Into the Water

Photo: Marshall Troy

9 of 11
Into the Water
400 pages; Riverhead Books

It’s all but impossible to reach the end of The Girl on the Train without feeling a little intoxicated. One of its three unreliable narrators, the voyeuristic Rachel, is drunk so often that alcohol fumes practically waft off the page. Even readers who love a nightly glass (or three) of wine may find themselves opting for a nice cup of tea.

Liquid also plays a major role in Paula Hawkins’s thrilling follow-up, Into the Water, but as its title suggests, it’s not the inebriating kind. Another mystery involving a dead woman, narrated by multiple characters (15 this time), the novel features water as a lethal weapon and is driven by the central question: Did obsessed journalist Nel Abbott jump into the “drowning pool” she spent years chronicling, or was she pushed?

Through the voices of relatives, creepy neighbors and ex-lovers, we gradually begin to understand why Nel both feared and was drawn to a river that lured so many to their death. Throughout her life she was always on edge, and so are we—kept guessing until the sobering conclusion. 

— Leigh Haber