Into the Water

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Into the Water
Into the Water.jpg
AuthorPaula Hawkins
CountryUnited Kingdom
Media typePrint (Hardback)

Into the Water (2017) is a thriller novel by British author Paula Hawkins.[1] It is Hawkins' second full-length thriller following the success of The Girl on the Train.

Although the novel performed well, becoming a Sunday Times best seller[2] and featuring on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2017,[3] critical reception was generally not as positive as it had been for her debut thriller. Several critics were confused by the myriad of characters (the story is told from the viewpoint of 11 characters) and the similarity of their voices.

In February 2017, before the book was first published, Variety reported that DreamWorks' parent Amblin Partners purchased the film rights, with La La Land's Marc Platt and Jared LeBoff proposed as producers.[4]


Following the unexplained death of her sister, Nel, in a pool at the foot of a cliff, Jules Abbott returns to Beckford, a fictional town in Northumberland, to care for her niece, Lena. The novel focuses on a series of characters to unravel the relationships between them. It is told in a mixture of first-person and third-person narrative.[5]


The review aggregator website Book Marks reported that 63% of critics "panned" the book, whilst 19% and 6% of the critics expressed "mixed" or "positive" impressions, respectively. Another 13% of the critics gave the book a "rave" review, based on a sample of 16 reviews.[6]

In contrast to the general acclaim Hawkins received for The Girl on the Train, Into the Water received mixed reviews. While acknowledging the challenges of writing for 11 separate narrative voices, crime novelist Val McDermid wrote in The Guardian that the similarity of the characters' tone and register makes it "almost impossible to tell [them] apart, which end up being monotonous and confusing"; furthermore, it doesn't reflect the speech patterns of Northumberland. McDermid concludes that the sales will be much higher than the readers' enjoyment.[7]

Similarly, Independent's Sally Newall says that the voices weren't "distinct enough". She was "semi-gripped" by the novel, but found that the "myriad of characters" made it difficult to care about them or the final reveal.[5] Writing in The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote that Hawkins' "goal may be to build suspense, but all she achieves is confusion. Into the Water is jam-packed with minor characters and stories that go nowhere."[8] The New Statesman's Leo Robson wrote "Most of the time, the novel is plausible and grimly gripping." He commended the writing as "addictive", and added that the novel "is on a par with The Girl on a Train".[8] Jocelyn McClurg for USA Today also offers praise, suggesting "Hawkins, influenced by Hitchcock, has a cinematic eye and an ear for eerie, evocative language."[9]


In 2017 Ali Qane’ of the Tehran publisher Kuleh Poshty Publications stated that the company he works for received the right to translate the book in Iran after Qane’ requested the author's permission to do so via a telephone call; he stated that five employees of the company are translating different parts of the book.[10]


  1. ^ "Into the Water". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Into the Water". Penguin Books. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction". The New York Times. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  4. ^ Mcnary, Dave (16 February 2017). "'Girl on the Train' Author Paula Hawkins' New Novel to Be Adapted Into Movie at DreamWorks". Variety. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b Newall, Sally (29 April 2017). "The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins' new thriller: Into the Water, review". The Independent. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Into the Water". Book Marks. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  7. ^ McDermid, Val (26 April 2017). "Into the Water by Paula Hawkins review – how to follow Girl on the Train?". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Paula Hawkins' new novel Into The Water confuses critics". BBC News. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  9. ^ McClurg, Jocelyn (1 May 2017). "Dive in to Paula Hawkins' scary 'Into the Water'". USA Today. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Five Persian translators working separately on Paula Hawkins' "Into the Water"". Tehran Times. 2017-06-17. Retrieved 2018-12-25.