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This Is the Water

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From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst In a quiet New England community members of the swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst In a quiet New England community members of the 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.


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From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst In a quiet New England community members of the swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst In a quiet New England community members of the 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.

30 review for This Is the Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is me not getting past the style of this book. This is me thinking I would get used the the fact that each sentence started with "This is..." This is me finishing the book and it still bugged me. This is me thinking it's too bad because the simplicity of the observations of swimming and swim meets and swimmers and swim parents was very funny and very true. If the stylistic issues were gone I think I would have enjoyed this book more. This is me moving on to another book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I have a feeling that after reading just the first two chapters that this will join the handful of books each year that I refuse to finish past my self-imposed 50 page rule. I actually wish that I had a digital copy of the book just so that I could more easily count how many times the word “this” is used (five times alone on the shortened first page). Like the title, nearly every first sentence in a paragraph opens with the introductory “This is...” My initial hope is that this alienating stylis I have a feeling that after reading just the first two chapters that this will join the handful of books each year that I refuse to finish past my self-imposed 50 page rule. I actually wish that I had a digital copy of the book just so that I could more easily count how many times the word “this” is used (five times alone on the shortened first page). Like the title, nearly every first sentence in a paragraph opens with the introductory “This is...” My initial hope is that this alienating stylistic device would fizzle out after the first chapter - that once the introductions to this surprisingly vast cast surrounding a small town swim team are made, the device would dissipate, serving as a strangely stiff beginning. But, no, the author maintains this style choice throughout the course of the entire novel (I skimmed ahead for this confirmation). Compounding this off-putting and stilted style is the sheer level of minutiae - pages of descriptions of swimsuits, strokes and an inordinately long paragraph on what “some” think of the janitor, Mandy. The use of second-person perspectives demands that the reader identify primarily with Annie, but there are a multitude of other perspectives that are offered without warning that jar with these second-person perspectives. It is a baffling decision and one that I cannot connect with at all. It is impossible to care about any of the characters (though I suppose that I like how truly unlikable Dinah is) and not even the serial killer’s perspective is enough to spice up the plot. The book is style over substance and those style choices are so off-putting that though I pushed a bit past the 50 page mark, I cannot justify wasting any more time on this one. There are simply too many other books that I would rather read that rely more on interesting characters, exciting plots or more realized settings. Perhaps as an audiobook the style would be a bit more palatable, but in this format, I do not even feel guilty about not finishing it. I cannot connect with anyone in it. Maybe I can lay part of the blame on Annie’s extreme lethargy - I guess it is contagiously described, but if she doesn’t have the effort to open and close windows, then I don’t have the effort to keep reading about this massive struggle. I cannot punish myself with this one any longer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maxine (Booklover Catlady)

    This is a very unusual novel, the writing format takes a few chapters to get used to and I know many may not push through this book because of it, but I encourage you to do so. What is the book about? This is a novel about a woman. About a mother. About a marriage. About a murder. In the brightly lit public pool the killer swims and watches. Amongst the mothers cheering on their swim team daughters is Annie. Watching her two girls race, she's thinking of other things. Her husband's emotional distanc This is a very unusual novel, the writing format takes a few chapters to get used to and I know many may not push through this book because of it, but I encourage you to do so. What is the book about? This is a novel about a woman. About a mother. About a marriage. About a murder. In the brightly lit public pool the killer swims and watches. Amongst the mothers cheering on their swim team daughters is Annie. Watching her two girls race, she's thinking of other things. Her husband's emotional distance. Her lost brother. The man she's drawn to. Then she learns a terrible secret. Now her everyday cares and concerns seem meaningless. Annieiknows she has to act. Above all, she must protect her children. My Review: This novel just missed out on being a four star rating from me because I found the amount of detail and focus on the swimming pool, the heats, the times, the drying of children in the shower, the pool, the pool, the pool......was just a little bit too much. However, the book is very cleverly written and once you are in the swing of the writing style it almost becomes melodic as you read. Certainly I have read nothing like it in recent years. Yannick Murphy is a talented writer indeed. Annie is a swimming mother, up early in the morning to drive her daughter to swimming training and spending lots of money on her daughter's passion. She mingles amongst the swim meet crowd, they are like a clique of their own making. Mothers and Fathers. But there is one man who stands out, yet nobody really notices him, he is the killer and he is watching from the stands the children in the pool. This is the killer. Our killer, not the killer from out west. He is in the stands watching Kim. He is a man with dark wavy hair and a forehead with wrinkles so thick they look like steps. He has also read the article about the strangler out west. He thinks the killer was stupid to be caught, but he is also jealous of the strangler because it has been a long time since he himself has killed. He notices how even from far away he can see Kim's heart beating through her swimsuit. He can even see how her cheeks are flushed from breathing so hard. He looks to see if her neck flutters. Can her pulse be that strong beneath her ivory skin? He notices how bright her eyes are, how the tears welling up in them have made her look so alive. Is there a way to have this light for my own? he thinks. This is Kim not noticing the killer. Not many people do. He is quiet. He does not cheer. He just watches what's down on the pool deck. The book is written from multiple perspectives, including that of the killer, I found his character and being in his head the most interesting, shame there was not a bit more of the psychological element of things in this book, as I really enjoyed that immensely. Annie has secrets, she is doing things that she should not do, she is obsessed with thinking of her dead brother, she has a lot of time to think at the pool, a lot of time. A girl is murdered, one of the swim team girls, a daughter. It sends ripples of fear and shock through this community, suddenly parents are more protective of their children than ever, none of them realise the killer is sitting in their midst. Creepy as he is. He does not want to be noticed or found, he in fact thinks he never will be. We delve into the background and lives of some of the characters, not all is as it seems in happy homes and relationships. Surprising how much can be going on in secret, even just in thoughts. The ending to the book was a surprise and it was great, I really liked the way the pace of the book picked up and the psychological thrill aspect of the scary journey to the finish line (no not the pool finish line, the book finish line) and found the ending satisfying after reading so much of the book to get there. I did not predict the ending at all. It was a good read, again my criticism is that it does get a bit tedious in ongoing descriptions of minute things to do with the whole pool and environment, but the book is called This Is The Water and it is the primary setting for the novel. Personally I was just getting a bit bored with that. I do encourage readers to persist past the first few chapters, I have read reviews where readers have given up due to the unusual writing style of the novel, it does find it's place if you continue. I think this will either be a book people really like or not. I received a copy of this book via the publishers from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For more of my book reviews, plenty of awesome books to win, and author Q&A events come to: https://www.facebook.com/BookloverCat... To follow me on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/promotethatbook

