Katrina Marino works in a bar. Late one night on her way home from work she is brutally attacked outside her apartment building. Hearing her screams, her neighbours flock to their windows and look out at the assault. But they are all too busy with their own problems and quickly forget about Kat, slowly bleeding to death outside. Each assumes someone will have called the police, but no one does, leaving the seriously injured girl alone and at the mercy of her vicious attacker.
This is a very powerful and disturbing book, which stayed with me long after I had finished it. The story becomes all the more horrific when you realise that it is actually based on a true crime, where 38 people allegedly witnessed a woman being murdered and did nothing. Jahn's writing is brilliant, fluid and poetic and simple. He switches perspective with each chapter, jumping from character to character as the night unfolds. The book deals with so many serious and moral issues: euthanasia, war, racism, corruption, homophobia, paedophilia, wife swapping... it seems that none of humanity's darkest facets are left untouched.
And none of his characters are blameless. Anyone in the book could have saved Kat, just by picking up the phone. The chapters that take her POV are extremely moving, as she laments that she just wanted a hot bath after a long shift at work, but she is dragged away from her door by a strange man who is loitering in the night and made to suffer an appalling ordeal. The attacker is also given his own chapters, which makes his crime all the more disturbing, as we understand his desires and motivations.
Whilst horrible, this novel is extremely compelling and I read it in one sitting in a couple of hours. It is thought provoking and certainly made me question what my own reaction would be to witnessing a crime of this nature. A sad indictment of human nature - read it.