Primary Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Published: Expected 4 August 2020 by St. Martin’s Press
Page count: 352
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy The Night Swim
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
I was honored to review an ARC of The Escape Room by Megan Goldin back in January 2019 and I absolutely loved that book. As soon as I noticed her upcoming book was available on NetGalley I immediately requested it and was approved! This book is simply phenomenal, but be aware the story does discuss rape and abuse in a very raw and real way. Here are my pros and cons for The Night Swim:
- This book tackles a very tough and polarizing topic and I thought the author addressed the issues delicately and compassionately.
- The author’s writing style is amazing! Much like The Escape Room, I was drawn in, mesmerized, and completely engrossed in this story from the very first page.
- I loved the parallel storylines! Rachel was following a current event (rape trial) for her podcast and she was also a bit unwillingly drawn into investigating a past event (officially a drowning, but possibly murder) that occurred in the same town. The story also had a past and present narrative (the current period with Rachel, and the past from the POV of the drowning/murder victim’s little sister). I felt like this book was going in multiple directions at once – and it does! – but it was 100% captivating and written so well that I had no problem following everything. The plot was intricate, realistic, heartbreaking, tense, and honest and the narratives ultimately blended together seamlessly.
- The past narrative felt so hopeless. We learn about the sisters (Hannah and Jenny) and how Jenny allegedly died. We also learn a lot about their lives and how they were perceived and treated by more well-to-do and prominent people in their town. It almost sounds crazy to say this, but it was hard to read about Jenny and Hannah at times because it made me feel helpless, just like the girls, and it was very emotional to experience. It is an absolute testament to phenomenal writing when I am this emotionally connected to fictional characters.
- A big part of this book is about perceptions, reputations, and opinions and how they impact how a person is treated, believed, and understood.
Everyone has an opinion, but nobody seems to know any facts.
- I felt like the ending was a little abrupt, albeit satisfying. I honestly think that I felt it was abrupt because I was super invested in the characters and their stories and I didn’t want it to end.
This book will absolutely make you think. It will make you analyze the difference between right and wrong. You will think about how the rich and poor are treated differently in many circumstances. It will make you reflect upon how rape survivors are treated and what they have to endure in a trial, how those accused are entitled to a fair trial and defense (innocent until proven guilty), and how perceptions and opinions cloud everything. This book will also make you understand that what you believe with your whole heart can sometimes be very far from the actual truth.
I will read anything Megan Goldin writes. I am absolutely mesmerized with her books.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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(image from Goodreads)