Cover Image: The Night Swim

The Night Swim

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Member Reviews

TRIGGER WARNING: this book and review include scenes of and references to sexual violence against women and may be difficult for some to read.

The Night Swim is like reading two stories in one book. There’s Rachel’s story, a true crime podcast host who travels to a small, sleepy town to observe and comment on a highly publicized rape trial. Then there’s Hannah, who writes to Rachel, about the death of her sister, Jenny Stills. Jenny’s death took place about thirty years ago in the same town where Rachel is visiting for the trial. Hannah wants Rachel to investigate Jenny’s death, convinced it was murder and not an accident as pronounced at the time. 

It was interesting to have the two stories overlapping. The podcast chapters were okay at first because they gave us some additional details about what took place in court that day. But after a while, the podcast chapters offered nothing new and were just recaps of what we already read. So I found them a bit redundant at that point. 

There was a lot of multi-layered mystery in this story. There is a “surprise twist” at the end, but I guessed pretty early on who the guilty party was. The book was intriguing and kept me engaged, though it did become difficult to read once the trial started. There is a lot of sexual assault, rape, and violence in this book, including instances of gang rape. There is also graphic detailing of a rape victim’s injuries during the courtroom drama. This might be a trigger for some, and I would warn anyone who doesn’t enjoy reading about sexual assault cases to be aware of the content before starting the book. By the last quarter of the book, I was just over reading about rape and really wanted the book to end, though I did appreciate the way Ms. Goldin showed every possible side of the trial, including the accused and the accuser. 

Everything wrapped up pretty nicely at the end, leaving no cliff hangers and even room for a sequel if Ms. Goldin is inclined. What case will Rachel take for season 4 of her podcast, Guilty or Not Guilty? Maybe we’ll find out next year…

A big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the sneak peek of this upcoming release. All opinions are my own.
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This intense novel  goes a long way to explain why many female rape victims are often beaten down by the justice system that purports to represent and protect them.
Rachel Krall, a true crime podcaster travels to small town North Carolina to cover a high profile rape trial. high profile because the accused is a privileged young sport superstar, bound for Olympic glory and the victim is one of two sisters in a single parent family. On arrival, Rachel finds a note on her windshield about another similar incident that happened twenty five years previously in the same town. Soon Rachel is following the court case as well as conducting her own investigation into the older case.
What follows is a page-turning suspense story with many all-too-real moments which remind us that young female victims of assault or rape are often left vulnerable and open to public disparagement rather than given the support and help they need.
The author creates well-rounded characters. Rachel is brave, no-nonsense and willing to take risks. the male characters are well drawn and Golden does not fall into the trap of painting all her male characters with the same brush. A real page-turner that shines a spotlight on a very pressing issue.
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I LOVED this book!! I love how the plot went back and forth between both Rachel, the main character, and Hannah's perspective from her letters recalling a past experience. The ties between both cases were incredible and the story telling of the current court case and the previous unsolved death of the past was fascinating. I loved the writing, characters, plot and was not expecting the ending at all.. my favorite type of ending! I couldn't put this book down and it was a page turner with some good twists. I recommend to anyone who wants a book that they don't want to set down!
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What a ride.  The author tackles the intricacies of proving rape in the courtroom, weaving together two stories, an old rape and murder, with a current rape trial.  Rachel arrives in Neapolis to observe and record podcasts as a rape trial unfolds.  But letters keep showing up begging her to look into an old rape and murder case which happened in this very town.  As Rachel digs around, the townspeople grow uneasy.  Why can’t she leave well enough alone?  The current rape case brings out how difficult it is to actually get a rape conviction, being very dependent upon the traumatized raped girl’s testimony. 
An enlightening read.
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I didn’t read The Night Swim by Megan Goldin so much as I absorbed it.  All of my senses were engaged with this fantastic story.  The book’s chapters alternate between three POVs – Rachel Krall, a popular true crime podcaster; Hannah, a woman whose sister died 25 years ago; and the podcast itself.  Rachel has traveled to a small town called Neapolis to cover the highly publicized trial of a local hero accused of raping a young teen girl.  On the day she arrives, Rachel finds a letter left on her car windshield from a woman who lived in Neapolis when she was growing up.  She (Hannah) claims that her older sister was murdered despite the fact that the case was declared an accidental drowning.  The chapters from Hannah’s POV are absolutely gut-wrenching.  And the chapters that are from the podcast POV are mesmerizing.  I could actually hear Rachel’s podcasting voice, that low-pitched, soothing tone that the best podcasters have.  While Rachel stays on task covering the current trial, she can’t help but be intrigued by Hannah’s story and starts investigating that as well.  By the end, the reader has satisfying resolutions to both crimes. 
I can’t say enough positive things about this book.  It has it all.  I read and loved Goldin’s earlier novel, The Escape Room, and this latest venture is as good or better than that.  The writing is tight, and the character development is brilliant.  Once I started, I could not put The Night Swim down.   I absolutely loved it – 5 stars all the way.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me a digital ARC in return for an honest review.  The Night Swim comes out on August 4, 2020.  It’s going to be a huge success.  Don’t miss it!
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I loved this book, and woke up in the middle of the night to read more!  It centers around Rachel, who is a household name based on 2 years of doing successful podcasts on murder trials, and is now traveling to Neapolis, NC to cover a rape case for her 3rd season.  She starts receiving letters from Hannah who urges her to also look into Hannah's sister Jenny's murder in 1991 in the same town, which was ruled as an accident.  The chapters alternate between Rachel, Hannah, and a transcription of Rachel's podcast about the rape trial.

