Discover Christmas gifts we know they'll love

A False Report: Victim, Attacker, Defender

The real-life investigation behind the forthcoming Netflix series. Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists uncover the story of Marie, an 18-year-old girl branded a liar after reporting her rape, and the detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth.

A False Report

'He could remember the moment the monster was born.'

The attacker

He could remember the moment the monster was born. It was embarrassing, really, to tell people. He was five years old. His parents took him to see Star Wars: Episode VI— Return of the Jedi. Early in the film, there is a scene in the den of Jabba the Hutt, the interplanetary gangster who has the hero pilot Han Solo imprisoned in a frozen block. Jabba— an enormous sybaritic grub— looms on a platform, surrounded by slaves, halflings, and aliens. Exotic music wails.

The boy and his parents watched Luke Skywalker, mysterious and hooded, sneak into the lair while Jabba slept. There, lying at the base of the platform, is Princess Leia. She is bared, almost naked, in a metallic bikini, revealing her thighs, her stomach, her throat. She is attached to Jabba by a chain, a metal collar around her neck. She starts awake as Luke walks in and jerks uselessly at the chain. She is Jabba’s slave.

He would recall that moment often in his later years. At the time, he did not have the words to even describe what he felt. It was alive, it was electric, it was dangerous. It filled him with pleasure. He knew only that he wanted to have that kind of control over a woman, to totally possess and to own her. He described himself as like a young animal, bonding to the first creature it sees. He had imprinted on fear, on humiliation, on enslavement.

“From then on, I was basically ready to tie up every girl on the block” was how he remembered it.

The defenders

Brought together by the hunt for the rapist, Galbraith and Hendershot bonded quickly. Both were outgoing. They cracked fast jokes and smiled fast smiles. Galbraith was younger and crackled with energy. Hendershot’s experience complemented Galbraith’s enthusiasm.

Both women were at ease working in the testosterone- soaked world of law enforcement. Men accounted for about 90 percent of the sworn officers in Golden and Westminster, but neither Galbraith nor Hendershot felt unwelcome or intimidated. Both had grown up with brothers. Both had few close female friends and tended to get along better with men. Both took pride in being tough. “I don’t tolerate drama. If it’s drama, I’m like, ugh. If it’s emotional, ugh,” Galbraith says.

Both also had the same experience breaking into police work. Get your foot in the door, prove yourself, and you were accepted into the brotherhood— just like any other cop. The woman thing didn’t matter so much. “It might be at the forefront when you first walk in the door,” Hendershot says. “But especially after you’ve established yourself for a little bit as a patrol officer, it just doesn’t come up. It just is.”

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more