High Tide For INTO THE WATER

Into the WaterReviews are pouring in for Paula Hawkins’s second novel, Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). So far, seven are pans, as Literary Hub’s Book Marks characterizes them, with just one rave, one positive and one mixed.

In The Guardian, crime writer Val McDermid gives Hawkins some sympathy, “The second novel is a notorious challenge to a writer. Hawkins had a mountain to climb after the success of The Girl on the Train and no doubt the sales of her second thriller will be massive. I suspect her readers’ enjoyment may be less so.”

Entertainment Weekly offers a rare life raft, giving the novel a B-, writing, “The book’s piled-on storylines lack the feverish, almost subdermal intimacy of Train, and Hawkins’ pulp psychology has only the soggiest sort of logic. Still, buried in her humid narrative is an intriguing pop-feminist tale of small-town hypocrisy, sexual politics, and wrongs that won’t rinse clean.” (They gave The Girl on the Train an A-).

USA Today is also on board, writing,”The various plot currents eventually converge, and when they do Into the Water takes off with a rush … So do dive in. The payoff is a socko ending. And a noirish beach read that might make you think twice about dipping a toe in those dark, chilly waters.”

Reviews are predictors of popularity only to the extent that they anticipate word of mouth an this book has legs. Movie rights were sold to Dremaworks, it is rising on Amazon’s rankings, and is currently in the top ten. Although holds were light prepub, they have risen dramatically in several libraries, jumping from ratios of 2:1 to 5:1, and in one case from 4:1 to 12:1.

We expect it to to hit the NYT bestseller list in the top five next week and stay there the next month or so, sliding down and settling in for the rest of the summer. In other words, while not at the level of The Girl on the Train, it will do as well as most books by established best selling authors.

UPDATE: Hawkins was interviewed today on ABC’s Good Morning America.

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