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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.
Holding my newborn daughter, I got it. I got the love that guts you, the sense of responsibility that narrows the world to a pair of needy eyes. At thirty-nine, I understood my mother's love for me for the first time.
He pointed a knife at her and issued a chilling warning: "Make one move and you'll be silent forever and I'll be gone in the dark."
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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer Paperback – February 26, 2019
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An Amazon Best Book of March 2018: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara’s compelling investigation of the “Golden State Killer,” who terrorized northern California from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, is one of the best true crime books to come along in a decade. It’s the story of two obsessions: McNamara’s obsession with the criminal, and whatever abhorrent obsession drove him to commit a series of horrific rapes and murders over ten years. The author, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, describes the crimes and examines clues in an effort to uncover his identity. Occasionally, she challenges convention by inserting herself into the narrative (at one point, she even writes directly to the Golden State Killer), and the book acquires even more personal weight when one takes into account the fact that McNamara, at the age of 46, died while writing it. Knowing all of this, and with each chilling description, McNamara’s obsession begins to become our own. She believed that the Golden State Killer would still be alive today. You will discover yourself hoping she’s right, so that you can see him captured and brought to justice. -- Chris Schluep, the Amazon Book Review
“Unputdownable.... Powerful.” -- Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
“This is a one sit-down read. That’s how riveting it is. Very few writers have the skill to bring a decades-old cold case to life; in these pages, Michelle McNamara has not only successfully resuscitated the fascinating case of the Golden State Killer, but done so with humanity, insight, and grace.” -- Michael Connelly
“A singular, fascinating read. It’s lifelike in its incompletion... a posthumous treasure that feels thrillingly alive. A-” -- Entertainment Weekly
“What makes McNamara’s work so compelling is her empathy and sensitivity toward the people touched by these crimes.... I wish I could read the next 10 books she would have written.” -- Kate Tuttle, Los Angeles Times
“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 King
“Both a vivid and meticulous investigation of a twisted predator who terrorized quiet, upper middle-class communities in California for nearly a decade, and a wrenching personal account from a writer who became consumed by her subject.” -- New York Times
“Remarkable… The detective’s nose for the crucial clue transmutes so easily into a novelist’s eye for the concrete detail that conjures a memory or emotion. She applies the same gift to a handful of portraits of people affected by the killer’s crimes.... These read like fragments from Raymond Carver stories, tales of ordinary lives fractured by incomprehensible violence. Had she lived, McNamara might have helped identify the man who committed that violence, but before she died, she did something nearly as miraculous: making them all live again in some small way.” -- Laura Miller, Slate
“This book just knocked me over.” -- Megan Abbott
“Utterly gripping.” -- People
“A powerful portrait of the scale of the Golden State Killer’s crimes, of the mechanics of criminal investigations, of the strange particular dread and paranoia in the California in the 1970s, and of McNamara’s own obsession with violent men, and this one violent man.” -- San Francisco Chronicle
“Breathtaking, ambitious, and exquisitely written.” -- New York
“Michelle McNamara was an obsessive. She was also a damn good writer. That combustive mix has produced I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a dark page-turner.... Scintillating.” -- USA Today
“That the book feels triumphant even after tragedy upon tragedy is a testament to McNamara’s skill as a reporter.” -- Esquire, “The 25 Best True Crime Books Every Person Should Read”
“Narrative true crime journalism at its very finest, a complex, multilayered, chilling portrait of a faceless monster, and a remarkable tribute to the woman who, up until her last day, believed she would one day have him in her crosshairs.” -- Village Voice
“Any true crime project is basically a reckoning with death, but in this case, it’s a reckoning that is no longer theoretical. McNamara is gone. And what’s especially sad about her absence is just how good she was.” -- The Portland Mercury
“Remarkable.... A modern true crime classic.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Chilling.... Hard to put down.” -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The work has many notable qualities — in particular, a penetrating and elegiac voice.” -- Seattle Times
“Impressive.” -- Booklist, starred review
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Illustrated edition (February 26, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062319795
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062319791
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This is not your normal true crime book. Those books have already been written and this fact is addressed by Michelle numerous times. This book is about Michelle's time spent researching this case. So, of course, this book jumps around because it follows her and her research. She started this as notes for her website or podcast, and it grew from something she happened upon to something that she couldn't stop focusing on. She is a beautiful writer, and I was drawn into the story from the first page. The portions about her, including her childhood, at times feel like the reprieve from the darkness they were meant to be, but are not any less interesting. I would read an entire book about the crime she referenced from her childhood. That brings me to why this book was at times hard to read, besides the obvious darkness of the subject matter. Many times when I'm reading, I find myself pausing to buy everything else the author has written. Of course that is not possible here, and many times while reading I thought about her family and friends and what a horrible loss they have suffered.
