I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Introduction by Gillian FlynnAfterword by Patton OswaltA 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.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark Details

TitleI'll Be Gone in the Dark
Author
ReleaseFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062319807
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Mystery, History

I'll Be Gone in the Dark Review

  • Megan Abbott
    January 1, 1970
    I've been waiting for this book for a long time, having been a fan of McNamara's True Crime Diary blog (http://www.truecrimediary.com). While she hadn't finished it before her death, it is a remarkable book--both in terms of its investigative power and its superb, precise prose (and an excellent intro by Gillian Flynn and a poignant afterword by Patton Oswalt). But what makes it so special is how it becomes this living testament to the drive, strength and power of its author, a portrait of how h I've been waiting for this book for a long time, having been a fan of McNamara's True Crime Diary blog (http://www.truecrimediary.com). While she hadn't finished it before her death, it is a remarkable book--both in terms of its investigative power and its superb, precise prose (and an excellent intro by Gillian Flynn and a poignant afterword by Patton Oswalt). But what makes it so special is how it becomes this living testament to the drive, strength and power of its author, a portrait of how her ample mind operated, and how her heart interpreted. And for all of us who loved true crime from a similarly young age and for whom the fascination has never left, it feels like a lovesong from a fellow pilgrim.Don't miss it.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    This one didn’t quite do it for me. I found the story interesting because I knew absolutely nothing about this killer that got away (not a spoiler). The development of the methodologies to apprehend criminals was fascinating and many of the terms are commonplace today. It’s an uneven book and I found myself mentally re-writing sentences for clarity. The messy sentences (in places) may be the result of piecing together a book from the deceased author’s notes and trying to retain her voice. It’s w This one didn’t quite do it for me. I found the story interesting because I knew absolutely nothing about this killer that got away (not a spoiler). The development of the methodologies to apprehend criminals was fascinating and many of the terms are commonplace today. It’s an uneven book and I found myself mentally re-writing sentences for clarity. The messy sentences (in places) may be the result of piecing together a book from the deceased author’s notes and trying to retain her voice. It’s worth reading if you are a fan of true crime.
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    The Golden State Killer has never been identified. He terrorized a California community from the late 1970's to the late 1980's, had committed over 50 sexual assaults, and 10 sadistic murders. Since then, numerous law enforcement officers, theorists, and crime reporters have all had a go at this elusive criminal. True Crime Journalist, Michelle McNamara had made it her life's work to gather, collect, interview, and compile all that she could to bring us this chilling account of the crimes carrie The Golden State Killer has never been identified. He terrorized a California community from the late 1970's to the late 1980's, had committed over 50 sexual assaults, and 10 sadistic murders. Since then, numerous law enforcement officers, theorists, and crime reporters have all had a go at this elusive criminal. True Crime Journalist, Michelle McNamara had made it her life's work to gather, collect, interview, and compile all that she could to bring us this chilling account of the crimes carried out by this horrifying predator... Unfortunately, Michelle died suddenly while in the middle of writing this novel. With the help of her colleagues, this tale has come together with agonizing details. Her professionalism, prose, and precision have made this story so frightening that one must be in the company of others while reading it. Her expression is reminiscent of Joe McGinniss.
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  • viktoria
    January 1, 1970
    Confession: I'm what you would call a murderino. I listen to My Favorite Murder religiously, I watch the hell out of Investigation Discovery (City Confidential is amazing), and I listen to a few other podcasts. Sadly, I never read Michelle McNamara's work until after her death. After reading a few articles, I saved reading the rest until after I read this book. I'm going to try not to fangirl all over the place, but this was stunningly amazing. It was such a personal story. McNamara shared so mu Confession: I'm what you would call a murderino. I listen to My Favorite Murder religiously, I watch the hell out of Investigation Discovery (City Confidential is amazing), and I listen to a few other podcasts. Sadly, I never read Michelle McNamara's work until after her death. After reading a few articles, I saved reading the rest until after I read this book. I'm going to try not to fangirl all over the place, but this was stunningly amazing. It was such a personal story. McNamara shared so much of herself in this book without overwhelming it, and you really feel her dedication in the text. Her personal touch helps distract from the dehumanizing brutality of the crime very effectively. In a weird way, I almost felt like I had gained a friend during the book, like I was in the car driving with her or scanning through text-filled databases in the middle of the night, too, and that's a difficult feeling to evoke, especially in this genre. Likewise, the story focuses on the many of detectives (both law enforcement and less official sleuths) who worked the case and the victims as much as it does the killer. While you get to know McNamara and her story, you also get to know the generations of detectives and their tenacity, frustration, heartbreak, and courage. The suspense builds and falls as the investigators chase leads, then stall, and all the while, you hope for the big break in a way they've learned to not bet on so earnestly.The ending, however, is a little bittersweet. You know going in that the GSK remains uncaught and about McNamara's death, but both still hit me hard. Yet, throughout both McNamara's text and the ending by follow-up authors, there's an unwavering conviction that they'll catch the responsible one day, and when I finished the final page, that sense of resolve was the strongest emotion I felt.A few random things I loved worth mentioning:1. McNamara's unmistakable empathy for the victims, the detectives and LEOs, and the communities;2. She was never gratuitous describing the rapes or murders, yet she didn't sacrifice attention to detail or suspense;3. Likewise, she acknowledged the complexity of the crime and how difficult it's to catch the GSK because of it, but never festishized him, either. 