I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara ~ 352 pages ~ published 2/27/18 by Harper Collins
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.
What I Thought:
I am a big fan of true crime. One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds. I’m not sure why (as I am a giant scaredy-cat, and won’t touch horror with a ten-foot-pole), but I have always found true crime to be fascinating. When I heard about I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, I had a feeling that I would really enjoy it. I finally got around to listening to it on audio, and I found that I was correct in my assumptions.
Now, I did make sure to strategically listen to this only during the daytime. This was a good decision, because in the couple of days that I was listening to it, every bump and sound in the night made me jump in fright! Thankfully we have modern technology that would prevent a serial killer/rapist from entering our home undetected, but it still a terrifying thought.
Speaking of him being a serial killer/rapist, I will say that this book definitely has some very triggering subjects, including rape, violence, murder…you get the picture. I’m a little sensitive to rape scenes in books and movies, but this book didn’t bother me too much.
Since this book was published posthumously, there were some sections of the book that were written or supplemented by McNamara’s editors. I will say that these parts were quite evident to me. The tone of the writing and storytelling was drastically different. So, that was a bit of a detraction for me. Also, it was a bit difficult to keep all of the victims and their storylines straight in my mind. I’m not sure if it was because I was listening on audio, or if it was just confusingly laid out in the book. The timeline tends to jump around a bit I noticed.
Overall though, I thought this book was well written, certainly well researched, and brought to light a prolific serial killer/rapist that was virtually unknown to the wider world. I found it fascinating, as well as unsettling. That is the perfect combination for true crime, so well done!
I gave I’ll Be Gone In The Dark 4 STARS! If you enjoy true crime, you will want to pick this one up!
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Have you read I’ll Be Gone In The Dark? Are you a fan of true crime? What are some other true crime books you have enjoyed? Let me know down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,