This story is great because it has not one, but two mysteries to solve, and the author really draws in the reader to care about them both.  Rachel is human and understandable, not wanting to do something stupid but also driven by curiosity- I feel like I could completely empathize with her decisions throughout the story.  The podcasts about the way rape cases polarize people were really compelling; the way both sides of the story were presented gives the reader reasonable doubt on both sides.

I especially enjoyed the mystery surrounding Jenny's fate, though it is horribly sad.  The author did a great job suspensefully laying out the details of the situation through Hannah's letters to Rachel- I couldn't wait to see what really happened.  I figured out who the culprit was literally right before Rachel did- what a great job of  bringing all the pieces together so the reader and Rachel would get there around the same time.  

I have gushed about this book a lot, but will add one last piece around the imagery the author elicited around Neapolis, the crimes, and the courtroom- she was able to lay out the details in a way that I could clearly picture myself there, but without going so deep into specifics that would have made the story boring.  Even though some of the rape scenes were graphic, the information given was just enough to truly make me understand what it was like to be there without overdoing it. This is a special skill.

I have very little to complain about with this book, but my only small nit is that I couldn't figure out why the prosecutor couldn't manage to dig up any other girl that the defendant, Scott, had had sex with.  I kept waiting for him to pull out a believable witness who could say one way or another what Scott was actually like, but it never came.

In a nutshell, I would strongly recommend this book for those who like mysteries and courtroom dramas- this was a fantastic book that will stick with me for much time to come. I think that this book will be memorable for many readers who like the same kind of books that I do.  I am going to go back and read Megan Goldin's previous book as soon as I can.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I gave this book 5/5 stars for the writing style. I love the back and forth between the characters, the courtroom drama, and the added twist with the podcast. This was a definite page turner- I could not wait to see what happened next with each character’s story!
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I had a difficult time getting through the beginning of it because it seemed a little disjointed. But then I got through the last half in a day!!! When all the pieces started coming together wow!!  

The social commentary on rape and the rape case was so important. I just finished reading Know my Name by Chanel Miller and it really reminded me of that. The accounts of sexual assault were haunting. 
The combination of switching narratives to podcast to courtroom was wonderfully engaging. 

This one will stay with me a while. I love it!
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4 stars

I really enjoyed this book. As a fan of all of the murder-based podcasts AND a well developed thriller, I knew that this could work nicely for my creepy tastes. 

Often, I felt like the podcast angle got pushed aside. Despite the short episode interludes and presenting a frame through which to do the research, the podcast isn't as much of a focus - especially as the novel progresses - as I thought it would be at the start. By the time I got to the end, this component felt more extraneous to me than essential, and that's something I think a mindful editor could have (and should have) corrected. 

