A False Report by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong

A False Report

T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong

A False Report is a serpentine tale of doubt, lies, and a hunt for justice, unveiling the disturbing reality of how sexual assault is investigated today.

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE

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 reported that a masked man broke into her apartment near Seattle, Washington, and raped her. Within days police and even those closest to Marie became suspicious of her story. The police swiftly pivoted and began investigating Marie. Confronted with inconsistencies in her story and the doubts of others, Marie broke down and said her story was a lie—a bid for attention. Police charged Marie with false reporting, and she was branded a liar.

More than two years later, Colorado detective Stacy Galbraith was assigned to investigate a case of sexual assault. Describing the crime to her husband that night, Galbraith learned that the case bore an eerie resemblance to a rape that had taken place months earlier in a nearby town. She joined forces with the detective on that case, Edna Hendershot, and the two soon discovered they were dealing with a serial rapist: a man who photographed his victims, threatening to release the images online, and whose calculated steps to erase all physical evidence suggested he might be a soldier or a cop. Through meticulous police work the detectives would eventually connect the rapist to other attacks in Colorado—and beyond.

Based on investigative files and extensive interviews with the principals, A False Report is a serpentine tale of doubt, lies, and a hunt for justice, unveiling the disturbing truth of how sexual assault is investigated today—and the long history of skepticism toward rape victims.


Advance Galley Reviews

In 2018 this is still relevant. I had to be in the right space to read this book but I'm glad I finished it.

So good. So true. So scary.

Chilling, especially when things haven't really changed all that much, especially in third world countries. I started reading non-fiction only recently, but I found this to be a very fascinating read.

This book is so interesting: a non-fiction reporting of details and true events about real-life serial rapists and the victims. It outlines the aftermath of rape survivors and discusses the rape culture in our country, the police and how much doubt there really is when it comes to rape victims and their stories and the investigations that commence when they are reported. SOOO interesting. I normally don't really non-fiction but this one was not only current, but also really made me think about how rape victims are treated by the police and others after the fact. DEFINITELY worth reading!!!!

A False Report is extremely timely in today's world. This book will grip you, compel you, and give you new insight into the issue of sexual assault in past and present society. The authors carefully stitch together an overall picture with cases being investigated in parallel over various time periods in different places. You can tell they really did their research by combing through investigative files and interviews. The story is approached from many different perspectives, even beyond the victim. The cases are indeed heart-wrenching, but they enlighten, give food for thought and hopefully, incite some change. You may think you know this story. You don't. This book will surprise you at every turn and open your eyes.

Usually, I don't read non-fiction that often, but this book really called to me. Especially in light of everything that is going on right now. This is a story of a girl who reported that she raped. Due to her circumstances many people didn't believe her story. She was then accused of false reporting and was even taken to court and had to pay fines. After two years her picture was found in a rapist's home and they finally believed her. This is her story. This was an eye-opener for sure, there has to be a better way of dealing with this.

With the exposure of all the sexual harassment in Hollywood and the Me Too Movement giving a voice to so many, a book about a mishandled rape case could not come out at a better time. A False Report by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong tells the story of a woman who reported being raped and because she was not believed, was charged with filing a false report. The book describes how the case was mishandled and the poor attitudes toward and the preconceived notions about rape and rape victims that went with it. This book was well written (the authors are Pulitzer Prize winning journalists), and I am certain that I reacted to every single page-eye rolling, head shaking, grunts of disgust, etc. It is thorough and provides insight to all involved-the victims, the investigators, and even the rapist. Background information and history of rape cases through the ages and the attitudes toward women and rape provide a sense of how and why rape cases have been and can be mishandled. Society as a whole has a long history of not respecting women and hopefully this book will help to cast a light on the urgent need to change that.