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Walsh

    This is one of the most original and remarkable books I can remember. "In this stunning, compulsively readable psychological drama, a killer swims in a public pool unnoticed by his future victims. A woman learns a terrible secret too dangerous to keep. And a mother prepares to do anything to keep her children safe." I have taken a while trying to find a way to review a book that drew me in and made me a part of it. For the first few chapters I couldn't get used to the style the author used whereby This is one of the most original and remarkable books I can remember. "In this stunning, compulsively readable psychological drama, a killer swims in a public pool unnoticed by his future victims. A woman learns a terrible secret too dangerous to keep. And a mother prepares to do anything to keep her children safe." I have taken a while trying to find a way to review a book that drew me in and made me a part of it. For the first few chapters I couldn't get used to the style the author used whereby most of the sentences begin 'This is...' like a child's early reader books. Then without realising it that became normal and carried the story along. The cleverest part of this is how the author made me become Annie and feel her thoughts and experiences. I would recommend this book to psychological thriller fans who like to immerse themselves (sorry) in a great read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pepperpots

    2.5 This is you feeling unsure what to write for this review. This you relieved that you won this in a Goodreads Giveaway because it was a struggle to read this book. This is you feeling happy that you no longer have to read about Annie's bloody trip to the equator. This is you thinking that you should mention that whilst the writing style remained annoying the story itself was quite interesting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Licha

    3.5 stars This is the second book I read by Yannick Murphy and I have been impressed with her unique writing style. Why isn't she a more recognizable name? Maybe her uniqueness is an acquired taste. Maybe if I hadn't read The Call first, I may not have been as patient with this book myself. The style is something like this: This is the swimming facility where this story takes place. This is Annie, one of the moms. Her husband no longer touches or kisses her and she's not sure why. This is Chris, 3.5 stars This is the second book I read by Yannick Murphy and I have been impressed with her unique writing style. Why isn't she a more recognizable name? Maybe her uniqueness is an acquired taste. Maybe if I hadn't read The Call first, I may not have been as patient with this book myself. The style is something like this: This is the swimming facility where this story takes place. This is Annie, one of the moms. Her husband no longer touches or kisses her and she's not sure why. This is Chris, another of the moms. She thinks her husband Paul is having an affair. This is Paul, who has a dark secret he's been hiding for over twenty years. This is Annie, who begins to look at Paul and wonder what it would be like to kiss him. This is the killer, who's been waiting for the right moment to kill his prey, one of the girls on the swim team. Basically, this is the style the book is written in, from start to finish. The story is engaging once you get past the style of writing and allow it to flow as such. Either you'll love Murphy for daring to go there or you'll hate this. I enjoyed the story and felt like the characters were very real. The style does not really allow you to get close to the characters, but it does lend itself quite well to letting the reader feel like a voyeur into the lives of these people that meet at the swimming facility. I enjoyed reading this, but if I were to recommend Yannick Murphy, I'd recommend reading The Call first to get a sense of her style.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brenda A

    I wasn't a huge fan of the second person point of view, and the simplistic writing. It kind of felt like a cop out so the author didn't have to try too hard on syntax. When every sentence starts the same, it's considerably easier to write (in my opinion, anyway). This is you writing a review. This is you, feeling the keys beneath your fingertips, wondering how you should voice all of your opinions of this. Meanwhile you wait for your boyfriend to come and pick you up so you can go watch the new I wasn't a huge fan of the second person point of view, and the simplistic writing. It kind of felt like a cop out so the author didn't have to try too hard on syntax. When every sentence starts the same, it's considerably easier to write (in my opinion, anyway). This is you writing a review. This is you, feeling the keys beneath your fingertips, wondering how you should voice all of your opinions of this. Meanwhile you wait for your boyfriend to come and pick you up so you can go watch the new Game of Thrones. This is your mom, sitting and watching Californication while you type. You have never seen this show but you wonder why your mom is watching it when the acting is dismal. You wonder about your use of the word dismal. You think you've gone on long enough with this example of the writing style in This is the Water. It was odd, to say the least. But I could look past it. What got kind of boring was the giant paragraphs describing just exactly what happens at swim meets. Which I could absolutely relate to, because I ran track and cross country in high school. A lot of the tasks that parents did in the book were the same tasks our team parents had to do. Everyone was involved, everyone had a job at one time or another. And it was kind of nice to rehash some of that, because it was reminiscent of high school. That being said, though, I could have done without it after a while. The point was proven after the first ten times it was described, the second ten times was just repetitive--like the book! It also wasn't as fast-paced as the describing would lead you to believe. In fact, it's fairly slow and deals almost exclusively with interior monologue and stream of consciousness kind of stuff. The murder actually seems to be a sideline to whatever the main plot is: the romance, I guess? All that being said, though, I was absolutely interested. I like that we know who the killer is, and we are just waiting to see how the story culminates. Sort of like a Monk episode. We see Chris' weird descent into obsession and learn she's apparently somehow clairvoyant. Paul and Annie dancing around having an affair, teetering on the edge of it. The various little issues of daily life that everyone was coping with. I feel like I've known a Dinah in my life, and a Chris. I've definitely known a Tom before. The author is very good at voicing the everyday concerns, and I was surprised by how interested I was by all the little minutiae of a regular person's day. Again, I think it has to do with my experience in track and cross country. Much of what was described was relatable and that made it a better read. The ending was great--didn't see it coming. I was surprised by how sloppy the killer got, although I suppose that's how we got to the resolution. I liked seeing the road that Annie took to save her family; the cahones she had to solve her problem in that way was admirable. Aside from the odd writing style, it was a very interesting read, albeit one that was slow to begin. (I received this in a First Reads giveaway.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Beautifully written. Chilling. Dark.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cleopatra Pullen

