Trigger Warning: this book does contain a lot of references to, and descriptions of sexual assault and rape.
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The Night Swim by Megan Goldin: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Synopsis of The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
True-Crime Podcast Sensation and Private Investigator Rachel Krall heads to the tourist town of Neapolis to bring season three of her podcast to life while following the real-life trial of a devastating small town rape. The community is at odds over the accusation, in which a local golden-boy and famous swimmer headed for the Olympics is accused of raping a 16 year old girl, who also happens to be the granddaughter of a local police chief.
It’s a classic tale of her word vs. his, in which Rachel is hoping to bring nothing but facts to her listeners, encouraging them to come to their “own conclusions” as she provides details from each day inside the courtroom. What she didn’t happen to stumble upon, was a second crime. Mysterious letters are being left for Rachel on her car, outside her hotel room, and just about everywhere she turns. The letters, signed simply from someone named Hannah, indicate that the accidental drowning of her sister twenty-five years earlier was a murder covered up, and that the killer is still lurking in the town of Neapolis.
Against her better judgement, Rachel is hooked. She knows she should be devoting all her time to the rape trial; it is, after all, the whole reason why she is in Neapolis, and what her entire season of her podcast is focused on. But there’s something about the desperation in Hannah’s tone in her letters that convinces Rachel that just maybe, this accidental drowning wasn’t an accident at all.
The Night Swim is a classic tale of small town secrets, power plays, and how your reputation can follow you around for years; regardless of its validity. It’s also proof that no matter how hard you may try to hide a secret, eventually someday the truth will come out.
I had a really hard time getting into this book for the first handful of chapters. I didn’t immediately connect to Rachel, the main character, nor Hannah, whose voice fills about every other chapter. There were so many characters introduced in the very beginning that I kept having to flip back pages just to remember who was who. But ultimately in the end, I had a hard time putting it down and needed to find out if my hunches were correct. Spoiler alert: they were.
I also felt like the author played up the voice of Hannah to be a little more sinister and creepy in her letters than she turned out to be (sorry if that spoils anything). The ending didn’t quite end up how I imagined, and I still have a handful of unanswered questions. It’s for this reason that I gave the book three stars on Goodreads, although full disclosure; I’m a tough rater when it comes to books and very few get a four, and even less ever get a five from me.
I guess I expected this to fall more into the psychological thriller category than it actually did. But overall, it was a decent read.Definitely one you could add to your list this year, but not one that I’d race out to get. If you disagree, tell me why! I’d love to know your thoughts, and what’s next on your TBR list!