Title: The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Page Count: 352
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Age Category: Adult
Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault, sexual violence, death of a parent
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?
I really, really liked this book, which in essence doesn’t surprise me because it really reminded me of a grown up version of Sadie by Courtney Summers, which I read in May and really liked. Like Sadie, it is narrated from a podcast host and a vengeful sister. I have learned that I do like books that discuss rape culture. They generally tend to get really high ratings for a really strong reason.
I will say that I think that this could be a really triggering book for any survivors and even those who just have a hard time reading about rape. Quite a bit of the plot takes place at a rape trial, and it does include the rape victim being forced to rehash the events of that night. This is also about two rapes so it does appear multiple times.
I really loved the style of that Goldin took in telling the story. I do like that we had the podcast aspect because I think I really like podcasts in books, which I guess I haven’t read that many books with a podcast in them, but I have given the few I’ve read at least a four star. I also think that the letter form was the best way and made the most sense for Hannah’s storyline.
I was so enthralled in this and so invested that I felt myself getting upset. But it wasn’t because of the book itself because I agreed with where the author took the story. I was getting so upset at the thoughts of the people in the town and the way the people in it handled certain events because it felt so real. Somehow, this book made me feel even more ACAB than I already did because the things that went on in this town were just so fucked up.
My biggest complaint is that I feel like Rachel was a little bland. I don’t feel like there was that much personality to her or really any flaws. I felt connected to the story in other ways like the setting and what the other characters would say, but I don’t feel like Rachel was fully developed. I think a lot of her was concealed from the reader and it made sense for Rachel’s character, but I also think it really harmed her character development. I feel the same about the other protagonist Hannah, too.
I will say without spoiling that I was surprised by the plot twist at the end of the book. I did predict it at one point, but I pushed that thought out of my mind pretty quickly. Turns out, I shouldn’t have because I was completely right.
Overall, I did really like this book. It is definitely one I can see myself reading and recommending in the future. I think that if you like books that offer a social commentary and true crime podcasts, you will really like this one. I think the characters could’ve been a little bit more developed, but that could also be because I am more of a first person reader than a third.