    This is a book about swimming, suicide, an unhappy marriage, rape and a killer so quite a bit to pack into one book! Yannick Murphy writes in a stylistic way, with the words ‘This is...’ framing the time, place and emotions. It took me a while to get used to the repetition. The use of the second person in the present tense added to the unusual reading experience and at first I feared this was a novel that concentrated more on the style than the substance, I soon changed my mind. Told mainly from This is a book about swimming, suicide, an unhappy marriage, rape and a killer so quite a bit to pack into one book! Yannick Murphy writes in a stylistic way, with the words ‘This is...’ framing the time, place and emotions. It took me a while to get used to the repetition. The use of the second person in the present tense added to the unusual reading experience and at first I feared this was a novel that concentrated more on the style than the substance, I soon changed my mind. Told mainly from the perspective of Annie, one of the ‘swim moms’ at the local competitive team a lot of the action takes place in the swimming facility. Annie is the mother to two daughters, in a marriage where she doesn’t feel valued and the sister of Thomas a man who committed suicide two years previously. Her thoughts are highly introspective as she reflects on Thomas and her marriage as she drives backwards and forwards to swimming practice or to away swimming meets where the highly competitive atmosphere seems far more important to the parents than most of the young swimmers. There are some truly awful characters and some less awful ones. This book has lots of layers which almost force you to slow down and savour, To learn about Chris, who is beautiful but worried that her husband Paul is having an affair, to find out what Mandy the pool facility cleaner who sweeps around with her mop, observing the parents is thinking, and to be appalled at what the strange man who watches the young swimmers might be planning to do. When a young woman is found with her throat slit at local rest-stop, the atmosphere becomes tense and claustrophobic with the parents desperate to keep their daughters safe. Their characters become more exaggerated as they struggle to contain their fears, but although there is a mystery and a murderer to be found this book is so much more than a murder mystery. There were parts of this book that felt very repetitive, I for one got that the specially designed ‘go-faster swimsuits’ were difficult to put on and endless descriptions of heaving these torturous outfits over young girls rears added little to the story. However the descriptions of Annie’s daughters sitting in the car after swimming, eating their snacks, reading their books and ignoring their mother and then out of the blue asking something startling is something that I expect will resonate with many parents. So despite struggling through the first couple of chapters I soon became hooked. I wanted to know more about the killer but I also wanted to know how Annie was coping? Whether Chris’s husband Paul was having an affair? Who horrible Dinah was going to upset next, and how? The reason I cared was because they were characters that were recognisable but not turned into caricatures. I'd recommend this book to anyone who would like to read something a little unusual with the warning that I think this may well be one of those books that you either love or hate. I for one will be looking out for more by this author. I received my copy of this unique book from Amazon Vine in return for my honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I really struggled to engage with the writing style with this one. A lot of 'This is ...' felt like a strange way to tell the story. I intitially put the book down- but then picked it up again. I did enjoy the setting- the author is definately well versed with swim meets. My daughter used to swim competitively and the way everything was described was spot on. The other parents feelings towards the other swimmers, the competitiveness, the slog of taking children to daily training sessions. Even th I really struggled to engage with the writing style with this one. A lot of 'This is ...' felt like a strange way to tell the story. I intitially put the book down- but then picked it up again. I did enjoy the setting- the author is definately well versed with swim meets. My daughter used to swim competitively and the way everything was described was spot on. The other parents feelings towards the other swimmers, the competitiveness, the slog of taking children to daily training sessions. Even the 'fashion' for swimmers and the energy drinks and carb loads. The suspense was there wondering who the killer was, where would he strike next- and would their swimmers be safe. Would another marriage break up because two parents got close during an 'away' meet? I think apart from the writing style I could have engaged with this book. I just didn't manage to get over that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lilisa

    Awful - first-ever abandoned book just past the 15% mark.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wolak

