Where Drowned Things Live describes the struggles of an untenured professor, Kristin Ginelli, as she tries to counsel a young woman student at her university and get her to reveal who is abusing her. Kristin fails, and the student is found drowned. As a former Chicago cop who quit the force over sexual harassment and the death of her detective husband in the line of duty, Kristin doggedly investigates this mysterious death, pushing back on foot-dragging by the university and obstruction by the Chicago police. Kristin is almost killed twice, but she does not give up on questioning why this student died.
The novel is wholly fictional. What is not fiction, however, is that often students at colleges and universities around the country are vulnerable to sexual assault and abuse and they can receive very little help from their schools or from law enforcement.
Today more than 300 schools of higher education are being investigated under Title IX for failures to prevent sexual assault and harassment on their campuses, and to deal fairly with reports.