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All booksThrillerThe Night Swim
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

The Night Swim

by Megan Goldin

Quick take

A thriller for those who eat, sleep, and breathe true crime: A podcaster cracks open a small-town cold case.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LegalThriller

    Legal thriller

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SuburbanDrama

    Suburban drama

Why I love it

Sarah Pekkanen
Author, You Are Not Alone

I spend far too much time on screens, so when I was emailed an electronic copy of The Night Swim, I requested a paper copy to read instead. But by the time the novel landed in my mailbox—just a couple of days later—I'd already devoured the entire book, reading late into the night on my laptop.

The book is that good. No, it's that great.

The Night Swim weaves together the stories of two vicious crimes against young women: one woman who is accusing a star athlete of rape, and one woman whose bruised body was pulled from the ocean 20 years ago. Rachel Krall, host of the popular true crime podcast “Guilty or Not Guilty,” heads to the small town of Neapolis to cover the rape trial. But when she begins receiving letters from Hannah, the sister of the supposedly drowned girl, Rachel finds herself pulled into that old, unsolved mystery. As the dual narratives unspool, twisting like a double helix, they intersect in ingenious ways.

A blistering plot and crisp writing make The Night Swim an unputdownable read. But even more than that, it's the unflinching look at what sexual assault does to a young woman that makes this a vitally important book.

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Night Swim.

Member thoughts

All (33581)
All (33581)
Love (19583)
Like (12941)
Dislike (1057)
33852 ratings
  • 58% Love
  • 38% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Medford , OR

    The author did a great job at switching the narrative between Rachel, Hannah & the podcast all while connecting two rape cases with more than 25 years between them. Heavy read but so good. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Louisville, KY

    ???????????????? ???? ????????????????????: -How two seemingly separate plots diverged into one. -Getting chapters that were solely the podcast episode - it helped move the plot along in an interesting way -Great twist!

  • Birmingham, AL

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 An amaizng but difficult read. The way the story looks at rape, rape culture & victim blaming was masterful. I listened to the audiobook & it was fantastic. The podcast element was great!

  • Cedar Grove, WI

    I really enjoyed this book, though I was able to see a lot of the twists coming. I found the changing views very pleasing to read and thought the author did well portraying rape culture.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Westminster, CO

    Great mystery and read like a real life thriller. If you like podcasts like Serial you should really enjoy this read. It has twists and turns and keeps you guessing ‘whodunnit’ to the very end. 5 ⭐️’s

  • Phoenix, AZ

    I don’t know if I would use to word “love” for this book. It was heavy and dark and distressing… but written in a new format I found intriguing! And the book itself I couldn’t put down despite holes

  • Trafalgar , IN

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5. I loved this podcast centered book. Listening to the audiobook made it even more enjoyable! It didn’t have the “wow-factor” for a 5 star rating, but it was definitely close!


    This book was definitely hard for me to stomach at times, but it was such an amazing read. It broke my heart and crushed my spirit but I also was sad when I finished it because I really loved the characters

  • Copperopolis , CA

    I LOVED THIS CAPTIVATING STORY. The writing was so good and couldn’t put this book down. I definitely don’t think I would read this again because the suspense wouldn’t feel the same.Overall 4.5 rating

  • Norman, OK

    I read the main character in Phoebe Judge’s voice—this was a good book about small town corruption and how men hold power. It had elements pulled from multiple headlines—we have so many to choose from

  • Swanton , VT

    This book wrecked me. It’s hard to say I “loved it” because it was so hard to read at points, but I had it keep reading to see how everything wrapped up. If you are a woman, or parent to a daughter TW

  • Moore, OK

    As a lover of legal thrillers&a podcast junky, this was ????❤????. Perhaps unrealistic at times with a couple of plot holes, but absolutely a page turner with deep insight of rape culture&victim blaming.

  • Katy , TX

    Hard to read but I can’t stop thinking about this line, “...I don’t get how we can almost unanimously agree murder is wrong, yet when it comes to rape some people still still see shades of gray.”

  • Maynardville, TN

    I loved how the author told the story from Rachel’s POV, the podcast, & Hannah’s recount of the summer she was 10. The author really hit it with how women are treated when they are raped. Heavier read

  • Sterling Heights , MI

    Fabulous read - couldn’t put it down. Had a nice twist that I didn’t see coming which is refreshing. Highly recommend and have passed along to a number of co-workers who have all enjoyed it as well.

  • Ashkum, IL

    Very triggering with regards to rape and sexual assault; however it is a great book. I love crime and police stories. Hard to read great fiction though and realize “this reallyhappens to women daily.”

  • Quincy, MA

    This one could have been a disaster, trying to weave two crimes—25 years apart—within a true crime podcast, but it works. This was a taut thriller with a satisfying ending, but definitely a heavy read

  • Overland Park, KS

    This is top 3 that I’ve read this year and it might be #1. I’d write more but I forgot how hard it is to text without autocorrect and for some reason theres no autocorrect. Read this & thank me later.

  • Nashville, TN

    I LOVE true crime podcasts and legal thrillers, so this one was right up my alley. I couldn’t put it down once I got 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through. It also outlines injustices regarding sexual assault

  • Newark, NY

    This was hard hitting and powerful. The beginning was a little slow, but when it picked up it was amazing. Justice was served! Two rape cases were tied together by ways I didn’t see coming. Well done!

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