The complex account of a young rape victim and the investigators who fought for her justice.
Veteran investigative journalists Miller and Armstrong join forces in an expansion of a ProPublica article that won them both the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. This is the story of a suspected rape of a Seattle teenager named Marie. The victim’s testimony of her violent sexual abuse at knifepoint became sullied with uncertainty as different renditions sprung forth about the night in question. Her shocking, tearful retraction of the entire event sealed her fate in the eyes of police until dogged detective Stacy Galbraith compared Marie’s cold case file with other rapes. Coinciding details and suspicions were shared with veteran detective Edna Hendershot, and Marie’s case was reopened. These developments also reclassified the perpetrator as a serial rapist responsible for multiple attacks and a penchant for blackmailing his victims with compromising photographs. Months of diligent, collaborative detective work drives the story, a chilling true-crime documentary and a report on how cops investigate sex crimes, the varying approaches on interrogation techniques, and the ultimate apprehension of violent criminals. Though the authors skip back and forth, they gradually build out the personal histories of Marie and her life as a foster child, Galbraith and Hendershot’s law enforcement career paths, some startling statistics on rape victims, and why the broad skepticism and credibility issues encompassing accusers remain a problem. Amplifying the story is the dismaying biography of the rapist, a deranged military man with a twisted obsession with the humiliation, degradation, and enslavement of women. Throughout the book, the authors display meticulous investigative reporting skills, using documents, case files, and interviews with victims and witnesses. Their urgent account delivers absolute vindication in a serpentine crime investigation that initially betrayed its victim.
A riveting and disturbing true-crime story that reflects the enduring atrocity of rape in America.