I’ll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn, Patton Oswalt

5/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)
Genre: True Crime, Autobiography, Biography
Published by: Harper, February 27th 2018
Pages: 352

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Being the first True Crime novel I’ve sat down with, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark did not disappoint. In fact, if all investigative journalism books are this captivating and well-written, I may have a new favorite genre on my hands… Although I believe it would be a stretch to assume that all others who contribute to this field are as tasteful, well-spoken, and as fascinating as McNamara was. Due to health reasons, she passed away before being able to wrap this one up.

This book is part True Crime, part Memoir, wherein McNamara details her decade-long obsessive hunt for the Golden State Killer. Oh and by the way, the word “obsessive” found in the subtitle is not just a flimsy catchword; McNamara was indeed fanatical with the serial rapist/killer who tore through California on a two decade-long spree. She spent hours scouring the internet late into the night, long after her husband and daughter went to bed, and seemingly did not blink until the sun rose. She was relentless in her pursuit, interviewing witnesses and detectives on the case, both retired and active, reconstructing crime scenes, analyzing evidence, and building her own psychological profile of the killer – a man who she would not be around to see be brought to justice.

McNamara conveys the unthinkable crimes committed by the elusive Golden State Killer in such a way that captured how demented and perverse he was, but somehow did so in a fashion that was not overkill; she wrote sensitively with a deep sense of compassion for victims, both female and male. There were times, after putting the book down for the evening, I was afraid to turn off the lights – something the journalist admits to, as well. I was both transfixed and appalled by McNamara’s chronicle of the GSK; the whole book, to me, felt like a car crash that I couldn’t look away from.

The narrative she creates, using the mountain of evidence that she spent years sifting through, is both rich and engaging. The reason this True Crime book stands out to me? I found that the subject of the novel was as engrossing as the woman who transcribed this shadowy time in history.

If you are dark and twisty like me, I highly recommend snatching this one up… Just be prepared to be suddenly wary of your safe place and fearful of the dark.

Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)


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