A False Report belongs in our society right now but I hate what it says about our society that we even need an eye-opening book like this one. The authors tackled this story from many angles to form a well-rounded exploration of a sexual assualt on an individual and national level. The circumstances leading to Marie's being accused of false reporting after a brutal attack by a serial rapist is heart-wrenching. The case studies of the other women assualted is agonizing. The profile of the rapist himself was astonishing and, I thought, a necessary component to these specific cases to see the full picture. Beyond these portraits, the authors chronicle the ripple effects of how rape impacts the lives and relationships of other people connected to the victims and even the rapist himself. But this book is more than just a true crime novel. The authors delve into the heartbreaking history of doubt and suspicion directed at the victims along with the evolution in rape investigation. A False Report has jolted my world with disappointment, revulsion, but some glimmer of hope for change. Let this book be a siren's call to do better.

This book really resonates with me. This book shows the reality of our world. A lot of people don't report what happens because of so many different reasons. Everyone should read this book. This is a powerful story.

False Report could not be more timely with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements happening. Although the topic is heavy, this book is well written and flows nicely making it easy to read.There are a lot of characters to keep sorted, which required me to flip back to previous chapters at times, but that was my only frustration with this book. The characters are sympathetic and their accounts are simultaneously heartbreaking and terrifying.

This is an incredibly timely topic, particularly with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements fresh in our minds and our newsfeeds. While I found this particular book to be a bit difficult to follow at times -- there are a lot of important people introduced in just a few short chapters and each has their own unique background -- the information shared is very powerful. I appreciated the insight into how police go about tracking suspects and solving cases. The history behind CODIS and ViCAP was fascinating! I also thought it was with a refreshingly brutal honesty to learn that there are different law enforcement methods for dealing with rape, and how different law enforcement agencies, and specific agents, might approach a rape case. There is no "correct" way to compose oneself after such a horrific act and for anyone to say they don't believe a victim because they were either "too calm" and offered "too much detail" or that they were "too hysterical" and didn't offer "enough" details is absurd and can lead to situations such as Marie's.

This book is a well written, gripping read. I feel like it is especially important now with the #metoo movement. The way that rape victims are treated makes it hard for them to tell their story. How can one hope to get help when their own support system falls apart and refuses to believe them?

This book really grips you. The emotions of each of the individuals and the struggles they face are so hard hitting, even more so since this is based on true events and real people. Marie was 18 years old when she was raped. Our culture allowed her to report the crime but all the blame was on her, the victim, and she was eventually tried and had to pay fines for "reporting a false report". We follow the career of the serial rapist. Young Marie being the first. We learn that everyone's reactions to the experience wildly ranged and that trauma can be expressed in so many different ways. Marie ended up with some justice but for years her life was ruined and not just by the man that raped her. I think that this is a must read for anyone professions that come in line with sexual abuse victims such as police , lawyers, doctors, etc. It is important to know that trauma does not show up with a battered face and hysterics. The victim is not on trial. Yes there are cases of false reports, this makes it difficult for everyone. This book does a great service in outlining all the pitfalls that everyone faces in the case of such an intimate form of violence.

A False Report was an eyeopening book for me. It breaks my heart to read how Marie was treated after being raped. Her closest family members and friends doubted her, and started questioning her until she finally broke and said that it was all a lie, which it was absolutely not. This book was disturbing at some parts and left me speechless at other parts. Entwined with honesty and candor, A False Report reveals what everyone else is hiding, the truth.

A False Report is a well-written, engaging exploration of a series of rapes that occurred in Washington and Colorado and the effort of the Colorado detectives to catch the rapist. It is also a disturbing and angering read as the book delves into the treatment of Marie, who was raped, but met with suspicion not only from the police, but also those closest to her. The suspicion and intimidation is part of why Marie recants her story though she was indeed telling the truth. Miller and Armstrong do an excellent job of presenting the information and they are respectful when going into the details. They also provide a larger context and history about the general skepticism society has when it comes to sexual assault. This is difficult subject matter and the writers handle it with skill. I read this in one sitting and by the end I was in tears and angry for what Marie and all of the survivors went through. This is a compelling and important read and I highly recommend it.

