A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America

A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists tell the riveting true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the detectives who followed a winding path to arrive at the truth. On August 11, 2008, eighteen-year-old Marie truthfully reported that a masked man broke into her apartment near Seattle, Washington, and raped her, but within days...

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Title:A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America
Author:T. Christian Miller
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A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America Reviews

  • Jamie

    I'm giving a lot of books 5 stars this week, but when you're good, you're good. This expansion of a magazine piece (and I love a good magazine article) is a gripping, maddening true crime story. In 2008 in Washington, a young woman was raped. Within a week police pressures and doubt made her recant her story. Several years later, women in Colorado were raped in cases that had deep similarities to one another - as well as to the case up in Washington that was closed as "unfounded." I ripped throu

    I'm giving a lot of books 5 stars this week, but when you're good, you're good. This expansion of a magazine piece (and I love a good magazine article) is a gripping, maddening true crime story. In 2008 in Washington, a young woman was raped. Within a week police pressures and doubt made her recant her story. Several years later, women in Colorado were raped in cases that had deep similarities to one another - as well as to the case up in Washington that was closed as "unfounded." I ripped through this book in horror and in awe of the detective work that led to the eventual arrest of the rapist. This is reporting at the top of its game. It's also, sad to say, a crime story in which the worst offense is the systemic doubt that follows many women after they report an assault, instead of the empathy and compassion the situation requires.

  • Andrienne

    I didn’t realize that I had already seen a 48 Hours episode that featured the topic of this book called, “Hunted.” The writing is meticulous and there were so many names of people involved to remember, but it sheds a light on how reporting and investigating a rape is difficult. The worst thing that can happen is when police investigators dismiss a rape claim and the victim becomes a nuisance.

    Review copy provided by the publisher.

  • Valerity *

    This is about a young woman's report of being raped that gets all twisted up. Written by 2 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, the book follows the story of eighteen-year-old Marie. She is made to question herself because of doubters, so she recants, then tries to stand by her report, but police shake her confidence so badly she caves when she's actually telling the truth. She has been made to feel like she's not going to be believed by her rapist, preprogrammed before she ever came forward. Sad

    This is about a young woman's report of being raped that gets all twisted up. Written by 2 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, the book follows the story of eighteen-year-old Marie. She is made to question herself because of doubters, so she recants, then tries to stand by her report, but police shake her confidence so badly she caves when she's actually telling the truth. She has been made to feel like she's not going to be believed by her rapist, preprogrammed before she ever came forward. Sad really, when someone who's been marginalized from birth can't get a square deal when she really needs to be heard and believed at an important crossroads in her life. People all around her fail her. What happened to Marie was bad enough. Even worse, the rapist goes free to move on to other areas and continue raping.

    An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley, author T. Cristian Miller, and Random House for my review.

    The date of publication is Feb. 6, 2018

  • Tziggy

    Very well written about true events leading up to the conviction of a serial rapist. If you like dateline, forensic files, etc., you should enjoy this book.

  • Emily May

    In 2008, a young woman known as Marie reported being raped. Within just a few days, the investigation became an interrogation of Marie herself, as the police, her family, and her friends all began to doubt her story.

    In 2008, a young woman known as Marie reported being raped. Within just a few days, the investigation became an interrogation of Marie herself, as the police, her family, and her friends all began to doubt her story. Convinced she would never be believed, Marie told the police she had lied and made it up. She was then charged with false reporting.

    More than two years later, Marie's rapist - a serial predator - was found and convicted.

    I cannot even begin to imagine the horrific situation Marie found herself in. Not only was she a victim of one of the most horrendous crimes that can happen to a person, but everyone she should have been able to turn to and trust didn't believe her. This should be the kind of isolated case that hardly ever happens, but it unfortunately highlights a much bigger trend in how rape cases are handled. It is a crime quite unlike any other in that the victim becomes as much a suspect as the perpetrator.

    The first two thirds (approximately) of this book focuses on the solving of the crimes in question. The authors write with a very engaging style, making this piece of non-fiction read like a novel that pulls us in and doesn't let go. The chapters alternate between what happened to Marie, a psychological history of the rapist, and two years later when another investigation leads police to tie newer crimes back to what happened to Marie in 2008.

    Then we come to the final third of the book and the authors shift gears, now exploring the history behind the psychology of rape investigations, such as the seventeenth-century “Hale warning”, which instructs jurors to always be wary of the false accusation. It was extremely interesting and saddening to see just how long the history is of male lawmakers fearing and cautioning against the “scorned woman” who contrives “false charges of sexual offences by men”.

    This section contains lots of information about how this attitude has grown and developed over the centuries, such as Thomas Jefferson writing a letter to James Madison, who would author the bill of rights, opposing harsh punishment for rape because women often cry rape as an “instrument of vengeance”. Even in the twentieth century, John Henry Wigmore wrote:

    I am so glad the authors of this book are bringing attention to both Marie's case and the appalling history behind the poor treatment of rape victims. Made-up statistics about false reporting will still fly around, of course, but hopefully this book will encourage people to question them.

