Thursday, November 19, 2020

Goldin's Newest Another Ho-Hum Psychological "Thriller"

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since Rachel Krall's true crime podcast went viral, she's been searching for ever more interesting content to keep her listeners engaged.  Now, she's on her way to Neapolis, North Carolina, where a headline-grabbing trial is about to begin.  The town golden boy, 16-year-old Scott Blair, is accused of raping Kelly Moore, the teenaged granddaughter of Neapolis' beloved police chief.  Everyone has an opinion about the alleged crime, an event so shocking that it's tearing the town apart.

Rachel hasn't even arrived in Neapolis before she finds a note on her car pleading for her help.  Hannah Stills is begging the podcaster to look into her sister's suspicious death 25 years ago.  Although Jenny Stills' death was officially ruled an accidental drowning, Hannah knows the truth: Jenny was murdered.  Rachel is Hannah's last hope for finding the truth.  Intrigued, Rachel agrees to take the case.  She will find out what really happened to Jenny Stills, even if it means putting herself in the path of a killer whose identity has been kept secret for more than two decades.

On its surface, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin looks like the kind of thriller I go ga-ga over.  Small-town secrets?  Check.  Moody, broody beach setting?  Check.  Intriguing mystery?  Check, check.  These elements were not only what drew me to the book, but they were also the things that kept me reading it.  I certainly wasn't in it for the characters.  The Night Swim's cast features story people who are mostly unlikable, Rachel included.  There's nothing repellant about our heroine (except that she exploits other people's tragedies for ratings), but there's nothing super laudable either.  Perhaps this is because we don't really get to know Rachel well.  Goldin includes little information about the podcaster's past or why she's so interested in true crime, which made me wonder why she was in the novel at all.  Hannah would have made a much better narrator for this story.  Add choppy prose and a predictable plotline to these complaints and you can see why The Night Swim was just an average read for me.  I kept reading because I wanted to know how both mysteries would play out, but in the end, I just didn't end up loving The Night Swim like I thought it would.  Or really at all.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of dozens of other thrillers, although no particular title is coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (1 F-bomb, plus milder expletives), violence, disturbing subject matter, and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Night Swim with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

2 comments:

  1. Another one I think I'll pass on. Life is too short for just ho-hum. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh no! I liked this one and thought you would, too. Bummer that it didn't work for you.

    ReplyDelete

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