Nonfiction Short Take: Jane Doe January – Emily Winslow

This is a memoir by a mystery writer about the prosecution of her own rape after a 20 year delay. While it is certainly, on the most obvious level, a true crime story, the more interesting exploration here concerns the idea of recovery and justice.  It has received two starred advance reviews and is scheduled for review in the NYTBR the week after on sale.

“With remarkable emotional insight and precision, mystery writer Winslow (The Red House) turns to memoir to narrate the long-delayed prosecution of the man who raped her two decades ago. When her case is reopened in 2013 by a DNA match in another case, Winslow navigates a bureaucratic nightmare of delays…probes the depths of rape victimhood and its social connotations, comparing expectations to ‘be a perfect little broken princess’ with the reality of her situation. As a writer obsessed with details, Winslow researches her attacker, finding his dating site profiles and his sister’s Facebook page and noting that with each discovery he ‘keeps getting smaller… piece by piece.’….When a personal tragedy is followed by a bombshell development in the case, Winslow must face dual griefs and seek out a new vision for closure. Her story is profoundly troubling, but the legitimate care and consideration of Winslow’s legal support system is powerfully redemptive. Her account bravely illuminates a process many survivors of rape must endure.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This important chronicle answers the question, does it serve justice to put a man on trial for a 20-year-old crime? For the victim, it absolutely does….This eloquent memoir will be appreciated by anyone interested in cold case investigations and victim advocacy as well as true crime fans.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“With a shocking twist that rivals the best that fiction has to offer, this book is a triumph of heart over unbearable hurt. Everyone should read it.”
— Sophie Hannah

Jane Doe January: My Twenty-Year Search for Truth and Justice (9780062434807) by Emily Winslow. $26.99 hardcover. 5/24/16 on sale.

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