There’s Something in the Water: Oh wait, it’s frustration

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I’ve read Something in the Water from Catherine Steadman with high expectations: so many five star reviews! Already a NY Times Best seller. What a disappointment…This was a buddy read with Umut. Proud to say we share the same feelings!

Warning: This review contains spoilers

The Plot

I won’t lie. The first 30% wasn’t that bad. Then it just started tumbling down to the cliff into the water!

The plot is absurd. Our protagonist, Erin is engaged with an investment banker, Mark, who mysteriously gets fired from his high-paying job days before their wedding. They go to honeymoon. They find SOMETHING in the water. Then hell breaks lose. It’s alright. Erin is an idiot, I understand. Mark is as flat as an A4 paper but he does the job. Then there is a whole storyline of 3 prisoners, Holli, Eddie and Alexa. Erin meets and interviews them to make a documentary and it looks like they’re just thrown in to spice it up. Oh wait, one of the prisoners, Eddie the dangerous criminal, becomes Erin’s fairy-gangsta-mother, so that must be why they’re in. Every time Erin has a criminal problem, she rings Eddie. Uh, oh, I think HMP Pentonville must be operating as a call center. I can’t see how else Eddie can take so many calls from Erin. So here is a tip, if you have a body to dispose, some illegal diamonds to sell, you ever need a gun, or encrypt some illegal documents, I don’t know, just ring HMP Pentonville and I am sure they can put in contact with the right sort of criminal.


There are so many silly things about the plot that makes your eyes roll : like Mark and Erin smuggling loads of diamonds and millions of dollars to the UK without any problems in their luggage- which I honestly think British Border Force should take as a wake up call if this is the case with first class passengers never being searched-, or Erin trying to sell the diamonds almost in the open market next to vegetables and the criminals still can’t spot them, silly criminals…Did I mention Holli suddenly running wild to Isis- what the heck was this for we’ll never know) It felt like Steadman had a wild dream and decided to write this into a novel.

The inattention to detail

I am very frustrated to the fact that Steadman (and the editor ) never realised these mistakes below:

See Gaziantep: the small village. In real life, Gaziantep is a city inhabiting nearly 2 million people. Hey, they have an airport there guys. The bus drive might kill them- it’s a long way!


It took me probably less than 20 seconds to Google Gaziantep and learn it’s a large city of 1.7 million.

A snap from the Small Turkish village, Gaziantep.

Well, apparently no body cares about Turkey, so let’s go on:

Ashar, the Arab guy in a Turkish family


First thing first: Ashar Farooq is not a Turkish name. This name is Arabic. And With a Turkish family, god knows why Ashar is going to Syria. (Please don’t tell me that they’re next to each other on map so what’s the fuss. Arabs and Turks are COMPLETELY different ethnicity and they share a religion -although with different branches- but don’t share a language and have different culture. )

So this really annoyed me. If you’re going to go into detail about cities around Syria: MAKE SURE YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH. It takes a couple of minutes on Google.

I am really surprised this book is published by Simon and Schuster. They are normally pretty good in editing.

The Style and Writing

Steadman’s writing, is not steady. Well. There is A LOT in this book. A LOT. In the beginning I thought: hey, she must be going into these details for a reason. Then the more I read, the more I became sure: there is no reason for us reading a wedding reception 3 course menu, and prices, for pages,

OR how our character interprets a pregnancy test for at least a few page (I mean not emotionally but literally with the blue crosses and a lot of ‘fuck’ and ‘shits’),

OR how do we learn about Glock’s for at least 5 pages – at that point I asked myself, I can read this in Wikipedia-

this is me after 60% of the book

Honestly, as far as I know it’s better to tell something with less words. I can edit this book and cut it to half of it’s size, EASILY without losing anything in the plot at all. Steadman literally talks about everything in this book. The character boards onto a plane and we have a lecture about first classes. The character dives into sea and we have a lecture and description about different types of sharks. There is a lot more. Just asking: WHY? WHAT THE HELL? Do people really enjoy reading these, hence so many 5 stars?


1 star. Will I read again from Steadman? No. #SorryNotSorry

Thanks for Netgalley and publisher for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.



