Reviews for The night swim (Book)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A podcast investigator covering her first present-tense criminal trial is thrown for a loop by a radical new development in a much older case. Now that she has two successful seasons of Guilty or Not Guilty under her belt, Rachel Krall is ready to turn from reopening old cases to following one as it unfolds in real time. Champion swimmer Scott Blair is about to be tried for the rape and sexual battery of Kelly Moore, who attends the high school he graduated from the year before. Prosecutor Mitchell Alkins and rock-star defense attorney Dale Quinn agree that the two teenagers had sex on the night in question, but they don’t agree whether it was consensual. So Rachel’s come to Neapolis, North Carolina, to attend the trial, prepare daily summaries of every twist and turn, and assure her listeners that every broadcast “puts you in the jury box.” As the trial proceeds through an unsparing barrage of she-said, he-said testimony, Rachel finds the objectivity she’s promised her listeners increasingly compromised by her growing sympathy for Kelly. A far more serious complication begins even before the trial with a furtive series of notes from Hannah Stills, whose older sister, Jenny, was raped, beaten, and drowned back in 1992. Certain that her sister’s assailant, who’s never been punished or identified, will be present in the courtroom, Hannah writes that she’s finally ready to reopen her own painful past and reveal knowledge about her sister’s last night that she’s never shared with anyone else. But though Hannah begs for Rachel’s help, she fails to show up at every meeting she proposes, leaving Rachel to wonder whether she’s really a will-of-the-wisp—and incidentally, what these two assaults a generation apart could possibly have to do with each other. Not as intense as Goldin’s blistering debut, The Escape Room (2018), but a remarkably strong contender for second place. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.