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A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,201 ratings  ·  844 reviews
Also published as Unbelievable: The Story of Two Detectives' Relentless Search for the Truth in 2019.

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists tell the riveting true crime story of a teenager 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 b
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published 2018 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Evan Much more information about the perpetrator, and much more information about other victims besides Marie (the victim from Washington whose story forms…moreMuch more information about the perpetrator, and much more information about other victims besides Marie (the victim from Washington whose story forms the basis for the title). Also, much more historical context. I think it's worth the read. (less)

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Emily May
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, arc, 2018
Marie told Rittgarn she had been attacked, that she wasn’t making the rapist up. She began to cry, saying she kept having a vision of him on top of her.
Rittgarn wasn’t moved. Later, when recounting Marie’s words in a written report, he would put the word “him” in quotation marks.

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
Julie ( On semi-hiatus until September)
A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller, Ken Armstrong is a 2018 Crown Publishing Group publication.

In the United States, there’s no saying how many women have been accused of making a false claim of rape, only to have the claim later proved to be true. There is no such statistic kept. But even Marie’s case- the extreme example where persecution becomes prosecution, where a victim is not only accused of lying, but criminally charged with it- does not stand alone.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
This is astoundingly well written, I sped through it in a few days. Once I started, I had to know what happened. A False Report tells the heartbreaking story of a young girl who is brutally raped and not only is her statement not believed, she is actually prosecuted for false reporting. It is such a travesty of justice. If she had been taken seriously, there would have been far fewer victims of this serial rapist.

The authors are both journalists who were appalled and had to get this story out. W
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
In 2008 an 18 year old woman reported that she was raped at knife point in her apartment in Lynwwod, WA. The police did not believe her because there were inconsistencies in her story. The victim finally admitted that she had lied, the investigating officer charged her with charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. What actually happened was that the police did not believe her and pressured her to recant her story, not understanding that many victims of violent crimes ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harrowing and eye-opening, Unbelievable (originally published as A False Report) strings together the stories of victims of a serial rapist, focusing on one young woman, Marie, whose rape allegation was dismissed after she was more or less forced to recant her accusation.  When she went back to the police station to insist that she had in fact been raped, she was charged with false reporting.  Years later, the rapist was caught and Marie's record was expunged - Unbelievable then ties together Ma ...more

A False Report (alternatively titled Unbelievable) is the true story of an extraordinary set of rape cases. They occurred months apart, in different towns, and to victims old and young, black and white. The rapist went out of his way to leave no trace of his DNA.

The book highlights two main things: how easily a rape case can be dismissed, and how crucial it is for police jurisdictions to not be possessive of their cases but to instead work together. To these ends, Pulitzer priz
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this was going to be a Netflix series, I knew I needed to jump on reading the book to get ahead of the watercooler talk. I still haven't watched the series, but I definitely plan to.

I think the right mindset going into this is just plan to be pissed off. There are some redeemable moments due to the excellent team work in Colorado and how the deplorable treatment of Marie helped to shed light on what is all too common (not believing a victim) and how that was used to radically change
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I don’t know what to say other than this is important and a must-read. The writing is flawless for nonfiction, never too heavy, and had me fully invested from the first paragraph. I’ll be watching the series, but I’m so grateful I read the book to get the full story.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.

Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram:
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: no-fic
Marie, an eighteen-year old, who belonged to a support program for teenagers aging out of foster care.

Amber, in her twenties, was a graduate student at a local college.

Sarah, who had recently buried her husband eight weeks after he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Doris, age 65, worked as a housemother at a local fraternity.

And countless other women all connected by the actions of single man.

In this book, Miller weaves an together the tale of a serial rapist who received a sentence of over 327
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America is a collaborative project between journalists T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong. Both journalists had been working on their individual projects when they realized they had been reporting on the same series of rapes. Mr. Miller had been reporting on a series of rapes in Colorado for Pro Publica, an investigative news organization. And Mr. Armstrong had been investigating a story regarding a rape in Lynnwood, Washington for the Marsha ...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars.

Unbelievable, at it’s heart, is Marie’s story. It’s a story of injustice, mistakes and chance discoveries. And it’s also about redemption, hope and compassion. Marie is violently raped in her apartment by a stranger. On reporting it to the police, the detectives involved choose to disbelieve her story, holding on to doubts cast by Marie’s foster mother regarding her ‘attention seeking’, and eventually force her to retrac
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong really is an unbelievable true account of a young girls rape (also how they caught a sick twisted rapist) and how the police didn't believe her (yes I know horrendous 😤) it's just utterly sad how many rapes don't get report and the excuses the police make for why they believe it didnt happen when those brave enough to report it comes forward, I understand some people report false claims for revenge and attention but to basically doubt everyon ...more
Roman Clodia
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She knew that the universe of women who had been raped looked identical to the universe of women.

A hopeful 'must-read' that pays homage to the dedicated investigators and supporters who overturned a horrible miscarriage of justice for a rape victim who wasn't believed. Marie's story is, though, just one strand in a larger narrative about the hunt for a sadistic serial rapist - and almost reads like fiction, including interspersed sections from the mind of the perpetrator.

While this makes al
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you defend yourself when someone accuses you of rape?", I believe that was the statement that William Kennedy Smith so stoically announced during his trial back in the early 90's. The public was glued to their television sets when Court TV was still on the air this was a tremendous trial. He was acquitted but guilty of that rape and several others. The woman who had the nerve to take him to trial had her creditability ripped her to shreds for all to see.

