What’s in the Bag?

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman makes one wonder about how millions of dollars could change people and their relationships with each other.  The story starts with Erin digging a grave for her recent husband, then flashes back to the events leading to this point.

Erin and Mark are to be married.  During this time, Erin is in the early stages filming a documentary of three prisoners about to finish their prison sentences.  There’s Eddie, the former mobster, Holli, possible terrorist, and Alexa, jailed for euthanizing her mother.  Erin hopes to capture their experiences as they re-enter the world.  Meanwhile, her fiance has just lost his job in the financial sector which is a huge blow.

Once married, they set off on their shortened Tahitian honeymoon.  While scuba diving one day, they happen across a plane wreck in the ocean.  Mark extracts a duffel from the wreck, which they later find is full of millions of dollars worth of cash and diamonds.  There is also a cell phone and a USB drive.  They decide to keep the bag and its contents after much deliberation.  Unfortunately, Erin’s inquisitive nature leads her to turn on the cell phone, thereby providing a search point for those hoping to get the bag back.

Now they need to cover their tracks and hide the money in foreign bank accounts as quickly as possible.  Erin’s documentary subject, Eddie, becomes pivotal as he gives her advice about handling the valuable contents of the duffel and disconnecting herself from two murders.

This is a story with great potential, except for too many loose ends.  We never find out who the people in the plane wreck actually are.  Also, SPOILERS, it bothered me that  a couple who was so in love and who ultimately found an answer to financial stress would turn against each other as they did.  Finally, the closing of the book was meant to be shocking, but left me with a “so what?” feeling.


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