The Night Swim
Rachel Krall #1
By: Megan Goldin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 08/04/2020
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC) 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. 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?
Megan Goldin returns following The Escape Room with THE NIGHT SWIM, (Rachel Krall #1) featuring Rachel Krall, a former newspaper reporter whose true-crime podcast Guilty or Not Guilty has turned into an overnight sensation.
Set in Neapolis, North Carolina (a small fictional mall coastal beach town), where everyone knows everyone. Rachel will be attending a criminal trial, the subject of the third season of Guilty or Not Guilty, after two successful seasons.
The town is less than perfect, with a dark past.
The plot centers on a rape trial currently unfolding. THE NIGHT SWIM alternates between two narratives—with another case from 25 years before and whether the two possible crimes might be linked.
Currently Rape Trial Case: Champion swimmer Scott Blair will be tried for the rape and sexual battery of Kelly Moore, (also the granddaughter of the police chief), who attends the high school he graduated from the year before. Prosecutor Mitchell Alkins and rock-star defense attorney Dale Quinn agree that the two teenagers had sex on the night in question, but they don't agree whether it was consensual.
Rachel plans to follow the trail on her podcast and puts her listeners in the jury box. Rachel finds the objectivity she's promised her listeners increasingly compromised by her sympathy for Kelly.
She also gets pulled into another case from twenty-five years ago. There is more back story before the trial with notes from Hannah, whose older sister, Jenny, was raped, beaten, and drowned back in 1992.
Hannah Stills was nine-years-old and her sister, Jenny, was the sixteen-year-old sister. She never told anyone what happened that night, but now twenty-five years later, she is ready to spill.
She is confident her sister's killer has not been punished or identified and will be present in the courtroom. Hannah is ready to reopen old wounds to discuss her sister's last night. She says Rachel is the only person that can help her.
What do these two assaults a generation apart have to do with one another?
Will Rachel have another winning podcast season and help Hannah get the justice she deserves for her sister?
There are four women at the center of the story.
~Rachel: Podcaster Guilty or Not Guilty. At NC for the trail (Kelly) and Rachel begins to look into the death of Jenny Stills, who allegedly drowned while on a night swim.
~Kelly: Current rape trial. A teen accuses the town's golden boy of raping her. People in the town are angry because they question whether it was rape. She could be destroying the swimmer's life.
~Hannah: Jenny's sister. She was left as a child with memories of what happened that summer and wants Rachel to help her investigate her sister's death.
~Jenny: Jenny was a teenager whose death was attributed to drowning, and never really investigated.
There are many parallels between the cases, and they keep repeating themselves. As women go to trial, they are shunned and made to think it is their fault and not victims when sexually assaulted, as we see often today.
In Kelly's case, she has more support from a prominent family. Jenny, who everyone said had a bad reputation, did not have the same perks or opportunities for justice.
Can you escape your past?
With heart-pounding suspense and gut-wrenching emotions, the author tackles highly-charged topics of sexual assault with confidence, compassion, and sensitivity.
Your heart will go out to Jenny/Hannah, and Goldin casts light on small-town politics and how bias can affect how people view rape victims and their alleged assailants. She also showcases how difficult it is to relive the experience on the stand and be in the spotlight of a high-profile trial. A sensitive exploration of women's silence in the face of trauma and sexual violence.
THE NIGHT SWIM is superb! Part thriller, psychological, murder mystery, lyrical, and courtroom drama.
Goldin blends everything seamlessly focusing on how rape culture and small-town politics never really change even as history passes.
I loved Rachel and her attitude and how she went beyond to help a woman find justice for her sister. Thought-provoking, with well-developed characters—makes this a highly recommended read.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars
Pub Date: Aug 4, 2020
My MG Reviews:
*A Book of the Month Club Book of the Year Nominee*
“Goldin’s prose is inviting, at times electrifying, and always sensitive in dealing with hot-button issues…well done.”
“Outstanding…[Goldin's thriller] casts a searing light on small-town politics.”―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A blistering plot and crisp writing make The Night Swim an unputdownable read.”
–Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of The Wife Between Us
About the Author
MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia.
She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs.