Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Megan Goldin's The Night Swim! Keep reading for a synopsis, review, *and* info about how to grab a copy for yourself.
In The Night Swim, a new thriller from Megan Goldin, author of the “gripping and unforgettable” (Harlen Coben) The Escape Room, a true crime podcast host covering a controversial trial finds herself drawn deep into a small town’s dark past and a brutal crime that took place there years before.
Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name—and the last hope for 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 new season of Rachel's podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation—but the mysterious letters keep coming. 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 insist she was murdered—and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases—and a revelation 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?
[CW: rape, murder, & sexual assault.]
Last week I ventured back into the world of the thriller with Megan Goldin’s The Night Swim. I was immediately hooked by this engrossing & emotion-provoking story that revolves around a violence we’ve unfortunately seen or heard parts of play out all too often before.
Rachel Krall, the host of the Serial-like podcast Guilty or Not Guilty, ventures to Neapolis to cover the trial of alleged rapist Scott Blair & to research & recount the sequence of events the night of the alleged rape of K.
While she’s there, Rachel is contacted by a stranger named Hannah, who begs her to investigate the murder of her sister Jenny at 16. The town says Jenny drowned & 25 years later, in the present-day, she’s still gossiped about & slandered for supposedly being promiscuous. Hannah has part of Jenny’s story to tell—her memories from that long ago summer when she was only 9—& it’s horrifying.
Rachel’s busy with her podcast, with giving her listeners the opportunity to decide if Scott is guilty of having raped K. But she’s caught up in Jenny’s story too, with what really happened to her.
The Night Swim is a powerful, disturbing story of the ongoing sexual violence done toward women & as Rachel expresses to her listeners, the further pain they experience being forced to offer “proof” that violence was done to them.
It’s also about victim-shaming; the narrators reveal how men & women frequently jump on a malicious gossip band-wagon & how it’s not uncommon for communal judgment toward perceived sexual acts &/or assumed lapses in judgment to often be primarily directed toward females.
In terms of the mystery I was genuinely surprised by a big reveal, but I did question Rachel’s reporting methodology on at least a couple of occasions. The fine storytelling held my interest as did the way Goldin plays with genre, using letters & podcast transcripts to further pull the reader in.
While the book & the stories of the girls & women told in it are often dark, there are gestures made toward hope too. But it’s a kind of hope that’s still touched by the reality of being a woman living in the world described above.
4⭐️. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
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A big thanks to St. Martin's Press for my complimentary ARC of The Night Swim & all promotional materials. All opinions provided are my own.
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