Friday, August 19, 2022

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin


Rachel Krall is a success.  Her true crime podcast has had two successful seasons and set a falsely convicted man free from the murder charge he was serving time for.  Now she is about to start season three and feels a great deal of pressure to make this season even more successful.  Success breeds imitators and since her success, several other true crime podcasts have sprung up.  

Rachel's location for this season is a small North Carolina town.  There hasn't been a murder but rather a rape.  The trial that is about to occur has torn the town apart.  The victim is a sixteen year old girl, the granddaughter of the former police chief.  The defendant is the town's golden boy, a guy from a wealthy family who is also a record-setting swimmer, bound for the Olympics before he was accused of rape.

But there are other stories in this town.  Rachel starts to get letters left on her car or at restaurants where she is eating.  The letter writer says her name is Hannah Stills and that her sister, Jenny, was raped and killed in the town twenty-five years ago.  Jenny's death was identified as an accidental drowning but Hannah knows that isn't the truth.  But Jenny wasn't from a wealthy family and her death was swept under the rug.  Hannah is sure that the only chance of justice Jenny has is for Rachel to investigate the death and discover who killed Jenny.  

Rachel gets caught up in both cases.  The rape trial brings up repressed memories for her of the times that she was groped or worse in her own life.  The death of Jenny is a mystery and as she looks into it, many of the town's most influential citizens seem to play a part in the long ago scandal.  Can Rachel's podcast help to solve the cases?

Megan Goldin was a journalist for many years before she wrote this mystery.  Part of her inspiration was the true crime podcast, Serial, which investigated the murder for which Adnan Syned has been imprisoned.  That podcast was immensely successful and has resulted in the case being looked at again and further appeals of the sentence brought to court.  Goldin's journalist experience is seen in the pacing of the novel with the two stories balanced and just enough told of each at a time to keep the tension going.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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