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