  1. I agree every word of it Ova! What a disappointment. I was so angry with the wrong information as well. It’s an offence to people like Ken Follett, who reads 200 books to write one novel, and doesn’t get anything wrong. It’s just pure laziness and there’s no excuse for it. Great rant 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That really sounds frustrating, I’m really surprised that it made Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine book of the month as I read so many review in line with yours.

    Thanks for your honest review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re not the first person to ask how did it make it’s way to Witherspoon’s book club Vera 🙂
      Saw this been asked many times on GoodReads reviews

      Thanks for reading the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are very generous with that 1 star! Haha, i think i would have burned this book ritually.
    These kind of things bother me a lot. I think i wouldn’t have noticed the small village / big city thing, but that name does indeed not sound Turkish, even to me and i saw another review the other day about all the unnecessary details and i just can’t deal with shit like that… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly.. anyone living in London will realise what’s Arabic or Turkish sounding, it is very ignorant of them to publish it like this. My heart is broken (I am Turkish) 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never trust other people’s opinions and I always try to go into anything with low expectations so I’m not disappointed!! Ha ha!! I learned this from “the girl on a train” everyone RAVED about that book and I. HATED. IT. Like, with the fire of a thousand suns… So, now, especially with the thriller genre I always proceed with caution!


    1. Some people hated Girl on the Train! I know. I think it was good fun but never got why it became so famous. Nothing beats Gone Girl so far! Every book out is being PR’d as next gone girl but they’re nowhere near!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Erin is an idiot:) So agreed with your review! I read this due to the whole Reese Witherspoon’s book club thing and then read this is one of the books her production company has the film rights to. Makes sense from a business standpoint books are in- especially on platforms like Instagram. She gets the film rights and gets people talking about it long ahead of time and hey, more power to her but I do have to wonder how much of these celebrity books clubs are about that vs. actual love of reading. I’m 50/50 with her book club but I’ll definitely be more careful in the future. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 I never thought about the production side, but you’re right. To be honest, apart from Big Little Lies Witherspoon book club generally disappointed… We need to be more careful 🙂


  6. Yep. Disappointing indeed.
    Clunky writing, absurdly stupid narrator/ protagonist.
    Ridiculous story, full of unlikelyhoods. Really, no one thought to check the USB until weeks go by?


    1. better than that! WHO would keep the phone and the USB? Chunk that, keep the money and the diamonds. Put them both in a safety deposit box and wait a year.


  7. Oh my, I’m so happy that I found your review!! I was listening to this book and considering DNFing it, now I definitely will! I was looking for spoilers to kind of see where the story was going, and it’s going south… I hated Erin’s reactions and based on your review it won’t get better (I’m still in Bora Bora). I’m not going to waste more time on this, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve just started (and almost finished because it’s so short) The Grownup by Gillian Flynn and I like it, so I’m happy that I DNFed the other one!


  8. honestly it would make a good movie but as a book it was infuriating. her style of writing is awful. it’s amazing she managed to get published considering she can’t seem to even form complete sentences. writing style (or lack there of) aside. the book draaaaggged on. i got 53% of the way through and skipped to page 300. i really don’t feel as if i missed anything tbh. the plot was shanty, at best. do not waste your time reading this. if you want the gist, read til the swiss bank and then skip to the end.


    1. I agree. there were so many mistakes and I never got why she kept pouring a lot of irrelevant information into the story.. Kind of made me done with Reese’s book club


  9. The book was okay until the end – the ending doesn’t make sense to me. So Mark chooses the money over Erin, the gal he just wed? Who does that? Does that really happen? I truly don’t understand it. Can someone help me to u derstand?


  10. I came online to read other people’s opinions on this book because I just finished it and I’m on the fence about how I feel. I experienced a lot of the same frustrations as you but I just had to mention – the book did state that he had an illegal cell phone in prison and that’s how Erin was calling him, he wrote the number on the back of her flower card. : ) Thank you for analyzing the book and sharing your opinions!!


  11. I agree with the points made about the plot flaws. It was weak and silly. As to the style of writing, I can see why it might hold appeal. There’s a natural flow and it’s simple, conversational: as it should be as it’s in first person. Interestingly though, when you read the author’s thank yous at the end, it’s written in exactly the same tone, style. The author simply wrote in her own voice, character. For an actor, she does seems to be unduly struggling when it comes to characterisation.


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