4. (This might sound weird, but I've heard and read some accounts where they make rape sound like erotica or it's uncomfortably detailed and you want to throw the book across the room and clean it in bleach);5. She had such truly excellent, beautiful, and suspenseful writing.tl;dr: Seriously, I'll Be Gone in the Dark shows such exceptional, suspenseful writing and beautiful dedication. I cried at the end in the best of ways.pre-read: Of course, when I have four freaking books with a holds list that I have obligations to read, you, my beautiful love, come into my life, after I've been pining after you for months. You're only the book I've been most looking forward to ALL YEAR.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I read this with my heart in my mouth, not only because of the sinister topic of a serial rapist/killer who has never been named, but also because the author died while researching and writing the book. However, NcNamara and her follow-up authors did an excellent job of investigating these heinous crimes that took place over thirty years ago, and then writing and constructing a narrative that will not only chill your bones but cause a few sleepless nights. I was tempted to compare this to the ex I read this with my heart in my mouth, not only because of the sinister topic of a serial rapist/killer who has never been named, but also because the author died while researching and writing the book. However, NcNamara and her follow-up authors did an excellent job of investigating these heinous crimes that took place over thirty years ago, and then writing and constructing a narrative that will not only chill your bones but cause a few sleepless nights. I was tempted to compare this to the excellent true crime books by Ann Rule but Michelle McNamara has her own compassionate voice, and even though we know from the start that the killer's identity never been discovered, the reader will not be able to put this down. And the last chapter is perfection. Fingers crossed this book causes more information to be disclosed so the killer is found and brought to justice. This book has blockbuster written all over it.For another compelling report on an unsolved crime, read Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder, and for another excellent personal narrative of crime, try The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir.Thanks to the publisher for a very early reading copy.
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  • Shannon A
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most passionate investigations of one of the darkest times in American History; I could not put this book down. The dedication found within these pages to follow leads that end up hitting walls gives the reader insight into how one faceless man and his actions can haunt not only the victims, but those that hunt for the clues that will one day lead to justice. A book that will have you looking over your shoulder, and not quite able to sleep as peacefully as before you read it; but full One of the most passionate investigations of one of the darkest times in American History; I could not put this book down. The dedication found within these pages to follow leads that end up hitting walls gives the reader insight into how one faceless man and his actions can haunt not only the victims, but those that hunt for the clues that will one day lead to justice. A book that will have you looking over your shoulder, and not quite able to sleep as peacefully as before you read it; but full of hope because: This book is the flash in the darkness that has shed light on the face of a killer. Hope this review does Michelle's work justice.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent true crime.
  • Sam Mlyniec
    January 1, 1970
    Unputdownable. Empathetic and ominous and terrifying, like the best Graysmith.
  • Jen Naughton
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like Michelle, and I could have been friends had we ever met. I used to follow her on Twitter and her blog and admired her research skills. I was thrilled when I heard that her husband Patten Oswalt was going forward with this book after her untimely death.The Golden State Killer has never been identified. He terrorized a California community from the late 1970's to the late 1980's and had committed over fifty sexual assaults and ten murders. Michelle took the tools available today (like I feel like Michelle, and I could have been friends had we ever met. I used to follow her on Twitter and her blog and admired her research skills. I was thrilled when I heard that her husband Patten Oswalt was going forward with this book after her untimely death.The Golden State Killer has never been identified. He terrorized a California community from the late 1970's to the late 1980's and had committed over fifty sexual assaults and ten murders. Michelle took the tools available today (like DNA banks and Google street view) to piece together clues as to this man might be. Reading about the process is fascinating. Michelle was fastidious in her research and collected evidence, interviews, and worked with the police in order to solve these long-dead cases. Her descriptions and insights into the criminal behind these horrific crimes are chilling.Verdict- borrow (unless you are a true crime aficionado, then buy)
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  • KBev
    January 1, 1970
    This is another one of those WOW books. So intriguing, fascinating and creepy. Don’t be reading this book too close to bed! McNamara (and editors and friends) goes into great details of the Golden State Killer, as well as other serial murders and rapes, the history of dna testing, and how they used different methods to try to narrow their search. The whole aim of the book is to try to get more eyes on it so that someone somewhere may be able to put the final pieces of the puzzle together and fig This is another one of those WOW books. So intriguing, fascinating and creepy. Don’t be reading this book too close to bed! McNamara (and editors and friends) goes into great details of the Golden State Killer, as well as other serial murders and rapes, the history of dna testing, and how they used different methods to try to narrow their search. The whole aim of the book is to try to get more eyes on it so that someone somewhere may be able to put the final pieces of the puzzle together and figure out exactly who the Golden State Killer was. Fascinating, and I loved it. (Even though it really creeped me out)
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