Another minor point of concern I experienced was the few times that rapists and survivors/victims of rape and sexual assault are described in binary gender terms. It would have been useful to hear some acknowledgement - even casually - that all kinds of folks can and do inhabit either role. 

What DID work well for me in this novel is here: (1) the simultaneous stories (the historical rape and potential murder of Jenny Stills and the contemporary trial on behalf of Kelly Moore) as well as (2) the clear message that rape and sexual assault have life-long and widespread impacts. On the first point, though these story lines do feel a bit distant at first, I think they are woven together quite nicely (if, in some ways, too predictably) by the end. Regarding the second, it's not lost on me that so many of the works I'm reading lately center on this topic. Calling all rapists and perpetrators of sexual assault: STOP. 

One final point I must mention is how much I dislike the final scene. I also found this literally exact final moment too predictable, and I didn't love the message I saw clearly in the symbolism. Since I'm keeping this spoiler-free, I'll leave this point nebulous, but there was a missed opportunity. 

Overall, I really like the sentiment, the flow of the simultaneous stories, and the somewhat vacuous persona that the main character, Rachel, has. It's easy to step into her shoes since she leaves a lot of space for us to do that.
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An intense gripping story that was very descriptive . I felt a real connection to the characters.  At times I felt quite mad at the possibility of nothing happening to the accused. 
I have read the author’s previous book and was excited to get a copy of this one. It doesn’t disappoint and is just as good as her previous one. Definitely recommend!
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Night Swim was an interesting read. Having two crimes being discussed kept the story interesting and left the reader wondering where they would eventually intersect. When they did, it was not what I would have predicted and made for an even more engaging  ending. While the subject was heavy, it was well written and I enjoyed the book.
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This is a very different kind of mystery where the past comes back to have a dramatic impact on the future.  It is about "boys being boys" with a license to rape and  destroy a girls reputation with society's help. The double standard that we are fighting so hard to end today is really addressed in this story with a shocking ending.
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I really enjoyed this book!  The Night Swim by Megan Goldin is full of suspense!  It is a story about a small town rape trial, and a podcaster 
that goes to cover the story, and while she is there starts getting anonymous letters from someone wanting help solving an old mystery.  I definitely wanted to find out what was happening.  

I received this ARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review
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**Thank you Netgally and St. Martin's Press for an e-Arc in exchange for an honest revie

Rachel arrives at a small town to investigate the rape of a teenager girl by an 18 year old swimmer. She's a podcaster and wants to get the whole truth. Years ago, another girl named Jenny was also raped and mysteriously died. 

Trigger warning: obviously for rape. And it's presented pretty brutally. 

I can tell this was inspired by Serial, Sadie and the famous Brock Turner case. I think this was a good read, very quick. The story isn't a typical thriller in that most is done through Hannah's letters and the courtroom drama as opposed to it unfolding organically. The podcast element is fun and I like seeing more novels use this element in the story. It gave the story an organic vibe and Rachel made choices that made sense. 

4/5 stars. 
I think it was a good read but it wasn't really a mystery/thriller. It's more a contemporary watching rape cases in a town unfold. i would recommend it to fans of Serial, Sadie and courtroom dramas. This would be a great beach read (or potentially a great summer audio book).
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My thanks to St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley.
I don't know what I'm Earth possesses me to request things like this.
Maybe, the reviews of my Goodreads friend's? Maybe the popularity of the author? I haven't a clue.
So really, take this piffling review with a grain of salt.
I didn't like it. Obviously. That's all I'm going to say. I never should have even tried to read this. I'll give it 3 stars, because many liked it. 
Just know that some stories should come with trigger warnings. This is one of them.
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Reading The Night Swim by Megan Goldin will take you through so many emotions.  It is equal parts sadness, anger, fear, and hope.  The book follows two stories in the same town that occurred twenty-five years apart.  The present day story involves a true crime podcaster covering the trial of an accused young rapist.  The other story set twenty-five years in the past and told in flashbacks involves the death of a young teenager.  The sister of the young teenager has returned to her hometown to seek justice for her sister, who she believes was murdered.  She reaches out to the podcaster and asks for her help in getting to the bottom of what happened the night her sister died.  The podcaster begins to help investigate and soon finds parallels to the current trial she is covering.

