Title: The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Story Perspective: Alternating First-Person
Themes: Rape, Truth, Persistence, Closure, Loss, Honesty
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Thank you to the NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of The Night Swim.
Rachel hosts a podcast and it’s in its third season. Ready to begin witnessing the trial of Scott Blair who has been accused of raping a teenage girl, Rachel receives a letter that changes her path. A woman named Hannah begins to leave letters and notes for Rachel explaining how the death of her sister, Julie, was a homicide and not an accidental drowning incident.
Now balancing the current case of Scott Blair and opening up an old case, the two begin to merge. It’s up to Rachel to see the connection and find the truth of what happened to Hannah’s sister.
NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press have recently given me the opportunity to read The Night Swim. In general, this was a book that I could see being somewhat disturbing and triggering for some.
Starting with the plot, there were definite moments of excitement and my attention was captured the entire length of the book. Between reading Rachel’s podcast chapters, letters from Hannah, and Rachel living through the trial and solving Hannah’s old case, it’s almost impossible to not want to keep reading more. The only real issue was the gruesomeness of some of the raping scenes. Though the author doesn’t explicitly explain every act of the rape scenes, there were moments that I could easily fill in the blanks and it left me pretty disturbed. I feel a person who’ve had this horrific/traumatizing experience would want to stay clear from this read because I can see it be being triggering. There’s nothing wrong with what the author did, but it was just very unpleasant to read.
On the other hand, the need to know what truly happened to Hannah’s sister years ago and the conclusion of the Scott Blair trial did keep my attention. I kept trying to guess how the two cases connected. I will admit, though I had many theories, the ending result wasn’t what I thought. Having an unsuspecting outcome was a nice way to bring the two cases together.
When looking at the characters, I felt there was only one who truly showed growth and whose background was built the most. That would be Hannah due to the nature of the letters she shares with Rachel. We learn about the days leading up to the night of the death of her sister, and even the thoughts and feelings she expressed during the present storyline. Learning how the two cases connect did bring some light into some present-day characters. However, these characters weren’t necessarily the main ones. Rachel was the one telling most of the story, but we don’t really get to know her very well and I found it a bit challenging to connect with her. She was more of an outsider looking in and the one to navigate both Hannah’s sister’s case and the Scott Blair trial. Due to the focusing on the two cases, perhaps it wasn’t necessary to learn more about Rachel, but it was something that I noticed.
Overall, The Night Swim was definitely a quick and fairly captivating read, but it was one that lacked much character development.
I would recommend this read to those who enjoy reading an unsolved case where one person is trying to solve it. Also, I would recommend this to those who aren’t triggered with rape scenes.