Book Review: The Night Swim

THE NIGHT SWIM | Megan Goldin
08.04.2020 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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Rachel Krall is the host of a popular true crime podcast. For season three she has chosen to cover a live trial, which brings her to the town of Neapolis. This small town is at odds over a devastating rape case. The town’s golden boy with Olympic swimming potential has been accused of raping a high school student. Rachel has committed herself to not only providing daily trial updates, but also interviewing and investigating persons and facts surrounding the case. What she doesn’t expect to find are mysterious letters about a young girl who died decades earlier left on her car. It seems someone else needs Rachel’s help. With two cases at hand, Rachel finds herself on the hunt for answers that may just entwine the two cases together.

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When I first heard the premise for THE NIGHT SWIM I knew it was calling my name. Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with crime fiction and true crime, so a book that combines elements of both is pretty much ideal. What I found was not only a fantastic read, but a book that also had me on the edge of my seat and the hunt for clues of my own, while providing an intense emotional response.

THE NIGHT SWIM is broken down into three narrators, allowing the reader to hear from Rachel, listen to her podcast, and also learn the story of Hannah, our mystery woman who has reached out to Rachel for help. While Hannah’s sections and the podcast excerpts work to build individual storylines, it is Rachel’s narrative that binds the two together. The reader has the opportunity to have a bird’s eye view into the past and the present with Hannah and the podcast, while working to investigate both crimes alongside Rachel. I love this breakdown and felt that Goldin wisely kept the focus heavily on Rachel’s sections to drive the story forward.

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The pacing of THE NIGHT SWIM is certainly a bit on the slower side, but I felt that it worked with the plot. This book centers heavily on the topics of rape and sexual assault and the pacing aids Goldin’s choice not to briskly skirt these issues, but highlight how important they are in society. I truly appreciate Goldin’s focus on how society, specifically in America, puts the onus of a rape conviction on the victim. It is up to the person who has already gone through an impense level of trauma to then relive it all over again on the stand. 

THE NIGHT SWIM is an emotional and gritty look into rape and how society often shames victims. It is a work of crime fiction that is timely and important for readers to consume and understand the emotions associated with this heinous crime. It is high time that as a society we stop shaming rape victims and it’s books like THE NIGHT SWIM that have the ability to shine that light. While this book has all the great elements of crime fiction I know and love, the emotional response that it drew from me was unlike most books in this genre. I highly recommend placing this book on your TBR!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my gifted copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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