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Nonfiction Review: Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation by Erika Krouse

Title: Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation
Author: Erika Krouse
Year published: 2022
Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (CO)

SummaryPart memoir and part literary true crime, Tell Me Everything is the mesmerizing story of a landmark sexual assault investigation and the female private investigator who helped crack it open.

Erika Krouse has one of those faces. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” people say, spilling confessions. In fall 2002, Erika accepts a new contract job investigating lawsuits as a private investigator. The role seems perfect for her, but she quickly realizes she has no idea what she’s doing. Then a lawyer named Grayson assigns her to investigate a sexual assault, a college student who was attacked by football players and recruits at a party a year earlier. Erika knows she should turn the assignment down. Her own history with sexual violence makes it all too personal. But she takes the job anyway, inspired by Grayson’s conviction that he could help change things forever. And maybe she could, too.

Over the next five years, Erika learns everything she can about P. I. technique, tracking down witnesses and investigating a culture of sexual assault and harassment ingrained in the university’s football program. But as the investigation grows into a national scandal and a historic civil rights case, Erika finds herself increasingly consumed. When the case and her life both implode at the same time, Erika must figure out how to help win the case without losing herself.

Review: I was looking forward to a nonfiction read after all the fiction I've read lately. And this one is a BOTM (Book of The Month) book so I get to cross it off my virtual shelf in that app as well. Very satisfying.

I kept having to remind myself that this is nonfiction since it reads like fiction. And, while there is some meandering onto other topics, Krouse focused in on what it was like to become a PI (with no training), how she floundered at first, and then how she grew to be really good at it through this one big case. And the one big case is huge: sexual harassment and rape culture of an unnamed university in Colorado (turns out it's University of Colorado, Boulder) and specifically its football team. She changed everyone's names (perpetrators and survivors), but I am not sure why she was so careful to protect the university and the guilty.

I was so angry while reading parts of this book even though none of it is news to me. Football players treated like gods, who think they can do no wrong (and when they do, the law and university look the other way), women treated as objects to be used and thrown away, and a system that looks out for the rapist/harasser and blames the victims/survivors. The theme of the story is not new, but it was super interesting to read about the process, how she interviewed people, how long it took to go through the courts, and the outcome.

If you like this sort of injustice and how it is handled publicly and privately, then you'll find this read interesting. The reader also gets a look into the author's family relationships as they have connections to the case she is working on.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Alphabet Soup (Title)--T
  • Literary Escapes--Colorado

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