Expected publication by Harper Perennial – July 29th 2014.
In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn’t kissed her in ages; and why she can’t get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago. But Annie’s world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he’s married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie’s greying hair and crow’s feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really having an affair, and the swimmers are trying to shave milliseconds off their race times by squeezing themselves into skin-tight bathing suits and visualizing themselves winning their races.
But when a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop-the same rest stop where Paul made a gruesome discovery years ago-the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. Paul turns to Annie for comfort. Annie finds herself falling in love. Chris becomes obsessed with unmasking the killer.
With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to bookbridgr and Harper Perennial.
What the book is about.
Rape, a failing marriage, suicide, murder, oh, and swimming of course.
What the book is actually about.
Annie rediscovering her “wife energy” and “mother energy”.
You will either get along with the writing style of this book, or give up after a few chapters. It’s written very much as though everything is being described to Annie. This is the water, these are your children, this is the killer. The second person narrative did throw me off at first but you get used to it.
It’s a very different style to any other book I have read. There is no mystery. The killer is named very early in the story. In a way, the killer and Annie are similar. Annie hopes to absorb “mother energy” from Chris and the other swim team mothers whilst the killer likes to feel the energy draining from his victims and into himself. Even the water itself feels the energy of the people who have swam in it.
The plot of the book flows well and throughout the course of the story we find out how certain characters are connected to the killer. The cleaner, suspicious of him watching the swimmers (had she reported her suspicions, the killer may have been caught sooner), the man, who had a liaison with one of the victims 2 decades ago, the woman, who takes it upon herself to catch the killer not realising she could be getting a loved one into trouble. And then we have Annie. Annie, who daydreams her way through life. Thinking about her deceased brother, thinking about her daughters, thinking about another woman’s husband. Annie, who can hear the water in the facility talking to her and who listens to the water and does what it says. Annie, who in a way, has the killer to thank for reconnecting with her husband. Annie, who eventually takes drastic action to save her children.
Our attention keeps being drawn back to the water throughout the book by a wheelchair-bound child and his carer. The child shouting “water, water, water” whilst in the showers and his carer replying “yes, this is the water”. Ah, Murphy, you clever sausage, I see what you did there.
This is me, giving ‘This Is The Water’ 4 stars. This is me thinking that if I was being completely selfish and just thinking of myself, I would give it 5. However, I can see how the narrative style could alienate some readers. I would say though, if you have an issue with the style of writing, please try and get past it. If you do, I think you’ll find a ‘can’t put it down’ plot, an intriguing main character and a very surprising ending.