Title: The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published On: August 4, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: (CW: Rape, sexual assault, murder)
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.
Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?
The Night Swim is being promoted as a thriller, but I would label this one a mystery. It’s not a fast-paced, edge of your seat kind of book. It’s more of a slow reveal, “who-done-it.” Which actually works better for this story.
I read Goldin’s previous book, The Escape Room, and enjoyed it, so when I saw The Night Swim, I requested it right away. I couldn’t resist the premise of a podcast host that covers crimes. This story is told from two third-person point of views: Rachel’s and Hannah’s. Rachel is the host of the podcast and Hannah is a fan. Hannah has been reaching out to Rachel to ask for her help in solving the rape and murder of her sister twenty-five years ago in Neopolis, where Rachel is currently headed to cover—for her third season of the podcast—the trial of the town’s star athlete accused of rape. Hannah slowly tells her sister’s story through letters and emails she sends to Rachel throughout the trial, and the two stories mirror each other, weaving in the past and present.
The author does a superb job handling such a delicate subject. She highlights the unbalanced handling of sexual assault and rape cases, how the burden of proof is placed on the victim. How the victim is subjected repeatedly to reliving their experience, and therefore traumatized even after the assault. It’s a flaw in our judicial system, and I appreciated the attention she brought to it.
“When school kids are shot by a random shooter, nobody asks whether the victims should have taken more precautions. Nobody suggests that maybe the victims should have skipped school that day. Nobody ever blames the victims.”Megan Goldin, The Night Swim
My favorite parts of the book are the trial scenes. I respected Rachel’s thoughts throughout, her assessments of the lawyers, the witnesses, the jury. She made observations that I’d never thought about.
While I had most of the plot figured out by the ending, I still appreciated the delivery. There were a few things that I found unbelievable and that took me out of the story, but I was able to look past it for the most part. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one becomes a series. It was a great summer read, and I look forward to more from Megan Goldin.
Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy.
Rating: (4 / 5)
About the Author
Have you read The Night Swim? Did you add it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!