THE NIGHT SWIM by Megan Goldin


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


In The Night Swim, a new thriller from Megan Goldin, author of the “gripping and unforgettable” (Harlen Coben) The Escape Room, a true crime podcast host covering a controversial trial finds herself drawn deep into a small town’s dark past and a brutal crime that took place there years before.

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name ― and the last hope for 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 new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation ― but the mysterious letters keep coming. 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 insist she was murdered ― and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases ― and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?


Wow, this was a tough book to read, yet it was very well written. The author’s previous novel, THE ESCAPE ROOM, was an fun, entertaining thriller, while THE NIGHT SWIM was a different type of novel altogether. It’s a slow-burn dark mystery that tackles some very heavy, timely subject matter ― rape & rape culture.

True-crime podcaster Rachel Krall has come to Neapolis to cover the trial of a young man accused of rape. When someone starts leaving notes asking for her help, Rachel discovers that the drowning death of a local teenager 25 years earlier may be tied to the current case so many disturbing secrets buried in this small town.

The story is told through podcast transcripts, mysterious letters, and Rachel’s POV as she investigates the crimes of the present and the past. Rachel was a brave, clever, and determined character, and I liked hearing her take on the trial through the podcast.

NIGHT SWIM is more of a fictionalized true-crime story rather than a thriller. Given the nature of the book’s subject matter, I can say that I appreciated it rather than enjoyed. Poignant & thought-provoking. I’m very curious to see where Megan Goldin takes readers next.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.


THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is a creepy and atmospheric domestic thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. When Libby turns 25, she inherits a grand home left to her by her deceased parents, whom she did not know the identity of until now. Libby is about to learn the dark and disturbing history of the family’s house as well.

Twenty-five years earlier, three individuals died mysteriously within its walls, and the children living there disappeared. The timeline moves back and forth between past and present as three characters tell the story of 16 Cheyne Walk. Yet, how are they connected? It wasn’t easy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, but fun to try. Such a web of dark secrets.

Lisa Jewell has written another fantastic thriller that grabs you with complex characters and chilling suspense. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately 📚

“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” — Jeanette Walls

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📗 HOME BEFORE DARK by Riley Sager (★★★★½) | Very creepy!! I had to leave a light on to sleep for a few nights. This would be a perfect October horror thriller.

📘 SNOWFLAKES by Ruth Ware (★★★★) | The title caught my attention. I wondered if this quick 26-page short story was somehow connected to her upcoming book ONE BY ONE, but it definitely is not. It’s really not like anything I’ve read of hers before, but heck, I really liked it. Honestly while reading it, the tone gave me a Shirley Jackson vibe. Ruth Ware packed a lot into just a few pages. The subject matter is sad and distressing, yet a couple of lines put a smirky smile on my face.

🎧 TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH (★★★★★) | Many of my why and how questions were answered from an insider’s and psychologist’s perspective. Listened on audiobook & enjoyed the author’s narration of her memoir.

SHADOW GARDEN by Alexandra Burt


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★


A wealthy woman suspects something is off about the luxurious complex she lives in…and she is right, in this riveting domestic-suspense novel from international bestselling author Alexandra Burt.

Donna Pryor lives in the lap of luxury. She spends her days in a beautifully appointed condo. Her every whim is catered to by a dedicated staff, and she does not want for anything.

Except for news of her adult daughter.

Or an ex-husband who takes her calls.

Donna knows something is wrong, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. As her life of privilege starts to feel more and more like a prison, the facade she has depended on begins to crumble. Somewhere in the ruins is the truth, and the closer Donna Pryor gets to it, the more likely it is to destroy her.


This dark dysfunctional family drama centers around mother Donna living at an opulent place called Shadow Garden. Her husband Edward ignores her, and she wishes her daughter Penelope would call. Something is off, but Donna can’t figure out what.

Though I was intrigued by the blurb, I had a hard time staying interested in the story. I found it too wordy, and the characters were flat and unlikable. A lot of abrupt timeline changes made the book hard to follow. In the end, I felt like I missed the reasoning behind the characters’ behaviors. I suspected what was going from the beginning, and unfortunately there were no big twists that surprised me.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

MIGRATIONS by Charlotte McConaghy


Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★¾


For fans of Flight Behavior and Station Eleven, a novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world’s last birds―and her own final chance for redemption.

Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and track their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds will lead them to fish.

As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s dark history begins to unspool. Battered by night terrors, accumulating a pile of unsent letters, and obsessed with pursuing the terns at any cost, Franny is full of secrets. When her quest threatens the safety of the entire crew, Franny must ask herself what she is really running toward―and running from.

Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is both an ode to our threatened world and a breathtaking page-turner about the lengths we will go for the people we love.


MIGRATIONS is set in the near-future, when climate change, habitat destruction, and unsustainable practices have wiped out most of the wild species on earth. Franny Stone’s mission is to track the final migration of the last Arctic terns from Greenland to Antarctica. Franny convinces the captain of the fishing boat Saghani to let her sail along with them and follow the birds, convincing him that the terns with lead them to fish, a rarity.

Franny is chasing the birds, but clearly she’s chasing or running away from something else. Unfortunately, I just did not like Franny and had a hard time sympathizing with her. Maybe it’s because it took so long for her secrets to be revealed? I got tired of the back and forth to numerous times in her past. Overall her character came across as flat. I found her husband and the crew of the fishing boat more interesting.

I enjoyed the author’s beautiful prose, and her world-building was convincing. The world she has created is terrifying, and it could easily be a reality if we let our current environmental practices continue. I’m going with 2.75 stars for MIGRATIONS. It’s a haunting, cautionary tale, for certain. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, though I’ve read many stellar reviews from others. Please read and decide for yourself.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.