It’s always startling to read things based on true stories or true events that have happened to real people. This story was wonderfully written. It gave information without being boring or condescending about it (if that makes sense). It kept my attention from pretty much the first page! I would definitely recommend to anyone!

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.

A really fascinating and often troubling look at the way law enforcement treats rape victims (very often like criminals). Hopefully by bringing stuff like this to light, we can start dispelling the myth that women are constantly making false accusations of rape in order to get men in trouble. Some of the hardest parts of this book to get through were the quotes from lawmakers hundreds of years ago that basically cautioned people against ever believing a woman who accuses a man of rape. These same men had to trouble sentencing women convicted of witchcraft to death. This book could not be more timely right now, with all the celebrities who are finally suffering consequences for harassing or assaulting women. There seems to be an attitude now that men have to be extra careful of saying or doing anything toward a woman that will get them in trouble. This book helps illustrate how far we still have to go before we need to start worrying about that. Totally essential reading.

I couldn’t more enthusiastically recommend this book. I picked this up expecting stats about rape reporting and anecdotes about the difficulty of going through the legal process as a victim. Well, I got that, along with a well-written history of rape investigation, paralleling what I learned in law school, and a heartbreaking and frustrating portrayal of the victims. I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a nonfiction down.

A False Report is a fascinating, horrifyingly true description of the reality far too many women face in reporting rape to police officers. This book should be required reading for everyone involved in rape investigation and for the public who continue to question why women are afraid to report rape to the authorities.

A FALSE REPORT reads like a true crime novel about a serial rapist in Washington/Colorado back in 2008 while also giving recent facts regarding rape victims and police investigations. The authors took a serious topic and made it very readable without the grisly details. I found it a very good, enlightening read.

READ THIS BOOK!!! Thank you to First To Read for the ARC copy of False Report: A True Story of Rape in America. It follows the investigation and conviction of a serial rapist in Colorado. It was a bit eerie reading about rapes which occurred in the suburbs of Denver — also communities very near my home. So many interesting things in this book. Yes our social media really does help the criminals find us. One victim asked the serial killer at his sentencing- Do you have relatives or friends living near me? Do I need to be fearful? How did you find me? He replied, All I needed was your name off social media. Chilling! Did you know 16 states do not allow the victims who become pregnant from the rape to terminate the parental rights of the rapist? So many things in the excellent book. Please take the time to enlighten yourself!

A FALSE REPORT: A TRUE STORY OF RAPE IN AMERICA is an intertwining story of two teams of investigators looking into particular rape cases in America, each following the rules they'd been taught, but one going about it the "wrong" way and one going about it the "right" way (for lack of a better way to really word that). It shows that the mishandling of the first survivor potentially led to the subsequent attacks on several more survivors. It also shows just a few of the ways the American system has failed survivors in the past, and the changes it's making now to stop those failures from happening in the future, in many ways directly relating to these overlapping cases and their outcomes. There were many things I did not know going into this book. When I read non-fiction, I tend to also get sidetracked by all the other sources and want to go further my education by looking at each of those...the book used roughly 247 sources...it could provide me with a reading list for the rest of the year if I let it. I appreciated that the authors took the time to acknowledge the bias in their own reporting, based on their differences from those they were reporting on. I had difficulty with the way they wrote about the rapist. I don't want to name him in the review because, as a reader, I struggled with not looking ahead to find out who he was and then Google the case information...and I don't want to tempt other readers like me. Part of me acknowledges that he is, in fact, human. That it was important to see his evolution. That, in the end, even he says that there are no programs in America that help attackers to curb these thoughts early on. Even he says that while he was judged "sane", if methodically planning out rapes and then acting them out wasn't "mental illness" then we need to rethink how we define mental illness. Overall, though, the book brought awareness to flaws in our system, and steps being made to correct some of those flaws already. It was an interesting read.

