After the death of his wife and twin sons, Army vet Ian Slaney is a shadow of his former self. On the path of self-destruction, only his best friend's disappearance in South America pulls Ian back from the ledge. He rushes to Brazil, only to discover that his friend was murdered. The single lead in the case is also the single biggest obstacle--Daniela, a mysterious beauty very much in need of protection, with a host of secrets hidden in a dark past.
As the two of them track down clues and try to untangle an impossible case, they draw the attention of all the wrong people, and danger follows them back to the US.
Ian wants the murderers. Daniela wants Ian to acknowledge the hot sparks of passion between them. But convincing Ian to set aside his protective instincts proves more difficult than turning an anaconda vegetarian.
This is a very intense three-part book, where the part one is the backstory, part two focus on the suspense, and then comes part three with the main focus on the romance and wrapping up the tale.
The part one tells the devastating and raw story of an escape from a human trafficking, from sex slavery that she was born into in the Amazons. Daniela's story is heartbreaking, her nearly accidental escape from the destiny she inherited from her mother is awe-inspiring, what she is able to accomplish with the help of Ian is nothing short of a miracle.
But Ian doesn't just rescue and save Daniela's life, she does the same for him, with the slowly killing burden of the death of his wife and twin sons while he was in the military.
The part two, four years later, tell about Daniela and Ian working for an agency in the States rescuing missing civilians overseas. They are teamed to return to Daniela's original home, to her roots, to save a baby from child trafficking. This part has an investigation, clues to be uncovered, and endless miles to be walked and search with the hope of a positive outcome, while Daniela and Ian have a battle of minds concerning the type of relationship they will have in the future.
The part three is six months later, and more of a conclusion to the story.
I found the plot intriguing, it was different and touched the many problems around the child trafficking and sex slavery. With the length of the story and timeline for the plot, the development of the characters was distinctly evident. The psyche and the inner battles of the characters came very familiar to me, and I learned to care about them as time went by.
I found the writing style to be a bit heavy at times. I like more to be shown what is happening and getting the visual image instead of being told this and this happened because of that. The story is also told from several different points of views, and every time the viewpoint changed I felt it broke down the flow of the tale, the wave the story was on. Sometimes the point of view were secondary characters, and obviously important clues were given to a possible future development of the plot, yet they were left as it was, never touched again. Maybe those points could have been edited out to tighten up the tale, to lighten the load of the abundance of information.
For me, the story took life and momentum after the 60% mark, the middle of the book moving on a bit too slow to hold the intense interest in the tale.
Girl in the Water is an impressive and fascinating story. The destinies of the characters go from heartbreaking to exhilarating. Daniela's speech towards the end of the book was a turning point for me, making the tale, getting that emotional connection to her journey from me. If there is such a thing as a disturbingly beautiful story, this is it.
~ Four Spoons