Title: The Drowning.
Author: Rachel Ward.
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2013.
Publisher: Chicken House.
Format: Paperback, 274 pages.
Source: Provided By Publisher.
My Rating:

When Carl opens his eyes on the banks of a cold lake, his brother is being zipped into a body bag. And a shovering wet girl is being helped nearby.

What happened in the water?

He can't remember. All he knows is that he must find out - before the truth comes back to drown him...

The Drowning has to be one of the strangest books I’ve read this year, and that’s saying something! I definitely don’t mean this in bad way though; The Drowning was a compelling and wonderfully written novel that I couldn’t put down. I didn’t expect anything less from Rachel Ward, who has the ability to write stories that I’m sure everyone will love. This book is very different from Rachel’s other novel; Numbers, but also very similar at the same time with a fast-paced and action packed plot line. The Drowning is just as good as the other book I’ve read by her, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Right from the first page we enter the action; Carl remembers nothing, not why he was in the lake in the first place, not who the strange girl he’s with is, or what happened in the lake to cause his brother to drown. Carl’s character was interesting to read about, but I’m not really sure if I liked him at all. I thought Carl was a little bland and immature. I know he’s only fifteen, but I would have imagined his brother’s death would have matured him slightly. Unfortunately, he was just like any other teenage boy – a slave to his hormones. I’m not saying this is bad, but it seemed like a hell of a lot of the book was centred around Carl fighting the urge to jump on Neisha. He seemed a little obsessive over her, which put me off a little bit.

Neisha is the love-interest throughout this novel, and I had mixed feelings about her character. She seemed like a nice girl; smart and funny, but she also annoyed me a little bit. Her boyfriend has just drowned, and not even a week later she’s all over his brother. I understand the circumstances, but you’d think she’d need a little longer to move on considering the fact that she never looked twice at Carl in a romantic way before his brother died. There’s nothing else really to criticize about Neisha’s character – but I do think that Rachel Ward needs to work on her character development - two bland and dry characters in one book? That’s a little too much in my opinion!

As for Rob, Carl’s brother who drowned – god I hated him. I think you’re supposed to hate him, but my hate grew stronger and stronger throughout the book! To be perfectly honest, if he wasn’t already dead – I think I would have killed him myself. Rob was an abusive, rude, obnoxious asshole with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. As much as I enjoyed reading The Drowning, I was put off by how much of a jerk Rob’s character was. Even though hating him has a lot to do with the story, I just wish he was a little better so I could at least feel a little remorse for him. I thought the ending of The Drowning was really quite confusing – I have a feeling, due to the fact that I’m already familiar with Rachel Ward’s writing, that I know what happened - but at the same time I’m really not sure. I don’t know whether the doubt and confusion was deliberate on Rachel’s part or not, but either way I kind of wished it’d had been a slightly clearer ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Drowning – it’s a fascinating, past-paced, creepy thriller that will have you constantly turning the pages to find out what will happen next. Although Rachel Ward’s character development needs a little fine tuning, her writing style is fabulous and such a pleasure to read. The entirety of this book is quite disturbing in a way and definitely freaked out in certain places. I believe The Drowning well and truly deserves the 4/5 star rating I gave it – if it weren’t for the few flaws that I’ve mentioned, I’m sure it would have gotten a higher rating. All the same, The Drowning is an amazing book, and I’d highly recommend anyone who loves a good thriller novel to pick this up. I can’t wait to read more from Rachel Ward in the future; she’s definitely an author everyone should know about!

But it's not him. There's a girl in here now. She's looking right at me. Her make-up's smeared down her face from her eyes, like she's melting, but her lips are blue, her arms are covered in goosebumps and she's shivering. She's staring too, staring at me, then she blinks – once, twice – and starts screaming. - Page 2.

I open my eyes a little way, so there’s a narrow slit to see out of, and he’s there, half a metre away. White face, streaked with mud. The face that got zipped into the bag. My eyes open wide. My breathing goes shallow and fast.
I close my eyes again. I’m not seeing this. This isn’t real. - Page 71.

I kiss the top of her head, her temple, her cheek. She’s warm, so warm. She moves a little, tipping her face towards mine, and I find her lips. They’re soft and wet and taste of salt tears. I press my mouth against hers gently, ready to pull back at the first hint of rejection, but after a second of two she responds to me, angling her head a little more, kissing me back. - Page 142.


  1. I always find myself drawn to this book in the shops because I adore the cover so much and if it wasn't for the fact that I have stopped buying books at the moment due to having over 45 on my kindle and 23 proper books to read I would have bought it. I will probably get it at some point next year after reading your positive review of it.