This was a well-written, well-researched account of one serial rapist, the women he attacked, and the two states that investigated the cases - and the HUGE differences between the investigations. In one, the victim was doubted, the investigation rudimentary at best, and the results were horrifying. In the other, the victims were mostly believed, the investigation thorough and coordinated among various law enforcement agencies, and the rapist was caught, prosecuted and convicted. I wanted MORE about that, though - WHY did the two investigations go in such different directions? Was it because many of the officers were female in one instance, and entirely male in the other? Was it a difference in training, or culture, or something else? The problems outlined in this book are devastating. I wish it started the groundwork for dissecting some of the solutions.

A False Report is a terrific piece of narrative nonfiction, exploring the reality many women face in reporting rape to skeptical police officers. It explores the case of Marie, who was brushed off after her rape when the detective was offered an easy out of fully investigating her rape report. Her attacker went on to rape several more women. This is contrasted against the investigating which occurred in another state with these other rapes, which brought the perpetrator to justice and vindicated Marie. This is an important addition to the current conversation about rape and is well-timed given the current #MeToo movement. Some may be bothered that the authors of this book are male, but I think it's important for men to recognize the myth of false reporting which many women already understand. Perhaps the fact that this book is written by men will help prevent other men from continuing to believe that women frequently lie about rape. I'm really glad I read this book. I hope many others do as well.

This is a really relevant and poignant book for our current times. On a macro level, this would be an excellent required reading book for a college level sociology or criminology class. For the interested lay reader, it may provide to be an interesting, if somewhat wordy, true crime tale.

This was a truly excellent true crime book that seems so shocking and reads so well that it seems like fiction. Describing the heroic work of detectives working in cooperation in Colorado across multiple jurisdictions, the authors take the readers into the investigation describing all the detailed work by so many individuals within the police department that led to the identification of the serial rapists. As a reader, you are disturbed by the evolution of the man into the rapist and have empathy for the victims. Marie's story was so heartbreaking when you think about the details of her already difficult young life and then after demonstrating the bravery to report a rate, to be accused of false reporting by those few individuals whom she has trusted in her life. This book is also timely in light of ongoing cultural discussions of sexual assault in the US and the way victims continue to be judged and asked to justify their accusations. I very much recommend this book.

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. It was horrifying and yet impossible to look away from. 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: “No judge should ever let a sex offense charge go to the jury unless the female complainant’s social history and mental makeup have been examined and testified to by a qualified physician.” 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.

Quite an interesting book which narrates an unbelievable and true story. Both authors performed an incredible investigation about the people, detectives, and police departments involved. It was certainly a book I didn't want to put down, except for when I needed some time to process the detailed descriptions of the rapes performed by such a hideous man.

This book was, at all times, compelling and terrifying.  You hear the statistics, you see infographics, and you see chatter online all the time about women and rape cases.  But this book brings it all home.  T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong have made those women who are doubted, and the ones who are believed, REAL in their book, A False Report: A true story of rape in America. The book follows, very closely, two lines of investigation into rape.  The tale of a young girl who was raped in Washington state is so heartwrenching and terrifying.  It's easy to see why reporting statistics are so terrible.  Who would want to go through that?  Miller and Armstrong are able to report with a fairly neutral voice (though it feels like a bit of disdain for the Washington case handling leaks through) on all aspects of these cases. Despite the fact that this book is about specific investigations, Miller and Armstrong delve into the general history of rape in America (and the UK).  The terrifying fact that precedents and advice given by a judge nearly 300 years ago are still held up as relevant makes me despair for justice.  The investigators in the Colorado case give me hope.  The back and forth between the way a case should be handled and police work should be done (with cooperation and not competition) and the way it should not be done (with dismissal and disbelief) really creates a startling contrast. I have nothing but praise for this book, its authors, and most importantly, the survivors and victims that came forward to the police and to the reporters.  I hope that these cases and this book is one more GIANT step forward to seeing fair prosecution and representation of rape in the courts of America.

This was a really fantastic book. That seems a bit strange to say for a book about rape in America, but it was very well written and hard to put down. At times shocking, it was an eye-opening true story about a series of rapes tied to one perpetrator and the perpetuation of the myth of high percentages of false rape reporting by women. Very well written and researched, I highly recommend this read to anyone, particularly those who have an interest in forensics and criminal justice.