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  • ♥ Sandi ❣

    4 stars Thanks to Crown Publishing and First to Read for this ARC, which publishes Feb 6, 2018.

    Very good non-fiction book detailing a serial rapist. Written from verbal conversations, court and police records, and newspaper accounts. This story reads like fiction -and although written by two men - due to their extensive research, they did an excellent job. They were able to find the empathy needed to put to paper the hell these women went through. This is a hard topic to read, but a topic that e

    4 stars Thanks to Crown Publishing and First to Read for this ARC, which publishes Feb 6, 2018.

    Very good non-fiction book detailing a serial rapist. Written from verbal conversations, court and police records, and newspaper accounts. This story reads like fiction -and although written by two men - due to their extensive research, they did an excellent job. They were able to find the empathy needed to put to paper the hell these women went through. This is a hard topic to read, but a topic that everyone needs to understand and be aware of.

    They follow a serial rapist as he 'perfects his craft'. They start with one young woman, who police forced to recant her story, and follow this man's path as he wrecks havco on a number of other women - both young and old. It brings in numerous police departments as he travels from Washington state to Colorado and how they finally combine their resources. It speaks of the near misses as they come close to catching him and of the complications they must overcome to zero in on their suspect. It explains the cleverness of the perpetrator as he leaves nothing behind in the way of forensic clues, but also how he leaves a defined pattern of his crime.

    It is easy to understand how these two authors were selected for Pulitzer's for journalism. Their work is very good and this story is one that should be read by all.

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews; he/him/his)

    This kind of book isn’t my usual type of thing. I don’t usually like reading about rape, and this book is all about a serial rapist and how they caught him. It’s about rape culture inside the police and in the world in general. It’s about the aftermath of rape in the lives of the survivors. It’s about the way the poli

    This kind of book isn’t my usual type of thing. I don’t usually like reading about rape, and this book is all about a serial rapist and how they caught him. It’s about rape culture inside the police and in the world in general. It’s about the aftermath of rape in the lives of the survivors. It’s about the way the police go about finding rapists and solving (or abandoning) the crimes.

    Really, it’s not my type of book yet it totally was.

    “All I did was survive, and I was criminalized for it.”

    The story starts with the story of a woman who had been raped. The police didn’t think her story added up, so they completely dropped the case and, in the end, charged her for wasting police time. And then, across the country, there were other women being assaulted in the same way and the hunt for their rapist continued.

    It’s told in chapters that go back and forth in time, from the initial report to the other survivors to the rapist’s life to the various investigators. I thought it was impressive how all of those lines were balanced. Despite how similar they were, I never lost track of the story being presented to me and all of the people involved in it.

    It also focused on showing the failings of the police with investigating rapes. First, it gave the statistics as things stand and just showed how rape survivors are prosecuted for false reporting, then exonerated for it. Next, it gave the historical perspective of how hard it is for the survivors when it comes to trial because of the things the defense says and uses.

    While this isn’t an easy book to read, it’s a very satisfying one. It was masterfully told, interesting the whole time, and made you sick that something like this happened yet hopeful that it won’t again. All in all, a very strong true crime book.

  • Elese

    Mostly overcame my initial side-eye at two men writing on this subject. A few pages into the first chapter, I realized that I'd read the excellent Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica piece that this book grew out of ... still found this book-length examination compelling and worthy and upsetting. We need more women in law enforcement.

  • Kathleen

    2.5 stars

    This book was not what I expected. The focus was on specific cases in Colorado and Washington. I thought that it was going to be a broader investigative piece, and place the specific cases in a larger cultural perspective. The big picture was only 20% or so, while the other 80% was a description of specific crimes that belongs in the true crime category. If that's what You're looking for, this book may appeal to you more than it did to me. It's impossible not to feel something for thes

    2.5 stars

    This book was not what I expected. The focus was on specific cases in Colorado and Washington. I thought that it was going to be a broader investigative piece, and place the specific cases in a larger cultural perspective. The big picture was only 20% or so, while the other 80% was a description of specific crimes that belongs in the true crime category. If that's what You're looking for, this book may appeal to you more than it did to me. It's impossible not to feel something for these victims and law enforcement officials as the events are presented to the reader. I am a bit put off by the amount of salacious details, similar to an episode of C.S.I., or S.V.U., or Criminal Minds; followed by a quote by an admitted rapist criticising people who watch these kind of shows. It seems to me that the authors are trying to appeal to this same kind of sensationalism to tell the story.

    I have so much empathy and respect for the assault survivors whose stories are told in this book. It's infuriating to read the statistics and historical references to how rape reporting has been handled for centuries. I appreciate the book for those reasons. At the same time, I'm appalled by the details and the suspenseful buildup of the narrative... we do not learn the suspect's name until the officers get their break in the case. It's a little too dramatic for me. We are given glimpses of what compels the monster that caused so much pain and suffering, which is interesting to hear what the megalomaniac rapist was thinking when he did unthinkable things... but I am not particularly moved to hear about a human side of someone after learning of the lives that he has hunted and haunted.

    Thank you to Penguin's First to read program for providing me with an advance copy for review.

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