The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book has been one of my most anticipated reads of the summer. I was so happy to see it as a Book of the Month pick for August 2020, and simply giddy when I was provided a review copy of the audiobook by the publisher via Netgalley, so I was able to listen along as I read. This one one that didn’t have time to collect a speck of dust before I jumped into it, and living in Lubbock, Texas, that’s saying something!
I really enjoyed this book. It’s a mix of that mystery-suspense crime fiction and women’s fiction, and for anyone this might appeal to, there’s not one shred of romance. The thing that appealed to me most was the “true crime podcast” element in the story, and that did not disappoint. In the audiobook, the podcast chapters, there was music for the into and end that gave it such a realistic flare.
Our main character, Rachel, is visiting the seaside town of Neapolis to cover a rape trial for her podcast, the first season of her podcast with live coverage of a trial. Innocent or Guilty, she puts you in the jury box. Rachel was an interesting character, but one I don’t feel I got to know on a deeper level despite her being the main character of the story. This was very much plot driven. But there were many other characters we do get to know pretty well over the course of the book, including Jenny Stills, a girl who was raped and murdered in the same town 25 years prior. Rachel wasn’t expecting or even wanting to get sidetracked on a cold case while she was there, but once she got pulled in, she couldn’t let it go.
What was really cool about this book was that early on in the book, I really didn’t know who was innocent or guilty in the current trial, and i didn’t know who killed Jenny stills 25 years ago until the very end. And for the latter, consider me shocked!
The only reason this is a 4 star and not a 5 star read for me was a few minor inconsistencies. For example, the trial lawyer is described early on as having a solid record for no overturned trials. Somewhere in the middle, it says there was one, and at the end again, it says there wasn’t.
As for the audiobook, there were three different narrators for this story, all female. One for the regular chapters from Rachel’s perspective (third person POV), one for the podcast chapters in Rachel’s first person voice, and one for chapters in the POV of Hannah Stills, the sister of the murder victim Jenny Stills. All three narrators did an excellent job telling this story.
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