“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, 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.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind.
My Serial Killer Summer™ (ha) continues! There is no way I would skip this book, especially with the alleged killer being found, not to mention the hype!
McNamara deserves that praise for her writing – it’s engaging, chilling and fascinating. She spent years hunting down the Golden State Killer and details that search while describing many of the murders and rapes he committed. I’ve seen people on BookTube who had a hard time getting through the creepiest parts – understandably, the crimes are heinous. While I shivered a few times I never felt compelled to put the book down… not sure what that says about me.
What McNamara does better than so many ~cough male cough~ writers is that she respects and honors the victims. We hear their stories, how their life was changed – they are their own people and I greatly appreciate having their perspective.
On top of the tragedy of the crimes is the tragedy of the author’s unexpected death in 2016, before she finished the book. As a result some chapters were cobbled together from her notes and research. These sections are rough compared to McNamara’s amazing prose, but I’m not sure what else they could have done. It did make for a jarring experience, though, and lessened my… enjoyment?… of the entire book.
I listened on audiobook and got on well with the narrator, ending up at 1.8x speed. A pdf with maps and timelines is included with the audio files. I wasn’t sure I’d use it but it’s handy near the end as the detectives go hunting for patterns in the crimes.
I’m so sad that McNamara wasn’t able to finish her book and see the Golden State Killer brought to justice. Despite the choppiness it’s a great read and an easy recommendation for any true crime fan.