I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Michelle McNamara
Introduction by Gillian FlynnAfterword by Patton Oswalt“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it’s a brilliant genre-buster. It’s propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing. What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.”   —Stephen KingA masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case."You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.


Reviewed: 2018-05-24

I wish I could give it 5 stars, but can't. The topic it covers is already so complicated with so many pieces. And yet, the writer / editor thought it was a good idea to present the story in a "thriller" movie script way, jumping back n forth in time and what not. It didn't need artificial suspense creation and didn't need to be sensationalized. Before long, I lost track of sequence of events and treated all subsequent crime descriptions as "just another attack". By the time I finished part one, I was actually very infuriated at the way the events were presented. Right before this book, I had read Killer of the Flower Moon, another last century true-crime nonfiction. That book had everything described chronologically and was super engaging and easy to grasp. Wish this book was more like that.


For what it's worth, I am still glad that I read this book because now I know about this part of history, something that I didn't know before. Given the recent capture of the GSK using the genealogy method mentioned in the finishing chapters of the book, I am guessing there should be an updated version of this book soon. I would love to read that.

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