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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.
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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.
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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

4.7 out of 5 stars 12,764 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Review

“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.” -- Alexandra Alter, New York Times

“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

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Product details

  • 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
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 12,764 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
12,764 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 5, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2018
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399 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Andy
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior account of a shocking true crime
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2018
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26 people found this helpful
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Bob
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling book by a dedicated author.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 15, 2018
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18 people found this helpful
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Catherine Poe
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2020
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7 people found this helpful
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Emma
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark tale, but not lacking in humanity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2018
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9 people found this helpful
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Hilary
5.0 out of 5 stars Michelle’s relationship with the investigators of these crimes demonstrates her professionalism
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2018
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14 people found this helpful
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