    Short review: Smart writing without self-reflexive cleverness. Excellent tension. The second person perspective and repetitious structure takes at least few chapters to get into, but once it clicks you'll want to keep reading. Longer review: This book piqued my interest because it revolves around a girls swim team. One of my nieces is a swimmer and I am fascinated by the amount of work my sister put into her daughter's high school team. Although my sister never struggled with another parent to stu Short review: Smart writing without self-reflexive cleverness. Excellent tension. The second person perspective and repetitious structure takes at least few chapters to get into, but once it clicks you'll want to keep reading. Longer review: This book piqued my interest because it revolves around a girls swim team. One of my nieces is a swimmer and I am fascinated by the amount of work my sister put into her daughter's high school team. Although my sister never struggled with another parent to stuff her daughter's body into a race suit (they had official team suits), there were 5am practices to get to, appropriate foods to fret over, timing duty, and all-day meets. This is the Water is one of the most creative and suspenseful mystery/thrillers that I've read. For starters there's the writing style and structure. It's written in the second person perspective and hangs on a structure of paragraphs that often begin with "This is." This is the water. This is the facility. This is Chris. "This is you, Annie, mother of two swim team girls, Sofia and Alex, wife of Thomas" and "This is the killer, our killer, at the meet watching Kim." At first this structure annoyed me. It seemed like it slowed things down, was too staccato. During my first two reading sessions I had doubts about finishing the book and then, suddenly, it was lodged in my brain. I couldn't stop thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and when I was reading it the style & structure carried me swiftly along like the hooks of a long poem or song. Here's a sample from early on: "This is your brother with the gun in his mouth. This is your brother forming a cauliflower head on the carpet with his blood. This is his wife, hearing the shot downstairs in his office set up with sound mixers and stereos and computers. This is your brother's teenage son, hearing the shot too, colliding with his mother as both of them try to run down the stairs together, barely fitting that way, abreast in the stairwell as they run. This is the mother using all of her force to hold her teenage son back from opening up the door. This the teenage son calling out for his father and banging on the closed door. This is the father answering with just the sound of his blood as it pours out of him" (70-71). It was this scene that made me realize I was tightly gripping the book. It made me both teary eyed and excited to read more. Short chapters also help moved things along so beware if you're reading before bed, you might stay up too late. Publisher's Weekly says the novel is, “Obscenely suspenseful. . . . In Murphy’s hands, the structure becomes almost hypnotic–and when the story hits full speed in the final quarter, the suspense becomes almost excruciating.” So true. Go figure, an honest book blurb. Yannick Murphy The setting is rural New England and the characters are primarily middle aged parents in less than satisfying marriages if not outright unhappy unions. Annie, in the beginning, is in an obsessive state over her brother's suicide. A serial killer in Denver is caught and that triggers the chain of events in This is the Water. These two things, suicide and murder, are what eventually lead to the climax which highlights one of the themes of the novel, which is choosing life. Not just being alive, but living. Not just wondering and worrying about things, but taking action. Murphy subtly weaves life/death imagery throughout the story. Nothing is extraneous. As a New England newbie, I appreciate Murphy's descriptions of New England, particularly how you can see right into people's houses at night. New Englanders, at least those of the small town variety, aren't big on curtains or other window treatments. Don't people feel vulnerable? Is this some kind of Puritan hold-over, that people want other people to see that they are not doing anything against God behind closed doors? But I digress. In this novel it's not what people are doing behind closed doors that creeps you out, it's that people can and can't see from the outside in or inside out. There were also some humorous bits and timely commentary. In one scene after listing all the healthy things the swim parents feed their children, Annie says, "We do not talk of the bag of peanut M&M's we buy to get us through the long day of working at a swim meet. We will not talk of the Diet Coke we drink, perfectly timed to be drunk after our coffee and before the lunch hour, but never in front of the children, least they see how we drink soda, and we never let them drink it themselves unless it's soda water flavored with natural juice high in some kind of element or vitamin they wouldn't normally get in their daily diet and packaged in a can whose design wipes out any image of an industrial facility spewing smoke, spinning the dials of the electric meter, and hiring immigrants at low wages. Instead the can design screams healthy, whole, natural, good for you, flowers, fruit orchards, and sunshine. As if the cans themselves were just plucked from trees" (133-134). And how about this for timely, what with all the recent to read or not to read YA talk: "You should be thinking about your girls instead. Sofia's been reading too many YA books that are poorly written. You want to go through your own books and find one that's a classic, one you know she'd like, but lately you haven't had the time or the energy, the wherewithal to get up from your chair to do it" (172). That's Annie thinking and she's been reading Anna Karenina. You can't help wondering how the ending of that novel will be reflected in this one. There are some brilliant sentences, too: "You feel warmth coming off Paul as if he were pavement on a hot day." Not only is this a nice sentence, it speaks volumes about what is lacking in Annie's life, the warmth of human connection. There was a scene or two where I doubted something would really shake down that way, but it was a weak thought immediately replaced with wondering what was possibly going to do next. I highly recommend this novel if you're into mystery/thrillers or interested in experimental writing. It's one of my favorite