Hi everyone! So I recently finished reading this hard-hitting mystery/thriller, and it was quite an adventure. I didn’t really know what the book was about when I ordered it (I thought it was about a murder, but there’s a lot more to it than that). Had I been more aware of the subject matter, I probably would have skipped this one, so if you’re interested in this make sure to check the trigger warning below before you start it:
Trigger warning: This is a book about two rapes set 20 years apart. It’s not necessarily graphic, but it is pretty realistic and the trial that takes place is quite accurate to what such a trial would be in real life. Take care of your mental health and skip this thriller if you think it will be too difficult for you.
Rachel Krall is the podcast host of Guilty or Not Guilty–the famous investigative true crime series that for two seasons has been solving mysteries that not even the experts could figure out. For her newest season, Rachel chooses a topic that is a little more controversial than murder. She travels to the town Neapolis to cover a rape trial. Olympic hopeful, Scott Blair, is accused of raping a 16-year-old local girl named Kelly Moore. The small town is tearing itself apart as some people defend Scott and others believe Kelly.
As Rachel does her best to cover the trial, she starts to receive letters from a fan named Hannah, who claims that her sister, Jenny Stills, was raped and murdered in that same town 20 years before. Moved by Hannah’s pleas to help solve the mystery of her sister’s death, Rachel begins to investigate both incidents, drawing attention from all the wrong places.
This novel is a highly realistic take on how society in America deals with cases of rape accusations. It’s not true crime, but it definitely draws inspiration from real life cases (the Brock Turner case comes to mind). The novel unashamedly points out the things we see in real cases such as Kelly’s–the victim shaming, the treatment of the accused, etc–and I appreciated that the author really tried to give us an unbiased look at the facts by making Rachel as unbiased as she could be given her situation.
Also, it had an awesome twist that really cemented the overall theme of the novel.
That said, it was pretty hard to read Kelly’s testimony when she was on trial. I think the author held her punches as best as she could, but it’s a highly realistic novel and rape is something that happens in real life.
If you are able to handle the subject matter, I strongly recommend this novel as it will make you think and you won’t feel judged for what you think.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.