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True Crime General

Under the Bridge

by (author) Rebecca Godfrey

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2024
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Aug 2019
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Nov 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


It has been a long road to justice for Reena Virk, beaten and murdered at the hands of her teenage peers. The murder of this girl is one of the most notorious and heartbreaking cases in Canadian history. Here, for the first time, acclaimed author Rebecca Godfrey reveals the stunning truth about a Canadian tragedy that captured international headlines.

Who were the seemingly ordinary suburban teenagers who found themselves under the bridge in Victoria, BC, on the night of November 14, 1997? Why would a girl who longed to be their friend be beaten and killed? And how did so many teenagers keep terrible secrets from parents, teachers and police for eight days? These are the questions all of us have been asking, and in Under the Bridge the answers are revealed in a stunning narrative. Godfrey spent six years researching the case, conducting exclusive interviews with parents, classmates, police, prosecutors and, perhaps most importantly, several of the youths, including Warren Glowatski, one of the two teenagers convicted of murdering Virk. Godfrey also witnessed firsthand the many trials of Kelly Ellard, also found guilty of killing a girl who just wanted to fit in.

About the author

REBECCA GODFREY was an award-winning novelist and journalist. Her first novel, The Torn Skirt, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Under the Bridge received one of Canada's largest literary awards, the British Columbia Award for Canadian Nonfiction, as well as the Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Crime Writing. She held an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and received fellowships from Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. She taught writing at Columbia University, and lived with her family in upstate New York. She died in 2022.

Rebecca Godfrey's profile page


  • British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
  • Arthur Ellis Award for Non-fiction

Editorial Reviews

“Godfrey’s portraits are complex and unsentimental. . . . A homicide is best told as a story, and this marvelous book makes this very clear.” — The Globe and Mail

“Easily one of the most harrowing nonfiction books of the year. . . . Godfrey cannily shifts perspectives, which allows for insights not only into the legalities of the case but also into the minds of the teens involved. This is a dark ride.” — Vancouver Sun

“A skilled and emotionally compelling investigation into the dark heart of adolescent society . . . a complex interwoven narrative of the events that is at once intimate and detached. . . A keen-edged and heart-rending account.” — National Post

“Both tragic and cathartic.” — The New York Times

“A modern day Crime and Punishment that keeps you on the edge of your seat. A stunning book that manages to terrify and enlighten at the same time. I reread it on a regular basis to remind myself what the best, most empathic crime journalism can be like.” — Gary Shteyngart

“A brilliant, compassionate retelling of a horrific murder.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“Intelligent . . . insightful . . . will be remembered for years.” — Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita

“Dreamy, mysterious and ultimately terrifying.” — Megan Abbott, author of Give Me Your Hand

“A swift, harrowing classic, perfect for these unnerving times.” — Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation

“Lipstick, platform shoes and braces have never felt more menacing. The book reads like a breezy bestseller, but it’s Godfrey’s in-depth reporting that gets under your skin.” — GQ

“In this groundbreaking book, Rebecca Godfrey writes with insight and compassion . . . She unspools a story that feels only too relevant today—an outsider yearning to fit in, a Queen Bee holding on to her crown, and an unfortunate misfit in the wrong place at the wrong time.” — Stephanie Savage, co-creator, Gossip Girl and Marvel’s Runaways

“An in-depth look at the social circumstances and societal and cultural influences that led to this horrific event.” — Tobias Carroll, Rolling Stone

“Offers an insightful perspective into the challenging, disturbing pressures of adolescent life in the 21st century. A must-read for parents and educators.” — New York Daily News

Under the Bridge, as does In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, defies and transcends genre. Yes, the crime—a gang of teenage girls plotting and carrying out the murder of another—is horrific, but make no mistake about it: Godfrey’s book is a brilliant work of literature.” — Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of Rabbits for Food

“An intelligent, insightful book that will be remembered for years.” — Baltimore Sun

“Godfrey, who mixes novelistic suspense with a journalist’s key eye for detail, does a terrific job of presenting the facts and letting readers decide how to judge the accused.” — Bustle

“Will keep anybody with a brain and a heart reading into the night.” — Knoxville News Sentinel

“Hypnotic, obsessive, wonderfully transformative.” — John Guare, author of Six Degrees of Separation

“Haunting . . . phenomenal cinematic raw material.” — The Hollywood Reporter

Under the Bridge is a prodigiously researched and carefully observed account of a senseless murder and its aftermath. Rebecca Godfrey brings a sympathetic imagination and a finely tuned ear for language to bear on a dark subject, with spectacular results.” — Evan Cornog, publisher, Columbia Journalism Review