I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara with Foreword by Gillian Flynn and Afterword by Patton Oswalt
A 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.
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Harper
Current Goodreads Rating: 4.26 Stars
This might be one of the best and most depressing books I've read this year. It's hard to admit to a book so brutally true and disgusting to be entertaining, but this was an emotionally heart wrenching roller coaster that had me on the edge of my seat. I have heard of this man, but I had no idea the details of all he had done. I didn't know the acts or the time frame and this was extremely educational without being too bogged down with technical jargon. I loved that you were able to see this case from the beginning. I was able to see with each passing year the evolution to the forensic analysis avenues available and how each new avenue like DNA or ballistics testing opened new doors. Even the mental development as Michelle never let a dead end slow her down and put her heart and soul into this fight. She never stopped and it got emotional hearing that she started writing this as well as her blog to make sure this man was caught no matter who found him in the end. Her desperation was humbling, beautiful, and heartbreaking. The afterword from her husband got me choked up and it's hard to imagine anyone not coming out of this changed and ready to fight with her for justice. I've just spent the subsequent hours immediately after finishing this book researching Michelle and the case because this story filled me with so much adrenaline and rage I got taste of what Michelle must have felt for years.
“I love reading true crime, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that, as a reader, I am actively choosing to be a consumer of someone else’s tragedy. So like any responsible consumer, I try to be careful in the choices I make. I read only the best: writers who are dogged, insightful, and humane.”
“He's the fake shark in Jaws, barely seen so doubly feared.”