Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today we will be discussing a true crime thriller called The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – without giving any spoilers away, of course. It took me a while to get started on reading this book because these past few weeks have been super busy for yours truly. However, once I finally cracked it open I devoured it in less than one week and it was excellent. In fact, it has easily been one of the best books that I’ve read in a good long while.
Before proceeding with the review of The Night Swim, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book as the true crime aspects include rape and murder. Here we go:
Rachel Krall is the creator of the hugely popular true crime podcast called Guilty or Not Guilty. Love her or hate her, she is a household name who reached overnight celebrity status when she uncovered new information that lead to a man falsely convicted of murder to get out of jail in one of her seasons. Between investigating, writing, and recording for her podcast, Rachel is an extremely busy woman and is in crunch mode because the highly anticipated third season of Guilty or Not Guilty is about to begin.
While previous seasons of her podcast reviewed crimes and trials that had already happened, season three will be completely different as Rachel will be reporting in real time at the trial of Scott Blair – a teenage swimming champion accused of rape. Rachel travels to the sleepy, small town called Neapolis in coastal North Carolina, which is already incredibly divided about the case before the trial has even began.
Before reaching town, Rachel stops at a roadside diner for some caffeine and returns to her car to find a letter tucked under her windshield. Despite Rachel’s celebrity status, she has maintained anonymity and her fans don’t know what she looks like, making this delivery alarming. Even more shocking, however, are the contents of the letter from a fan named Hannah who grew up in Neapolis.
Hannah explains that she believes her older sister, Jenny, was murdered twenty-five years ago and wants Rachel’s help to uncover the truth. As previously mentioned, Rachel is a busy woman and her time in Neapolis is spent between investigating a current rape trial and a cold case from a quarter of a century ago. Will her skill and instinct lead her to new information to give closure to Hannah? What will be the outcome of season three of Guilty or Not Guilty? Read The Night Swim to find out!
Despite downright disturbing subject matter, The Night Swim was a captivating read and it really felt like I was investigating the cases right along with Rachel. The book went back and forth each chapter between Rachel’s detective work, letters from Hannah, transcripts from her podcast, and a play by play of the rape trial. It made The Night Swim completely unputdownable because it felt like I was Rachel’s partner and I was urgent for more information to try and solve the cases. While I didn’t get the grand reveal right, I was damn close and was pleased with how much I was able to piece together.
What I enjoyed the most about The Night Swim was how seamlessly it weaved together the past and present cases that Rachel was investigating. In Neapolis, everyone knows everyone and having information from twenty-five years past about current characters provided insight that you rarely get in psychological thrillers. And, of course, Rachel was an amazing heroine who you will find yourself rooting for the entire book.
If the subject matter of The Night Swim isn’t triggering for you, then I cannot recommend this book enough. To further confirm this, I will be awarding it with the prestigious ten out of ten star rating. I have never read a book like this before and I honestly wouldn’t mind reading it again. Megan Goldin is definitely an author to look out for!
What are you reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah