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Publisher's Summary

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, 18-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: details of the crime didn't seem plausible, and her foster mother thought she sounded as though she were reciting a Law & Order episode. 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. One of Marie's best friends created a web page branding her 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 - the attacker's calm and practiced demeanor, which led the victim to surmise "he's done this before" - 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 realized 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 reality of how sexual assault is investigated today - and the long history of skepticism toward rape victims.

©2018 T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written, well researched, and profound

I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse as well as a survivor of rape while serving in the military. I want to state that first so you know, as a reader, where my perspective comes from. This, as well as Missoula and A History of Misogyny, are accurate both factually and emotionally.

While reading this book, I was triggered. But the respect and care that was taken to tell the story with enough detail to give an accurate picture of what rape is, as well as the dexterity to express the wide range of reactions to being raped was what made this an overall cathartic read.

I'm not going to go into details so as not to ruin the journey carefully and tactfully crafted by the authors. I am going to say that this book is profound and a clear and concise answer to the question, often posed in bad faith, "What about false reports?" and "What about the innocent men?" and "What about innocent until proven guilty?". It goes a step further and explains why the philosophy of believing the victim first is important and necessary in the investigation of intimate crimes.

Finally. Marie, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your honesty. I reacted to my rape the same way you did. I told my story over and over again, like you did. I have a deadpan way of describing my childhood. I also had nobody believe me until well after the damage was already done. I too was hurt again by the people who were supposed to help me. Hearing that you're out there, somewhere, and living your life has breathed some life back into me. Thank you for telling me that I'm not alone. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 04-08-18

Riveting

A riveting book that revolves around a woman who reports being raped, is doubted by the police and her friends, forced to recant, charged with making a false report, and basically made to plead guilty. But she’s not making up the story. Everything is fascinating on so many levels because everyone is interviewed: the woman, the rapist, the detective who charged her with making a false report, the detectives who caught the rapist, other victims. At the end is a rage-inducing description of the history of women not being believed about rape claims, as well as the institutional mechanisms that keep it happening even today. P.S. If you’ve read Jon Krakauer’s “Missoula” and are wondering if you want to tackle another book about rape, please know that they cover completely different territory. Grade: A

Narration is solid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read/listen

I don’t normally do reviews but this story is a rape victim’s worst nightmare next to being assaulted in the 1st place. Great journalism of put all sides into the story. As a woman being raped is our worsts nightmare then to not be believed is like being rapped all over again...... My only question is how do you come back from that.

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True storytelling that showed resilience

this was a amazing book. it was so accurate on how rape survivors are precieved and why so many sex crimes go unreported.

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Long story

This book was very long and drawn out. While the amount of detail is nice is some areas many sections could be edited down and substance would remain.

It is a very dry story but not technical enough for academic study in interview and interrogation.

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Wow!! Everyone should read

I finished this as an audiobook in four days—I obsessively listened—and before I was even close to the end, I ordered a hard copy of this book to circulate among everyone I know who works in law enforcement.

I am a prosecutor. I assisted with a rape case a few months ago. The description of what victims go through was spot on. Although that portion was familiar to me, I learned a lot, too. This book will change the way I deal with rape cases and victims.

Thanks to the authors for their tremendous work.

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Best Nonfiction Book 2018

This book makes it very clear why we should believe women. Even if a story of rape seems off kilter, we should give them the benefit of any doubt.

The book should be required for every police officer. And they should have to pass a test on it.

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A MUST Read

If you could sum up A False Report in three words, what would they be?

Brutally Real Cases

What did you like best about this story?

The way that the authors attach all the victims it did not feel that I was listening non fiction in some points it seems I was listening a novel, also some of the stories did not sound real, reality was too hard for me to believe (maybe because it was also my first True Crime book)

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great listen

really enjoyed the use of three separate story lines to convey a story for all involved

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Excellent research Great storytelling

Starting from one victim of an incident of rape by a perpetrator of multiple rapes, we go in a wild ride documenting the critical gestures of reporting and investigating rape in America.