Literally everything interesting in this novel, The Third Rainbow Girl, is spelled out in the first chapter.
Two girls were shot to death, but not sexually assaulted, in the summer of 1980 in West Virginia while on their way to a outdoor peace festival called the Rainbow Gathering. Thirteen years later, in 1993, nine local working men were suspects. Two confessed to the the girls’ murders. But another man was charged based on evidence given by some of the suspects, in exchange for the dropping of the charges against them. However, nine years prior to the trial, a prisoner confessed to the crime but was not believed by police. But when the man discovered that a man had been convicted of his crime, he confessed again. His confession forced the man who had been convicted to be given a new trial, where he was found innocent.
The Third Rainbow Girl is marketed as true crime. While it does have the story of the girls’ murder within it, the focus of the book is the author’s memoir of her time working in the area as a VISTA volunteer. Both would be interesting separately but together they make for a muddled mess. I spent my time skimming the memoir and racing to read the true crime. I’m sure other readers will do the exact opposite. Therefore, I can’t recommend this book as written, though there are intriguing stories lurking within this book if you are willing to work to ferret them out. 2 stars.
Thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.