reads of the year. [Read review copy via TLC Book Tours]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    This was an absolutely superb read – definitely one of the most evocative and compelling novels I have read lately – with a quirky and unusual style which gives it an excellent edge over any other fiction you may be reading right now and one that drew me into the emotional complexity of the story almost immediately. I say almost, because like me, it may take you a chapter or two to get with the flow – but trust me, once it kicks in it is utterly compelling and without doubt highly imaginative an This was an absolutely superb read – definitely one of the most evocative and compelling novels I have read lately – with a quirky and unusual style which gives it an excellent edge over any other fiction you may be reading right now and one that drew me into the emotional complexity of the story almost immediately. I say almost, because like me, it may take you a chapter or two to get with the flow – but trust me, once it kicks in it is utterly compelling and without doubt highly imaginative and intriguing. Centred around a swim team and their parents this is a character driven, fascinating story which is mostly told through the thoughts and experiences of individual players as events unfold around them. Annie takes the main stage, a mother of two daughters and she is one of the most tightly drawn and engaging characters you are likely to meet this year. In the background, always, is the water, soothing, whispering, a non human observer of all… I loved the ambience of this – Yannick Murphy pushes the boundaries of fiction here in an extremely captivating way, giving a terrific insight into the people involved with some exceptional writing. Taking a much done tale – that of an unseen murderer stalking a community – and giving it a curious twist of circumstance, this is the type of book that makes you sit up and realise that there are still ways to innovate when it comes to the art of storytelling. As the action unfolded, very gently, subtle in its complexity yet always always captivating, I was completely and utterly immersed into many worlds in one. The intricacy of family, the heat of competition, the heart of darkness, the ramifications of decisions we make – many threads running through an incredible and completely riveting tale. Unexpectedly scintillating. An ingenious novel, ground breaking, contemporary fiction at its best, I cannot recommend this highly enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    As a character driven mystery novel Yannick Murphy's This Is the Water works as long as you enjoy the unique voice in which the novel unfolds. Murphy tells the novel in declarative statements, utilizing the second-person perspective. And while it make take a few pages to really adjust to this different want of storytelling, once you get used to it, it works fairly well. At least, until it doesn't. At about the mid-point of the novel, I found the novelty of this technique beginning to wear off a b As a character driven mystery novel Yannick Murphy's This Is the Water works as long as you enjoy the unique voice in which the novel unfolds. Murphy tells the novel in declarative statements, utilizing the second-person perspective. And while it make take a few pages to really adjust to this different want of storytelling, once you get used to it, it works fairly well. At least, until it doesn't. At about the mid-point of the novel, I found the novelty of this technique beginning to wear off a bit. Or it could have been that I was growing weary of waiting for something to happen in the novel. If you're looking for a hard-edged, fast-paced mystery odds are you won't like this one. If you're looking for a novel that examines a criminal act and its impact on the characters and community, this one may be a hit with you. The novel centers on a swim team and the various people whose lives are affected by it. Murphy does a nice job of developing the characters in the first third of the novel so that when the murder of a member of the team happens readers will feel a bit of the anger, hurt and uncertainty that the characters feel. And while the novel has a central figure in Annie, the conflicted mother who wonders why her husband isn't giving her the affection she wants and whether she's attracted to the husband of a friend, the middle third of this novel feels less like it's developing the characters and situations from the first third and more like it's treading water (pun not intended). It's at this point that the narration hook goes from clever to a bit redundant and when I found myself beginning to lose interest in things. Murphy throws in a couple of huge red herrings and I did make it to the end, but at times it was a bit of a struggle. It's a shame because I feel like the book has a lot of potential, I'm just not sure it was well realized.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    First let me say that I am not fond of this writing style but the story was compelling enough that I felt I wanted to read this book to the end. Also, this writer uses too many repetitive descriptions. After two descriptions of Annie's brother's suicide, I got it!! I have always enjoyed reading books about particular social groups and the interactions of all involved, in this case, a swim team at a ritzy "facility". When one member of the team is murdered, all the parents are upset and worried t First let me say that I am not fond of this writing style but the story was compelling enough that I felt I wanted to read this book to the end. Also, this writer uses too many repetitive descriptions. After two descriptions of Annie's brother's suicide, I got it!! I have always enjoyed reading books about particular social groups and the interactions of all involved, in this case, a swim team at a ritzy "facility". When one member of the team is murdered, all the parents are upset and worried that their child might be the next victim. The book focuses on the personal lives of the parents rather than the swimmers. One father, Paul, has information on a murder that happened years ago and worries that the same killer might be at work again...but should he share his thoughts with the police. Annie, dissatisfied with her marriage finds herself drawn to Paul and he shares his suspicions with Annie. In the meantime, Paul's wife, Chris, is on the trail of the killer. The book comes to a surprising conclusion that reminds the reader that you do not mess with a mother's child!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Wood

