wasn’t an audiobook, I don’t know if I would have finished it.
LibraryThing member ouroborosangel
I'd actually give this 3 1/2 stars. as Something in the Water is a good solid thriller, by Catherine Steadman (the actress of Downton Abbey fame). It is perfect for someone who hasn't already read a lot of thrillers. If you are a thriller connoisseur, then you will see the "twist" a mile away. Read
Show More
it if you are curious as to what kind of book Reese Witherspoon would pick. Otherwise, there are better thrillers out there.
Show Less
LibraryThing member melaniehope
Erin and Mark are passionately in love. While on a honeymoon, they find an amazing treasure floating in the water. They make a decision to keep it and then their life seems to spiral out of control. I really enjoyed reading this book, but it was pure entertainment only. Most of the things that
Show More
happened, would never work in "real life." The decisions they made and how they handled the situation made me raise my eyebrows a lot!
Show Less
LibraryThing member danfango
This turned out to be a fast page turner. I liked the plot with all the twists and turns, but the ending left me a little disappointed. Perhaps there is another book in the future that follows up on the male prisoner who helped the main character.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

464 p.; 7.51 inches


1984820532 / 9781984820532
Page: 0.1734 seconds