I highly recommend this book to any lover of true crime. SSDGM
The subject is a serial rapist and murderer, who committed crimes from the 1970s through 1980s. Police and FBI agents tracked the case from city to city and once DNA testing came to be, it was confirmed that the crimes were in fact all committed by one person, however he still eluded them.
McNamara was determined to understand who he was, to find him. She immersed herself in each case. With each law enforcement officer. They welcomed her. She was one of them. Her research is staggering.
Even if you are used to reading terrifying details that accompany true crime, this is one that you will need to brace yourself for. It is not easy to read. It is haunting. The crimes that the Golden State Killer committed are beyond sadistic, truly the actions of a disturbed mind. There were times that I thought about putting the book down. I wasn’t sure I could finish it. It wasn’t about what he did that intrigued me, it was about what the author was doing to find him.
That Oswalt lost his wife and was grieving, that their young daughter was left without a mother (he has since recently remarried) but he was able to take his wife’s work and put her book out in the world is nothing short of incredible. As he said: “I wanted to do right by her.”
I'm not a huge fan of the true crime genre, exactly. I've enjoyed a true crime novel now and then, but it isn't a genre I reach for often. But that said, I know the transformative power of a truly well-written crime book. Truman Capote's In True Blood introduced me to the narrative non-fiction genre, and it completely changed my life. I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the same kind of transformative book. It is the kind of genre-busting, heart-breaking, world-shaking book that will introduce a whole new generation of readers to the power of non-fiction done well.
Not only does the pitch-perfect pace grab the reader by the wrist and pull them breathlessly along, but the book walks the line between memoir and true crime in a way that has never been done so flawlessly before. McNamara takes the reader on an emotional journal that is at times shocking, entertaining, joyful and devastating.
I don't care if you are into true crime... you need to grab this book and set aside a day to wrap yourself up in its story obsession - both good and bad.
Top reviews from other countries
McNamara's writing is compelling, and vividly captures the horrific nature of the crimes without ever seeming lurid or sensationalising the detail. Throughout, McNamara balances the chilling events with the real human impact of the crimes upon victims, loved ones, and investigators. It is this concern for people (and particularly the victims) which elevates I'll Be Gone in the Dark above other true crime writing.
I highly recommend this book.
I read in todays press (UK) the 26 April 2018 - and on the American websites that a man has just been arrested and charged with four of the murders. He was an ex police officer. I only finished reading this very worthwhile book a few weeks ago. Michelle McNamara deserves a lot of credit for keeping the case 'alive' and communicating with the different law agencies. I hope this fact does not get forgotten and her family should be very proud of her. In her book she writes a letter to a future time when the GSK would get caught and face justice. At the end of this man's trial this letter would make a fitting 'collective' victims statement and should be read aloud to him in open court. Well done Michelle McNamara and well done to all officers and scientists and technicians who have managed to corner their prey.
A very well researched book. Reads a more like a novel than a simple recount of criminal activity. The author did a good job and it is a great shame
she passed away before seeing the book in print - or even better seeing the EAR/ONS (read the book) brought to justice. It is not a spoiler to report that he/she is still at large. If this person ever gets arrested and charged Michelle McNamara should be recognised as the person who kept the 'heat' on this evil low life.
Firstly it's mentioned so many time that she coined GSK moniker, but through the book he is beng referred to as EAR or EAR-ONS. So it raises a question as of at what point did she come up with the name and how?!
I also think in all the extra bits in the end they could've at least given us some details to tell if they were anywhere close with clues, geo profiling etc. I understand they won't insert it into main body of the book, but rather than going through it yourself and Googling, it would be nice to have kind of a closing statement.
Did this book help to catch him? In my opinion - no.
The book is terrifying, as the Golden State Killer's crimes are some of the worst I have ever heard of, but it can also be quite sad and poignant. When Michelle discusses the victims and survivors, you can tell that she really cares about them and would give anything for them to get the justice they deserve. Then, when Michelle's writing ends abruptly due to her untimley death, I was overwhelmed with disappointment that she didn't live to hear the cell doors slam closed behind Joseph James DeAngelo, as her husband Patton describes in his afterword. It really is a pity that she didn't get to see the man that she had chased after for years finally get his comeuppance, although I am sure her work on the case contributed greatly to his identification and capture. Not to ignore the fantastic Paul Holes and the other investigators who worked on the case.
The epilogue entitled "Letter to an Old Man" is wonderful, and leaves quite the impression, especially since I was readng this after Jospeh James Deangelo had been caught.
A riveting, if dark, read.
Michelle’s relationships and conversations with the investigators of these crimes demonstrates her professionalism in the field. Even though the book had to be completed from notes and research left behind by Michelle, the book tells the most coherent story of the Golden State Killer you’ll ever read. By the end you’re hoping this guy eventually gets caught, for victims’ sake as well as for all of those who have worked on this case.