    The unfamiliar writing style took a while to get used to, but it effectively added to the tension of the storyline, giving it a unique feel. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to read another book written in this way, but I appreciated the opportunity to try something different.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mira

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I picked the book because of its different and fascinating style. There is a second person narrator and repetitive structure "This is the..." that gives the texts a nice flow. It's nicely written although there are several points where repetition feels unnecessary and clumsy. Sadly the style is the only positive aspect of the book. The characters are boring and quite annoying. There is a killer whose point of view is shown on a few occasion. It would have been better to just omit that point of vi I picked the book because of its different and fascinating style. There is a second person narrator and repetitive structure "This is the..." that gives the texts a nice flow. It's nicely written although there are several points where repetition feels unnecessary and clumsy. Sadly the style is the only positive aspect of the book. The characters are boring and quite annoying. There is a killer whose point of view is shown on a few occasion. It would have been better to just omit that point of view because the killer's thoughts are not believable at all. He is almost like a caricature of a murderer. The book doesn't seem to always know what it is about either. First there is suspense about the murder mystery and the next thing we are reading about an affair that is really not interesting at all. When the book gets back to the mystery all the suspense is gone. At first I was so eager to find out why there was a second person narrator. If the protagonist was "you" then who is "me"? For quite some time I thought this would be the real mystery of the book since the killer is revealed in the beginning. But no, the reason for this narrating style was never revealed and there was no interesting twist. One of the biggest flaws in this book is that there is no twist which makes it boring. In the end the exceptional style seems to serve no purpose since it doesn't add anything to the plot. I expected this book to be something different but in the end it was just a boring crime romance story without a hint of mystery.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    More Psychological Study Than Mystery The swim team mothers give up a lot to get their kids to practices and meets. They are middle-aged, unsatisfied with their lives, particularly their husbands, and living vicariously through their daughters' success. Their remedies, aside from the swim team, are affairs and consideration of divorce. The mothers aren't the only ones watching the swim team. A serial killer, who lives near the pool, sees the young girls and remembers how much he enjoyed making th More Psychological Study Than Mystery The swim team mothers give up a lot to get their kids to practices and meets. They are middle-aged, unsatisfied with their lives, particularly their husbands, and living vicariously through their daughters' success. Their remedies, aside from the swim team, are affairs and consideration of divorce. The mothers aren't the only ones watching the swim team. A serial killer, who lives near the pool, sees the young girls and remembers how much he enjoyed making the light in their eyes go out. He dogs the swim team members and eventually one is found dead. This book is written in second person narrative style. I believe the author did this to connect the reader connect more closely to the characters. However, for me, it had the opposite effect. In the opening chapters, there were too many characters I was asked to associate with. After the book finally settled primarily on Annie, I was tired of the style. Some readers may enjoy this style, but for me it was tedious particularly since most sentences started with “This is . . .” to tell you what you were seeing. The setting is interesting. I believe the information about the dynamics of swims teams is accurate. I found it fascinating. The area these families live in sounded idyllic, a country setting with lots of space and access to nature. I was disappointed in the mystery. I thought it would be more of a typical mystery with an interesting background. In actuality, the focus is on the lives of the women and their dissatisfaction. It became quite tedious to be constantly in their thoughts, particularly when the thoughts were mostly negative. I can't recommend this book, unless you want to experience a book written in second person (thankfully there aren't many of them), or if you want to experience the way middle-aged, privileged women become unhappy and dissatisfied and how they deal with it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This book is set in the world of competitive swimming, featuring young teenage swimmers, their parents and marriages, the coaches and the poolside cleaner. We get a real sense of the whole culture of swimming meets, racing against the clock and what it feels like to be in the water. We learn about the parents, in particular two women, Annie and Chris. Into this little world, comes a killer. He is a successful killer. The action unfolds as one of the young swimmers is murdered leaving this little This book is set in the world of competitive swimming, featuring young teenage swimmers, their parents and marriages, the coaches and the poolside cleaner. We get a real sense of the whole culture of swimming meets, racing against the clock and what it feels like to be in the water. We learn about the parents, in particular two women, Annie and Chris. Into this little world, comes a killer. He is a successful killer. The action unfolds as one of the young swimmers is murdered leaving this little community shaken. This is a beautifully written, poetic in style and a totally unconventional read. It felt very unique in the way of telling of a serial killer story. The language, at first seems awkward and yet the repetitiveness and almost childlike phrasing worked. The imagery of the water and the use of water is just breathtaking. The water is ever present, all knowing and watching the flow of events. It is the constant, in the lives of all of the characters and it is cleansing. There is a lovely wicked humour, present in the language. We get the killer talking about the effort involved in murder. It requires hard work and fitness. I just adored that. What I loved about this read was the way we really got inside the head of several of the characters and lived those times through them. Annie became the lead character over the course of the book. She is the mother of two swimmers, in a rather boring relationship. I also enjoyed the slower pace, as it took time to get to know the characters and their world. I did not really know where the book was going or how it would all resolve. I just didn't want it to end. A rather special amazing read and one that sets itself apart from many other crime dramas.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    This Is The Water By Yannick Murphy What it's all about... Mothers, daughters, and fathers who are involved in a swim team. Oh...and one awful killer...he is very involved, too. My thoughts after reading this book... This author has a unique writing style that I loved. Almost every introduction starts off with the words...this is...as in...this is the killer watching the girl swim. The writing as well as everything that happened...was really mesmerizing. Parents seemed to have a multitude of issues. A This Is The Water By Yannick Murphy What it's all about... Mothers, daughters, and fathers who are involved in a swim team. Oh...and one awful killer...he is very involved, too. My thoughts after reading this book... This author has a unique writing style that I loved. Almost every introduction starts off with the words...this is...as in...this is the killer watching the girl swim. The writing as well as everything that happened...was really mesmerizing. Parents seemed to have a multitude of issues. Annie is recovering from her brother's suicide. Chris is still thinking about a babysitter from her childhood. Paul...a husband...is connected to an old murder. Dinah...another swim mom...can't ever keep herself out of everyone's life and just annoys everyone...coaches and parents alike. But while all of this is happening...the murderer watches, waits, and kills...and seems to get away with it. What I loved best... I loved the pace, I loved the writing and I loved this author's style. It was a fast paced reading experience. My ending thoughts for potential readers... My thoughts are that a mystery like this...well, actually it's so much more than just a mystery...but...a mystery such as this one needs to be read and savored. I am deliberately not telling you what happened because it's best done on your own by reading it. It's unique and I can't imagine that any reader won't be carried away by the writing and what happens. Lots of flawed characters and situations...filled these pages. It is a book that for no particular reason reminds me of The Silent Wife. I loved this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    The first two words in the title of the book is the way Ms. Murphy began many sentences in THIS IS THE WATER, and it seems to be her writing style. To me, it was an odd, unique style and took a bit of getting used to. THIS IS THE WATER is about a swim team, the parents of the swimmers, and about a murder that affected the entire community. I was looking for a mystery, but found a book mostly about swimming and the personal lives of the team's parents. It was a bit difficult to get started because The first two words in the title of the book is the way Ms. Murphy began many sentences in THIS IS THE WATER, and it seems to be her writing style. To me, it was an odd, unique style and took a bit of getting used to. THIS IS THE WATER is about a swim team, the parents of the swimmers, and about a murder that affected the entire community. I was looking for a mystery, but found a book mostly about swimming and the personal lives of the team's parents. It was a bit difficult to get started because of how the book was written. ​The book did keep you guessing, though, about who the murderer was that was killing young girls at ​rest stops. When it was revealed, the scene was quite scary, and the murderer was someone you wouldn't expect. I continued to read the book because I wanted to find out how it would end, but I did skim quite a few pages. 2/5 This book was given to me and my book club as a win in a contest on TLC. No compensation was given, and this review is my opinion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