A False Report is the story of multiple women who are survivors of the same serial rapist, including one who was pressured to recant her story, and the police departments and detectives who investigated the crimes. I read A False Report much more quickly than I normally read non-fiction, despite the subject matter (then again, I am also one of those people, like those described in the book, that watches shows like Criminal Minds and Law and Order). It felt like it hit the right balance between statistics on rape and sexual assault, background stories, and the narrative, story-telling elements. It's not overly technical or procedural, but easy to read and fast-paced. The retelling of the crimes did not feel gratuitous to me. It's an important topic to cover in light of current events and culture. This will appeal to fans of true crime and investigative journalism.

I loved this book. It did a wonderful job of showing how ambiguous rape cases can be, and how even the most meticulous investigation can still be full if red herrings.

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 True Crime is a genre that you enjoy, 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.

Wow, I really liked this book. That being said, it did take me longer to finish because of the subject matter. This book looks at two states and how they handled the capture and the investigating of a serial rapist. The part that was hard for me was the dismissal of Marie from Lynnwood WA. How because of her lot in life she was really dismissed when she started to get her story mixed up. The authors did a fantastic job of making this red like a fictional account. It was engaging and fast paced. I was not aware of the historical details of rape in the 1700's that still colors some attitudes to this day. This was a well written and fascinating look at how sexual assault victims can still be in this day and age, not believed.

I recalled hearing about this case from when it was featured on This American Life. The story of a rape victim being treated like a criminal, until proven innocent years later was troubling and intriguing. I'm glad the authors pursued the story for this book, bringing much more detail, as well as the unsettling perspective of the serial rapist. Rape, and the reality of how victims who report their assaults are often viewed and treated, makes for difficult subject matter. Though face-paced and well-written, it was hard to read at times, simply because of the painful subject. But the authors have written an engaging and important book that I hope others will read. I especially appreciated the historical details that help explain how present day rape investigations and attitudes toward sexual assault victims have evolved. This book is a true-crime journalism stand out.

I really enjoyed this book. The title is certainly appropriate. It's kind of a dual accounting....of a real rape(s). The two authors give voice to bungled efforts of one department, & also the dogged pursuit of the crime(s) of another department. They describe the 'back story' of all involved, & all the techniques/science used. Luck & cooperation play an important role too. This reads like you're watching a good documentary....it moves right along following the timeline of events. It's so easily readable that it's hard to put down & easy to pick up where you left off! I'll definitely recommend this book to others! I did receive this e-ARC from a Penguin First-To-Read giveaway program, in exchange for my own fair/honest review. All opinions are my own.

This was a difficult read due to the serious subject matter. I had to take multiple breaks along the way to read something cheerier. It's a necessary book, though. It's well-researched and well-written. It's a sorry state of affairs when police treat rape victims as suspects and focus their energy on discrediting them rather than on looking for the rapist. This is an important book on the subject and it belongs in public libraries next to Missoula by Jon Krakauer, and on reading lists about rape and police response to rape.

There's no deny A Fale Report is a work of fierce journalism. As a fan of true crime, I must admit it painted a disturbing picture of a rapist. It brought up some feelings that I was forced to examine. The material in this book is devasting to read yet necessary. I kept reading and I felt bad for Marie. There was a point I didn't believe her but then I read the chapters from the rapist's point of view and then I knew. I am glad O'Leary is locked up. The part when he couldn't face the female officer shows what a coward he is. I don't blame his mother. At least she acknowledged where she went wrong. I was also shocked at the number of rape kits not filed. I think the authors did a thorough job in exploring this topic. I approve

