I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I heard about it. I listened to the “Anatomy of Doubt” episode of This American Life back when it first aired, and I was gobsmacked by the story. I fully meant to read it a long time ago, and then again when I realized the new Netflix show Unbelievable was based on it, but I have poor impulse control and ended up watching the show first. (It was really, really good.) The story kind of consumed me the weekend it was released. I watched the first episode in the morning, and then the rest of it all in one sitting. I was immediately left wanting more, so I reserved this book from the library and pounced on it almost as soon as it came in.
The events themselves make for a story that’s impossible not to make compelling, but Miller and Armstrong make it more so by combining clear, concise reporting with a dual-storytelling approach: First the story of eighteen year old Marie in 2008, how poorly she was treated (she was interrogated! like a criminal!) and how nobody believed she was raped and her life fell apart; then that of the cops in Colorado who investigated the case of a serial rapist who was very smart about not leaving evidence, and how they finally tracked him down, exonerating Marie in the process. It combines a heartbreaking story of someone who is trying to recover from terrible trauma, with an extremely satisfying police investigation of a very smart criminal.
I highly recommend this book, and the TV show, and the TAL episode. I haven’t read the original 12,000 word article published by The Marshall Project and ProPublica, but this book’s bones are based on it, so if you’d like an idea of what to expect here, that would be a good first start.