    This is you, reading this book because you don't have time to properly assess books at the library. This is you wondering if the whole book is going to be written like this. This is you, five chapters in, deciding that yes, you are going to be reading a whole book written in the second person, with most sentences starting with "this is...". This is the way you brush it aside in case the story is good. This is you finally discovering that it's not really. You understand that authors need to stand This is you, reading this book because you don't have time to properly assess books at the library. This is you wondering if the whole book is going to be written like this. This is you, five chapters in, deciding that yes, you are going to be reading a whole book written in the second person, with most sentences starting with "this is...". This is the way you brush it aside in case the story is good. This is you finally discovering that it's not really. You understand that authors need to stand out, but it's not really your cup of tea.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    This is me regretting I chose to finish this book. This is me having wasted my time. This is me telling you not to bother reading this book. This is me telling you that in 340 pages pretty much nothing happens. This is me telling you the character development is shit.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I like to swim in my water, I like to swim in my water, Water, water and water Swim, swim, swimmy, I swim. -- Woody Guthrie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Trish at Between My Lines

    This review was originally posted on Between My Lines This is the water is the most unique book I have read so far this year.  The author took some HUGE risks with her writing style as it is just so different to every other book out there and I think those risks mostly paid off.  I can say for sure that this is a book that I will remember. First Line of This is the water by Yannick Murphy: This is the water, lapping the edge of the pool, coming up in small waves as children race throu This review was originally posted on Between My Lines This is the water is the most unique book I have read so far this year.  The author took some HUGE risks with her writing style as it is just so different to every other book out there and I think those risks mostly paid off.  I can say for sure that this is a book that I will remember. First Line of This is the water by Yannick Murphy: This is the water, lapping the edge of the pool, coming up in small waves as children race through it. My Thoughts on This is the water by Yannick Murphy : This is the book written in the second person perspective and the present tense.  Tricky as I know a lot of readers dislike both of these.  However it felt refreshingly different and it works. This is the book with captivatingly beautiful writing.  It made me stop and reread lines just sigh with pleasure over their phrasing. This is the book with a gripping story.  However this is also the book with a slow pace. The pace of the book took from my enjoyment of the book as a whole however it is not a reason not to read this book. It is worth sticking with it as there are surprises in store for you. This is the book where the sentences are long, often 5 or more lines long.  But they feel necessary and feel like the are driving the plot forward, even when they have nothing to do with the plot.  I know that sounds like a paradox but so is this book. This is the book with a serial killer lurking. Far too close to characters that we are getting to know. This is the book with the swim team setting.  The routine of all the swim team parents, the relentless pace of all the training, the quirky characters all rounded out this book and made it an insightful read into the swimming world. This is the book with a shocker of a twist.  It shouldn't have been a shocker, I should have expected it but I was so caught up in the writing that I didn't.  I felt like I had swam out of my depth, ignoring all the danger signs and then I was flailing around in a panic. This is the book where the main character Annie is one screwed up person.  Which makes being in her head for most of the book pretty interesting! This is the book full of honest thoughts but dishonest conversations.  It gives a bleak outlook as no one seems to depend on or confide in those closest to them.  It's dark and gritty but abandon hope all ye who enter here. This is the book with frantic jumping around between characters so you feel like you are part of the setting. You glimpse a life, then jump to another one in a random, unpredictable pattern. This is the book with lots and lots of profound thoughts to challenge you, disturb you and confuse you. And entertain and amuse you. This is the book you should read for yourself!     Who should read This is the water for Yannick Murphy:     I'd recommend this to fans of psychological thrillers. Beware the pace is slow but it makes up for that with fab writing and sheer unpredictability. Fans of Gillian Flynn, Sophie Hannah and Tana French should also enjoy this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Owen