This book isn't about that case, bu
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful stuff ... and (for the open minded) an incredibly important book at a unique point in time. I hope it becomes widely read and, more importantly, discussed. I'm not suggesting that this book, alone, will alter, inform, or evolve the national narrative on rape, but it's a step in the right direction.

At a time when the sentient, thinking public - when we, as a nation - have been forced (or at least given the opportunity) to rethink so many of our preconceived notions about gender (and, of
J.C. Ahmed
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whenever a story hits the news involving sexual assaults that happened years before, people inevitably ask that if such a thing happened why the accuser waited so long to report it. This book does a good job answering that question. Men, women and children who report rape often immediately become suspects. Are they making up the allegation? What role did they play in their own victimization? And these suspicions don't just come from the police. They often come from family and friends as well. So ...more
Valerity (Val)
This is about a young woman's report of being raped that gets all twisted up. Written by 2 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, the book follows the story of eighteen-year-old Marie. She is made to question herself because of doubters, so she recants, then tries to stand by her report, but police shake her confidence so badly she caves when she's actually telling the truth. She has been made to feel like she's not going to be believed by her rapist, preprogrammed before she ever came forward. Sad ...more
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
Let me start off by saying I rarely read true crime because I prefer a story to a newspaper article.

The whole thing was definitely interesting... I enjoyed the chapters from the perpetrator too. It was little hard to keep everyone, their location, and the timeline straight at times and there was definitely a lot of unnecessary filler in the book. I didn't need to know that one of the crime analysts used to work at Lady Foot Locker or that Music was her favorite class in high school...

That being
♥ Sandi ❣
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 e
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Netgalley #46

Many thanks go to Miller and Armstrong, Crown Publishing, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Extremely touching account of a serial rape investigation across state lines. What happens when police departments do not coordinate and evidence including DNA is not stored and recorded correctly.
But what was most aggravating was learning how often detectives DO NOT BELIEVE the victims. Even in the 21st century women still ask for it, women stil
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Survivors show that they can live
And find justice
To catch a predator
A smart one

Better than the Netflix series

Schizanthus Nerd
I heard the hype surrounding the Netflix series before I learned of this book’s existence. Because of my belief in the almost universal truth that “the book was better”, I wanted to make sure I knew the facts first. And facts were what I learned.

I got the who, the what, the when, the why and the how, but I didn’t always get the emotion behind them. I expected to ugly cry my way through this book but for some reason (I’m still unsure if this is a personal failing or due to the investigative natu
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on BW Book Reviews.

Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my rating.

This kind of book isn’t my usual type of thing. I don’t usually like reading about rape, and this book is all about a serial rapist and how they caught him. It’s about rape culture inside the police and in the world in general. It’s about the aftermath of rape in the lives of the survivors. It’s about the way the poli
2.5 stars

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 that's what You're looking for, this book may appeal to you more than it did to me. It's impossible not to feel something for thes
Don't be fooled by the title. This book details what happens when the police bully a young woman into recanting her rape story and how she was eventually vindicated. It will piss you off, but then you can shove it in the faces of those twits who are worried about falsely accused men.

The reporters do a very good job, and every one is treated fairly. It helps that women are very instrutmental in solving the case.

Highly recommended.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
*Thanks for the free book, Crown Publishing*

2.5 stars - Upon finishing A False Report, I had to take some time and reflect back on all that I’d read. Sometimes, when I read books such as this one, I immediately want to give it a five-star rating and the highest praise due to the courage displayed by the survivors.

“All I did was survive, and I was criminalized for it.”

I struggled with this book review, because I struggled with several aspects of this book; I worried that elements that didn’t work
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
**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 gu
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving a lot of books 5 stars this week, but when you're good, you're good. This expansion of a magazine piece (and I love a good magazine article) is a gripping, maddening true crime story. In 2008 in Washington, a young woman was raped. Within a week police pressures and doubt made her recant her story. Several years later, women in Colorado were raped in cases that had deep similarities to one another - as well as to the case up in Washington that was closed as "unfounded." I ripped throu ...more
Barry Sierer
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a fairly decent crime story that carries a disturbing over-all theme; that police investigations of rape (in this case, the more cut and dried “stranger rape” cases rather than date rape cases) can be tragically flawed because of erroneous assumptions by the people who judge and investigate them.

While the book highlights how one woman, Marie, was pressured to recant a legitimate rape accusation; the authors also note several cases of other actual rape victims who were not believed
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional book about the long road to justice for a group of women assaulted by a serial rapist. Investigators doubted one of the first victims, Marie, pressuring her to recant her story and even charging her with false reporting. The authors trace Marie's story as well as the other women's. They follow investigators from a variety of Colorado suburbs (with special attention to two smart and dedicated women investigators) and take a psychological look at the rapist. The book also di ...more
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T. Christian Miller joined ProPublica as a senior reporter in 2008. Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles Times, where he covered politics, wars, and was once kidnapped by leftist guerrillas in Colombia. His first book, Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed In Iraq was called one of the “indispensable” books on the war. He teaches data journalism at the University of C ...more

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“Don’t be hostage to your expectations, she would teach. Sometimes trauma doesn’t look the way you think it should.” 5 likes
“Research shows the more intimate the crime, the more people focus on the victim’s behavior, and of course, there’s no crime more intimate than sexual violence,” Archambault says.” 2 likes
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