True Crime Story by Joseph Knox, 3.5 Stars

The thrilling story of a university student’s sudden disappearance, the woman who became obsessed with her case, and the crime writer who uncovered the chilling truth about what happened…

In 2011, Zoe Nolan walked out of her dormitory in Manchester and was never seen or heard from again. Her case went cold. Her story was sad, certainly, but hardly sensational, crime writer Joseph Knox thought. He wouldn’t have given her any more thought were it not for his friend, Evelyn Mitchell. Another writer struggling to come up with a new idea, Evelyn was wondering just what happened to all the girls who go missing. What happened to the Zoe Nolan’s of the world?

Evelyn began investigating herself, interviewing Zoe’s family and friends, and emailing Joseph with chapters of the book she was writing with her findings. Uneasy with the corkscrew twists and turns, Joseph Knox embedded himself in the case, ultimately discovering a truth more tragic and shocking than he could have possibly imagined…

Just remember: Everything you read is fiction.

Advanced Praise for True Crime Story

“The impressively twisty plot drops one bombshell revelation after another. Twin Peaks fans won’t want to miss this one.”
— Publishers Weekly STARRED review

“Ingenious… truly immersive: complex, disturbing, unexpectedly funny and very smart.” 
— The Guardian (UK)

“Mr. Knox is a fantastic writer. His ambitious fourth novel satirises and celebrates the true-crime genre with glee. True Crime Story, by turns horrific and hilarious, is scandalously entertaining.”
The Times (UK)

“The gifted Joseph Knox continues his upwards trajectory with True Crime Story forging something original and innovative.”
— Financial Times (UK)

“This is one of the most engaging cold-case novels I have read.”
— Literary Review (UK)

My Review:

True Crime Story is a bit of a Blair Witch Project style novel. The reader knows going into it that the original researcher, Evelyn passed away at some point and the “author” is piecing together her research. So initially I was thinking Blair Witch in that we are supposed to believe that all this is real, or true crime all inside a fictional book.

It also brought vibes of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which was completed posthumously by a researcher and the husband of the author, Michelle McNamara (and did result in part in the capture of the killer.) And actually, also reminded me of Daisy Jones and the Six, which followed an interview-style narrative of the plot. So one book brought up all these others, and I’m starting to see it had some tough competition.

I was super intrigued by the idea of True Crime Story – that a girl goes missing and is never seen again. The book is made of of the “real” interviews with her friends and family (including an identical twin sister.) The book was also an international bestseller so I definitely wanted to give it a try.

While I did enjoy the book, at times I felt that it moved too slowly and that in part I believe was due to the interview-style of the book. I also felt like details jumped around a bit and made it a little confusing. That said, I appreciate how unique the book was and I’m always a sucker for anything true crime.

Special thanks to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now. Get your copy!


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