At times a very difficult book to read because of its subject material, A False Report nonetheless represents both outstanding journalism on the part of the authors and exemplary investigating by law enforcement officials in Colorado and across the country. Miller and Armstrong started their reporting on separate sides of the story: one looking at an investigation gone wrong in Washington, while the other focused on a successful example of cooperation between police departments in the Denver, CO area. Combining both narratives into this one book (which grew out of a Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica article) emphasizes the story's most important aspects, drawing a series of chilling anti-parallels in how different agencies pursued someone who turned out to be a serial rapist. Miller and Armstrong treat the material with a perfect balance of tact and detail. They explain their methods further in an afterword, outlining how much thought went into how they would handle such a sensitive topic. Any reader concerned at seeing two men as the authors of a book on sexual assault should rest assured that they have done a diligent and respectful job. A False Report is a quick read. Sometimes, in the chapters concerning Marie's case, hurt and indignation drive you forward in search of a happy ending. In the chapters focused on the growing collaboration in Colorado, a sense of urgency permeates every phone call, every e-mail, and the discovery of every lead. The authors manage to capture a tense mood without condescending into a tawdry, tabloid recollection. It might not be quite accurate to call this an enjoyable read, given the subject matter, but it certainly is compelling. Some of the most interesting passages in A False Report are those that give background into the history of investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases. They trace skepticism in the legal system towards rape victims as far back as a revered 17th century English judge, whose views were upheld well into the 20th century, as well as to Thomas Jefferson. Learning how deeply this suspicion is embedded in our culture offers little comfort compared to the frustration over its persistence. On a somewhat lighter note is the anecdote about how the modern "rape kit" came to exist. Developed by a victim's advocate and Chicago crime lab technician, the first batch of kits was produced thanks to a $10,000 donation from the philanthropic arm of Playboy. These small diversions into the history of the American justice system provide important context to this particular case. The skepticism that informed decades of law enforcement and interrogation training is in no way an excuse for the behavior of some detectives; knowing where this skepticism began and how it was fed over time, however, can help us better understand how to combat it. A False Report works exceptionally well on two different levels. On the surface, it provides a captivating portrait of wildly different investigations linked by one perpetrator. Anyone who enjoys the true crime genre will be pleased at the meticulous break-down of both the Washington and Colorado cases. At a deeper level, though, A False Report examines how rape culture has permeated the very institutions that victims should be able to rely upon without question: the police and the justice system. We cannot solve problems if we refuse to be aware of them, or to discuss them; while it is a harrowing read at times, A False Report is also an essential look at just how right (or wrong) sexual assault investigations can go.

This is easily one of the best First to Read books I've gotten in a long time. As a feminist, I knew this book would be right up my alley--and it absolutely was. The book is obviously meticulously researched and incredibly well-written, which is a must when dealing with such sensitive subject matter. As each story comes into the fold of the larger narrative, you begin to realize the complicated, gnarly issues surrounding rape in America today. This is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in rape culture and/or sexual assault as they intersect with American culture. This will be my first highly recommended read of 2018!

A False Report: A Review This would not normally be the type of book i would pick up, especially around the holidays due to the subject matter and i was a little worried that I would get bogged down in the content and not be able to finish the book (I struggle with dark subject matter) however the account was so well written that I finished it in surprisingly short time. Yes it deals with very serious subject matter but in a clinical way that does not dwell on the darkness while not down playing the severity of the subject. At times it does read like fiction which helps break up the significant data presented of statistics of rape and false reporting in this country as well as expert speculation on whether these are true statistics and why they may or may not be. It was both heart breaking and satisfying to see Marie finally be believed and get some closure and also see how things have changed (or in some cases not changed) because of her story. That being said here are a couple things to be aware of: 1) there are a LOT of characters in this book. The authors did their homework and interviewed almost everyone who had any part in any of these cases and gave back up bios on them. That causes you to still be meeting new characters more than half way through the book. It also becomes difficult to keep them all straight especially if you set the book down for a couple days between chapters. 2) This book gives a lot of stats about rape from reporting to conviction. These stats are sprinkled throughout the book. I think it would have been an even more interesting read if the stats had been more dense in the beginning and less after the arrest. At that point you are hungry for some justice and instead you are back to statistics about conviction rates and sentences. 3) this is one element that i noted that there isnt really any thing anyone can do about but it did take me out of the story a little. The authors make a big deal about how few women are in law enforcement and how they tend to stick together once they form contact with each other. The statistics across the country are provided and disappointing though not exactly surprising. However when it comes to this case almost all the law enforcement personnel interviewed were women. So either Colorado is doing better than the statistics in providing gender diversity in the workplace or the statistics are off somehow. Furthermore the only case that did not have a woman on it was Marie's leading the reader to believe that if there had been perhaps it would have been handled better, which i do not believe was intended by the authors. Plenty of men in the police force investigate sex crimes well and with training and compassion. Overall I give this book 4/5 stars as an engaging read that was well written and well presented on a topic that desperately needs more coverage. Bravo! The First to read program provided me with an advanced copy of this book