What I liked:  The story opens with a chapter that hooks you in immediately as you wonder exactly what happened to the young girl who died twenty-five years ago.  It is told from the perspective of the younger sister Hannah and leaves you with so many questions that you want to keep reading to get the answers.  I feel that the author did a great job of moving back and forth from story to story and weaving them together.  I think early on the reader knows that there is a connection, but the author keeps you guessing on what that connection is.  I also liked how in the present day story, the author took you through the events leading up to the crime in small doses.  She would pause in the narrative and leave you wondering what happened for a couple of chapters before continuing with the story.  This was also effective at holding the readers interest and making you want to keep reading.  I will say that while the book contained very sensitive themes, I enjoyed the fact that the language was very clean throughout.  I actually can only recall one instance of foul language in the entire story.  And since I am a huge critic sometimes of book endings, I will say that I felt the author did a great job at wrapping up the story and giving the characters (and the readers) closure.  I would even enjoy a sequel involving the podcaster Rachel and her next trial.

What I didn’t like:  I don’t know that there was honestly anything I disliked.  Except possibly for the crimes themselves and what happened to the young girls in this story.  However, that has nothing to do with the actual book and the writing itself.  The author, in my opinion handled a very sensitive topic well.  She makes you consider how these types of crimes are viewed in society.  And about how society in general treats both the accused and the accuser.  She also makes you think of how events in the past can shape the future.  And unfortunately how these crimes affect the both the victims and their families.  

Overall, a very well written plot with some surprise twists at the end.  Some things I guessed, but others I did not see coming.  I will warn people that it is somewhat graphic during the present day story and during the trial itself.  So while the language is fairly clean, the subject matter may be too intense for some readers.  Especially if someone has been a victim of this type of crime or knows someone who has been a victim.  However, I think the book is worth reading for the way it makes you think about how victims are viewed and treated.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy of this book!
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This book did not have me on the edge of my seat like the Escape Room. It was much slower paced and did not have quite as interesting characters. It is the story of a rape trial in a small town, where people have their own secrets. A podcast writer is attending the trial of the town's golden boy. She keeps receiving letters that want her to look into a possible murder. I laughed when I read the final paragraph, don't miss it.
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I was sent an advance copy of Megan Goldin’s The Escape room and was blown away! When I was granted an early reading of her new book, Night Swim, I expected something similar....I was wrong! This novel is full of rich rich characters that drive the story. Rachel, a podcaster covers true crime, she is covering the jury trial of a rape in a small seaside town. Hannah wants Rachel to cover/solve her sister’s murder that happened 25 before in the same sleepy town. Told through Rachel’s podcasts and Hannah’s letters, the story is fast paced.  I could hear Rachel’s voice as I read her words.  This book is amazing! Some might pass it off as another #metoo tale, but it is much more. Suspense, heartbreak, redemption.
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The Night Swim is a fantastic book that tells the story of two rapes that happen 25 years apart in a sleepy seaside town. Megan Goldin handled the delicate topic so gracefully and respectfully that as a survivor I have great respect for. The idea of a true crime podcaster covering the current trial all while trying to figure out what happened 25 years before. I am crossing my fingers that Megan Goldin will keep Rachel in some of her future books because I really connected with her character. I highly recommend The Night Swim. I will draw you in and keep you engaged throughout.
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For me personally, The Night Swim, was a tall, dark, stiff drink to swallow but totally worthy of 5stars. It shines a spotlight on just how life-changing, vile, brutal, and ultimately criminal, the act of rape is. The Night Swim further reinforced and gave limelight to why many victims, such as myself, remain silent rather than seek justice.

In the book, Goldin speaks fluidly of the palpable stigma that victims of rape face. She teasingly pulls you in with small methodical yet rhythmic waves of progression; then before you know it - BAM! You find yourself swept under the rapids and drowning in the tsunami that makes The Night Swim 5 stars.
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