Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Megan Goldin for the complimentary advance readers’ edition of THE NIGHT SWIM for an honest review.
Publication Date: 8/4/2020
Rating: 4.5 / 5
I really enjoyed Megan Goldin’s THE ESCAPE ROOM last year, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of her newest book! THE NIGHT SWIM follows investigative reporter Rachel as she embarks on a new season of her hit podcast Guilty or Not Guilty. This season she is following a case as it unfolds in court. At the defense table is the sea town’s golden boy swimmer and Olympic hopeful Scott Blair, accused of raping a teen girl.
As Rachel comes into town she begins to receive letters from someone named Hannah, a woman who is reaching out for help in solving the death of her sister Jenny twenty five years ago in the same town. Though the common belief is that Jenny drowned in a tragic accident, Hannah’s letters and Rachel’s own investigation begin to tell a different tale.
I thought that THE NIGHT SWIM was fantastic! I will caution you that it is a slow burn, but that burn is really well done! The book is laid out with three different components. From Rachel’s perspective we get to see her observations of the town and the different players in the rape trial as she interviews them. Interspersed with that, we get chapters of Hannah’s letters explaining Jenny’s story. Due to Hannah’s struggle with her own memories and the traumatic loss of her older sister, she is only doling out portions of the story to Rachel at a time. Both of these perspectives have their own mysteries to uncover as the book goes on.
The third perspective get also comes from Rachel, but it is written as her podcast narrative. For each of her episodes, we get her thoughts on why she chose this case for her season and her thoughts about how the trial is unfolding. These chapters were especially powerful as there is a strong message coming through about the trauma inflicted on women. This trauma doesn’t end when the rape is over, but it continues through evidence collection and rehashing every moment over and over again. Though this is of course a fictional account, I think this is a much needed discourse!
This is not always an easy read and there is for sure a strong trigger warning when it comes to rape and sexual assault, but it was a very powerful read in a way I did not expect and I highly recommend you check out THE NIGHT SWIM when it is released 8/4/2020!