Review: The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg

Review by Liz D.

When I saw the cover of this book at the Hachette offices during a training I attended in July I knew it was going to be of interest to our Murderino True Crime Book Club. It’s somewhat local and some of the members might be familiar with the Appalachia area enough that this would pique their interest. I was so excited to share it with the ladies at It was a Dark and Stormy Night Book Club Podcast too.

I admit it took me quite a while to get around to reading it even though it kept coming up. I eventually posted it as February’s book since it will be released January 21. I was contacted a day or two later by the author who said she would be interested in doing an event as well. We have settled on February 22 at 2pm for her to join us and we’re going to make it an extra special event by having it be a “Conversation with” type event! This means we will have a moderator present questions to the author in front of the audience in a conversation format.

Well once I got the dates all figured out for that I knew I had to buckle down- luckily, I was also offered an ALC (Advance Listening Copy) through my program at Libro.fm and we happened to be heading on a road trip through Virginia to Tennessee. On our way home we made a point to the route through West Virginia although in both directions we were further north or south than the area this book takes place in.

Here is my initial review:

After reading I’ll be Gone in the Dark I mourned Michelle McNamara because I just wanted more of her writing and I think it’s safe to say that Emma Copley Eisenberg put a fat band-aid on that hole. She has produced an incredible mystery narrative wound through autobiography like the roads within the mountain system that are both the setting and a character of this book. The story of the mountain town and it’s people, the stories they told themselves and each other, Emma’s investigation and growth throughout the book all pulled me in and tangled me up as I listened to her narration while driving through the Appalachian range myself. One part is the reporting of history with so much thorough investigation and detail that surely one should be able to make a clear conclusion on who is guilty but it’s so much information that there still shadows of doubt. The other is raw autobiography, and sometimes so personal it almost feels like a violation. I cannot wait for my book club to discuss this book and I look forward to reading it again after hearing others insights too. There is so much to this book it needs multiple reads. The ending was more than I imagined and admit I probably spent too much time being distracted while reading by hoping for an ending like this. Thank you, Emma, for this car ride through the rolling hills where my stomach flipped sometimes and through the mountains where elevation changes mean my ears pop and I’m suddenly awake to new sounds and thoughts.

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