    From the first page I knew that there would be plenty of people who will hate this book. Not for the story, or the ideas presented, but for the writing. If you don't click with how Murphy constructed this novel, then you will probably quit or not enjoy it. This is because, the writing is like: "This is the water, these are your children, this is a tree, this is so-and-so wishing she was thinner so her husband will love her again." Kind of like a picture book. And also, the book is in second pers From the first page I knew that there would be plenty of people who will hate this book. Not for the story, or the ideas presented, but for the writing. If you don't click with how Murphy constructed this novel, then you will probably quit or not enjoy it. This is because, the writing is like: "This is the water, these are your children, this is a tree, this is so-and-so wishing she was thinner so her husband will love her again." Kind of like a picture book. And also, the book is in second person. And it does get kind of old, but I think it lightens up toward the end of the book. Overall, it was an okay book. I was surprised by how quickly I finished it. It is just as much a mystery novel as much as a family-type book, which isn't really my thing. Here is one of my favorite parts and blah blah blah check the final bound book, but I'm not waiting until August to do that: This is the rest stop on the highway. This is the grass on the lawn. It remembers the feel of Bobby Chantal's body, how hard she fell and smashed its slender blades, releasing a just-cut smell the way a going-over with the blades of a lawn mower would. This is the light above the restroom entrance. It remembers lighting up the face of the man who held the knife to Bobby Chantal's throat. This is the metal doorknob on the restroom door. It remembers reflecting the murderer's face, and every time someone comes and uses the restroom, the doorknob wishes it could show that person the murderer's face again so that the man, who was never caught, would be caught. To be honest, I couldn't care less about swim team kids. I couldn't care less about couples nearing divorce and cheating on each other. I couldn't care less about rest stop serial killers. I know this review sounds like I hate the book. But I don't. It has some good stuff in it and I personally didn't mind the "this is" format of the writing, despite the fact that it sometimes made me roll my eyes. I thought some of the characters were alright, even though others were pretty boring. You never connect much with any of them because they aren't given a lot of attention, and the fact that the novel is in second person eliminates almost any chance of connecting with the protagonist because of how forced it was. I guess it is supposed to be an average town meets an unimaginable threat, which has been done before. I received an ARC of This Is The Water, and I wouldn't say I would buy it or read any of Murphy's other books, but maybe. We'll see.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I found this book difficult to rate. It is written in an odd 2nd person style, with most paragraphs beginning with "This is...". "You" are "Annie, the main character. The style gets in the way at first and switches often between characters. It only bothered me for several chapters and then I was fine with it. At times I felt like I was reading someone's writing assignment to show this certain style. This style in some ways outweighed the story. Without a doubt, Yannick Murphy can write. "This is I found this book difficult to rate. It is written in an odd 2nd person style, with most paragraphs beginning with "This is...". "You" are "Annie, the main character. The style gets in the way at first and switches often between characters. It only bothered me for several chapters and then I was fine with it. At times I felt like I was reading someone's writing assignment to show this certain style. This style in some ways outweighed the story. Without a doubt, Yannick Murphy can write. "This is the Water" is not your typical murder mystery. The story centers around the families of a team of young swimmers. When one of them is murdered, you see how all react. The story is less about solving the crime and more about being inside each character's head. I felt like some of their thoughts were quite repetitive, and I did get tired of Annie thinking about Paul the husband of a friend. I wanted to get on with the mystery. One inner thought that was noteworthy to me was Annie describing "mom energy". This felt very real to me. Definitely a unique interesting read. I'm just not sure that the story came through.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    This is the Water. This is written by Yannick Murphy. Most every sentence that starts a paragraph or new chapter starts with - This is. This is annoying until you begin to forget about it. However, having this point of view does mess with my head. This is a story about a small town in New England - probably Vermont. This is about a swim team and the families around the swim tree. But Really - This is about a serial killer. Every time I put down the book and tried to walk away, I could hear my br This is the Water. This is written by Yannick Murphy. Most every sentence that starts a paragraph or new chapter starts with - This is. This is annoying until you begin to forget about it. However, having this point of view does mess with my head. This is a story about a small town in New England - probably Vermont. This is about a swim team and the families around the swim tree. But Really - This is about a serial killer. Every time I put down the book and tried to walk away, I could hear my brain spinning - but what is this really about. It is really about the dynamics of a people in a small town environment, the people whose children swim. This is about a murderer and although many people know something not everyone knows it all. This is the story. Realistically, I can't say I liked it. It was okay. I think that is more to do with the style that the content. I wonder if the book was written in a more traditional style, if I would have found it better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason McKinney

    Did Not Finish This is me giving up on this book. This is me deciding to copy the style of other reviews of this because I can't resist. This is the way that nearly every sentence in this book begins. This is me bemoaning the fact that there's some really good writing here, but the "This is ..." device just turned me off. I also didn't like the schoolmarmish way that she referred to everybody's ass as their "rear". This drove me crazy. Oh, and there's a serial killer who works as a school adminis Did Not Finish This is me giving up on this book. This is me deciding to copy the style of other reviews of this because I can't resist. This is the way that nearly every sentence in this book begins. This is me bemoaning the fact that there's some really good writing here, but the "This is ..." device just turned me off. I also didn't like the schoolmarmish way that she referred to everybody's ass as their "rear". This drove me crazy. Oh, and there's a serial killer who works as a school administrator. This is just a little much for this father's mental well-being.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rana Ansari

    This is how Goodreads would let me rate 'this is the water'- a maximum of five stars. This is how I would rate 'this is the water'- with all the stars in the galaxy. This is my fatigued brain admiring while I read, the tranquilizing simplicity, the pleasant straightforwardness, and the transparent depiction of human behaviorism by Murphy. This is the hypnotizing thrill that is defying my need to get some sleep. This is the engrossment that follows a gripping twist to the story. This is the review for This is how Goodreads would let me rate 'this is the water'- a maximum of five stars. This is how I would rate 'this is the water'- with all the stars in the galaxy. This is my fatigued brain admiring while I read, the tranquilizing simplicity, the pleasant straightforwardness, and the transparent depiction of human behaviorism by Murphy. This is the hypnotizing thrill that is defying my need to get some sleep. This is the engrossment that follows a gripping twist to the story. This is the review for a story so refreshing and fascinatingly distinct.

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