The Other Girl
Macmillan St. Martin’s (US: 22nd August 2017); Hachette Little, Brown Sphere (UK: 26th October 2017; AU: 31st October)
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Miranda Rader knows a revenge-killing when she sees one. Yet her colleagues and higher-ups in the police force claim she’s not objective, and that she’s leading witnesses. These men don’t want to believe that a murder victim may have been sexually and psychologically abusive while he was alive.
The deceased’s father protects his son’s reputation in a way that brings to mind the Brock Turner case – wherein if a male commits sexual violence, his future shouldn’t be “ruined” because of “ten minutes of action”. Way to perpetuate rape culture, you terrible parent.
The Other Girl rings true on so many levels: Women not being believed. Men more interested in defending a man’s reputation than supporting his victims. The gaslighting. And women being punished – via employment loss and/or psychological anguish – because they know the truth and speak of it.
It reminds me so much of those conservatives on Twitter shouting about “due process”, because they believe false accusations of rape are more damaging than actually being raped. “Due process” gives the accused the benefit of the doubt, instead of the accuser. This cruel environment supports rapists (or suspected rapists) instead of the raped. They’d rather perps go unpunished than have one false accusation lead to a conviction.
And it’s impossible to ignore the racism that gets innocent black people killed by police or imprisoned, while white rapists walk free to commit their crimes again. (Though race isn’t discussed in the novel, because I think all the characters are white.)
In fewer than 300 pages, Erica Spindler has crafted a timeless thriller packed with hurtful truths. Sometimes no one will believe or help you. But there’s also hope that maybe there’ll be a person like Miranda Rader who won’t give up on you, and will keep fighting for justice.
P.S. Two unrelated characters named Cathy and Catherine confused me. One of them should’ve had a different name.