This book hooked me from the first chapter. Admittedly a book about a serial rapist is not something I'd typically read over the holidays, but from the moment I opened this book on an airplane, I couldn't put it down. I found myself wanting to leave my family so I could go back up to my room and read it. An engrossing tale of the detectives who failed a victim and the team of law enforcement officials who tracked down the real culprit, A False Report is a timely and necessary book. At times it read it like fiction, because it was so captivating. I didn't want to believe it was real, but it very much was. These things happen and, as the book shows, there is a history of police officers and lawyers trying to discredit rape victims and claim that they "made it up" or that they "wanted it." The two male authors treat this subject delicately. I was impressed to see their note about using the word "victim" versus "survivor." I plan to recommend this book to many others.

Wow. I did not expect to get sucked into this book the way I was. I started A False Report and finished it in one sitting, unintentionally. Absolutely riveting and disturbing. Easily one of the most important books I've read to date. It was fascinating to simulatneously read of a total botching of investigation into a rape case by the police in one area of the country, and read of how the police was working across jurisdictional lines and doing exactly what you'd hope they would do for a case, all against the backdrop of issues humans have always been exploring-- crime, honesty, sexism. A powerful book. I received a digital ARC of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. This review also appears on Goodreads.

Wow. This book held me entranced from beginning to end. The choice to write it the way they did created a natural tension to the story that fit the subject very well. I found myself caught up in each individual's story much more than I would have had it been more traditionally told. This is the hallmark of great writing: to tell a story that pulls you along while engaging you with the human element. Seeing the story alternately from the eyes of the victims, the police, and the perpetrator was unsettling but effective. I never felt like I was able to get too close to the people involved, which fit, considering who they were and what had happened. Each person's story both brought you in and held you at a distance, an eerie dance with intimacy, the search for truth, and self-protection vs violation from each of the points of view. Great investigative story, and some hard truths to stomach. Kudos to the police departments involved for their part in facing up to the need for change.

**Thanks to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of A FALSE REPORT: THE TRUE STORY OF RAPE IN AMERICAN by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong in exchange for my honest review ** In 2008 in Washington state, eighteen year old Marie, a former foster child, is raped in her home. Afterward, everyone in her life lets her down. Two of her former foster mothers decide she’s lying. Her best friend creates a My Space page branding Marie a liar. Even worse, the police force her to plead guilty to filing a false report. Three years later detectives in Colorado arrest a serial rapist who has pictures of himself raping Marie. A FALSE REPORT: THE TRUE STORY OF RAPE IN AMERICAN covers other victims and the investigation of the rapist. I’m too saddened and angered by Marie’s story to think about the other facets of the book. I can’t imagine how abandoned and alone she was, first surviving a four hour rape ordeal in her own home, then treated like a lying criminal and finally the abandonment of every important person in her life. I don’t know how she survived and wish she’d write her memoirs about the experience. Miller and Armstrong wrote A FALSE REPORT: THE TRUE STORY OF RAPE IN AMERICAN in such a readable manner I often felt like I was perusing a novel. Even more important than the investigation and capture of the rapist is commentary on how rape victims are sometimes treated by untrained and/or uncaring cops. I’m a rape survivor and unfortunately familiar with the failings of the justice system. Marie will stay with me long after the rest of the story.

 


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