In the vein of Alice Sebold’s Lucky, comes a compelling, real-life crime mystery and gripping memoir of the cold case prosecution of a serial rapist, told by one of his victims.
On the morning of September 12, 2013, a fugitive task force arrested Arthur Fryar at his apartment in Brooklyn. His DNA, entered in the FBI’s criminal database after a drug conviction, had been matched to evidence from a rape in Pennsylvania years earlier. Over the next year, Fryar and his lawyer fought his extradition and prosecution for the rape—and another like it—which occurred in 1992. The victims—one from January of that year, the other from November—were kept anonymous in the media. This is the story of Jane Doe January.
Emily Winslow was a young drama student at Carnegie Mellon University’s elite conservatory in Pittsburgh when a man brutally attacked and raped her in January 1992. While the police's search for her rapist proved futile, Emily reclaimed her life. Over the course of the next two decades, she fell in love, married, had two children, and began writing mystery novels set in her new hometown of Cambridge, England. Then, in fall 2013, she received shocking news—the police had found her rapist.
This is her intimate memoir—the story of a woman’s traumatic past catching up with her, in a country far from home, surrounded by people who have no idea what she’s endured. Caught between past and present, and between two very different cultures, the inquisitive and restless crime novelist searches for clarity. Beginning her own investigation, she delves into Fryar’s family and past, reconnects with the detectives of her case, and works with prosecutors in the months leading to trial.
As she recounts her long-term quest for closure, Winslow offers a heartbreakingly honest look at a vicious crime—and offers invaluable insights into the mind and heart of a victim.
With remarkable emotional insight and precision, mystery writer Winslow (The Red House) turns to memoir to narrate the long-delayed prosecution of the man who raped her two decades ago. When her case is reopened in 2013 by a DNA match in another case, Winslow navigates a bureaucratic nightmare of delays, observing that "waiting isn't a sea that gradually approaches a beach; it's a wet pit with vertical walls." She probes the depths of rape victimhood and its social connotations, comparing expectations to "be a perfect little broken princess" with the reality of her situation. As a writer obsessed with details, Winslow researches her attacker, finding his dating site profiles and his sister's Facebook page and noting that with each discovery he "keeps getting smaller... piece by piece." Faced with reticent friends for whom there is "my world... and the world they live in, in which isn't happening at all," she develops surprisingly strong bonds with the detectives and legal team representing her case. When a personal tragedy is followed by a bombshell development in the case, Winslow must face dual griefs and seek out a new vision for closure. Her story is profoundly troubling, but the legitimate care and consideration of Winslow's legal support system is powerfully redemptive. Her account bravely illuminates a process many survivors of rape must endure.