Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Rating: 6.5/10

Synopsis

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?

Review

The Night Swim is a mystery/crime novel that follows two different narratives, both cases involving Rachel – the host of a popular true crime podcast. The first is Rachel’s coverage of a current rape trial. The second is a murder case from 25 years ago that Rachel is being asked to investigate.

I enjoyed reading this book and trying to interpret the clues of each case: needing to know what happened, who was guilty, who was not, and where the connection between these two cases meet. There was a decent amount of tension that led to a feeling of wanting to continue reading. It was mysterious enough that I did not want to put it down. It was also a relatively easy read that I finished in a few sittings, which definitely has its perks.

The character set was good, too. Rachel is the main character, and I came to really like her during the story. She was strong and assertive and dedicated to finding the truth. I like the idea of her being a podcast host, because it forces her character to look at each scenario from many different perspectives. Rachel did not really pass judgment on any of the other characters early in the book – she would stay neutral and balanced until she found the truth. This appeals to me as a reader because it has me constantly doubting myself. I kept thinking, he did it. No, he didn’t do. Maybe he did it. Maybe he is covering up for someone. No, he definitely did it. I like being forced to constantly rethink things during a mystery/crime novel.

As much as I enjoyed reading it, this book did have some major flaws. The biggest flaw for me was that there was not a lot of “wow!”. No real surprise factors. There were a few twists and turns, but nothing that made my head spin. I like to be caught off guard. I want to finish a crime novel and think, that author made a fool out of me. Megan Goldin did not accomplish that in this novel. The other big flaw was the execution of the podcast storyline in the book. Every few chapters is a transcript of Rachel’s most current podcast episode. This is a great idea, except that each of these chapters is only about 5-8 pages long. This would make for 3-5 minute podcasts. That is unrealistic, especially for a popular true crime podcast. I understand that there is no way to include transcripts of 30-60 minute podcasts, but there had to be another way. It felt like a half-completed idea to me.

Overall, The Night Swim was a good read. I did not find it to be particularly exciting, but if you are looking for a good mystery that is an easy read I recommend it.

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