After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
Yes I know, were at it again. Susan has been after me reading a psychological thriller with her for a while and I am SO glad that I picked this book. I think we wholeheartedly agree on how much we love and enjoyed this one, and she’s already lined up our next one for September. Time zones etc etc… I will link Susan’s review once its live.
“This year we mark a milestone. Twenty-five years since Jenny died. A Quarter of a century and nothing has changed. Her death is as raw as it was the day we buried her. The only difference is that I wont be silent anymore.”
Rachel Krall is looking for a way to keep her podcast ‘Guilty or not Guilty’ fresh and she decides that there is no better way than to cover a current trial from start to finish, and not just any trial but that of a 16 year old girl accusing the town golden boy of rape. Rachel knows this will split opinion and, hopefully, boost her ratings. But on her way she find a mysterious letter on her car from someone called Hannah. Hannah is asking Rachel for help looking into the case of her sister Jenny 25 years ago. The Police claimed Jenny had accidently drowned but Hannah knows different. Rachel is initially worried that someone has recognised her face, the face she tries to keep out of the media, but once more letters start arriving she knows she has to at least try and give Hannah some closure. What Rachel doesn’t realise is the past and the present may be more connected than she thought, what exactly happened to Jenny that night and how could it possibly try to the rape of a girl 25 years later.
This book hits hard. It doesn’t shy away from the realities of rape (TW as it is discussed in detail) and the author manages to give us insight into some truly poignant topics; where people place the blame when it comes to rape, the grey area when it comes to false rape claims and the lengths people, in this book the police, will go to to cover up something they don’t want found. As well as the rape itself, Goldin dives into what happens to the victim after, she gives us a dark look into how rape victims are treated, what happens during a rape exam (i’m honestly disgusted) and how the exam, and having to relive the rape in detail in a court of law can seen as being victimised twice.
I found myself getting angry at parts of this book, we hear it all the time in the media; ‘well she shouldn’t have been wearing that.’ ‘What did she expect walking at dark by herself?’ ‘She was the town bike, what did she expect.’ And though these are the perspectives of some characters in the book, I feel the author deals with it brilliantly, we as the reader get invested in the outcome of both cases, we know something terrible happened and we, as well as Rachel wont rest until we get justice. As the reader I was left feeling exposed, in a way, throughout this book, I think because things like this happen in real life, and my reading has been more on the fantasy side recently. Realistic in the treatment of rape victims both now and in the past, when I say she hits hard I mean it. Both Susan and I were shocked at how deep she went into the trauma surrounding rape and the after effects it carries.
We get insight into both cases through three differing perspectives: Rachel gives us perspectives on both cases through her investigations into the events. We see her talking with people involved with both and the author gives us little crumbs of information of how they might be linked along the way. Her podcast ‘guilty or not guilty’ solely deals with Kelly’s case (the present case) mainly giving us updates on the court proceedings, as well as asking the audience and through that the reader some hard hitting questions about who to believe, false accusations etc. The third format we receive information through are Hannah’s letters. She writes to Rachel giving us insights to their lives at the time, her mothers illness and their inability to pay the bills. We also get information about the events leading up to the night that Jenny dies, including the night of, and the author paints a pretty bleak picture. Bringing all three of these formats together gave us as the reader a whole new perspective. Hannah hints that the person who killed her sister would still be in town, and potentially at the trail and we spend a good & of the book trying to work out who is who. I would say this is more detective style than traditional psychological thriller. The author definitely keeps the reader guessing, but leaves just enough hints through out that you can give it a good shot.
My one sticking point would be the ending was a little rushed and almost anti-climactic. Both Susan and I had guessed parts of it thanks to the bread crumbs left by the author, but I felt certain characters got an easy out and others weren’t given the page time they truly deserved. Overall this was a fantastic read and one that has renewed my love for the genre.