cover image When the Night Comes Falling: A Requiem for the Idaho Student Murders

When the Night Comes Falling: A Requiem for the Idaho Student Murders

Howard Blum. Harper, $32 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-334928-5

Journalist Blum (The Spy Who Knew Too Much) expands on his Air Mail coverage of the 2022 murders of four University of Idaho students in this mesmerizing true-crime account. Drawing on court documents and interviews, Blum reconstructs the early morning of November 13, when Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodel, Ethan Chapin, and Kaylee Goncalves were stabbed to death by a masked intruder in their off-campus apartment. Detectives arrested criminology student Bryan Kohberger after discovering security camera footage of his car at the scene, and Blum mounts a rigorous study of Kohberger’s troubled teenage years, pulling from lengthy conversations with his father. Blum also digs into the case’s many unanswered questions, including Kohberger’s motive, and why the victims’ neighbor refrained from calling 911 after seeing the assailant leave the apartment. The rigorous reporting is elevated by evocative prose (Goncalves’s grieving father “had become another victim, another innocent sucked down into the swirling vortex of the hostile, destructive force that had been set loose in the aftermath of that terrible November night”), though Kohberger’s upcoming trial means the narrative is necessarily incomplete. For now, however, Blum’s thorough account stands as the definitive chronicle of a shocking crime. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (June)

Correction: A previous version of this review incorrectly stated that the author covered the University of Idaho killings for the New York Times.