Review: I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

411n3qI1+eL.jpgA masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised 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, 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 – 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.

My review:

During last December, I had a very non-fiction week where I read three non-fiction books, two of which were true crime. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark was a truly fantastic read and I found it incredibly thrilling.

I first knew about this book when Renee told me she was reading it and as soon as the real killer was caught last year, I knew I had to read it too. The case was too fascinating. I did buy it several months ago but it wasn’t until I stopped checking my “blogging calendar” that I was able to blindly pick a book from the shelves without worrying about what I should read next. It was an amazing experience.

I love how real and down to earth Michelle seems from what she writes. She’s a normal woman married to an actor, and who happens to be a bit -okay, REALLY- interested in serial killers and unsolved cases, particularly the Golden State Killer (a nickname she created, by the way).

Although you already know how the story ends, that doesn’t make this book less interesting. I find it super tragic that Michelle died before her work was published and that this book was published before the killer got caught -only some months later-. Isn’t life weird?

Even if you don’t usually read true crime, this is a great book that’s never boring and it keeps you turning the pages as if you were reading pure fiction.

Are you familiar with the GSK case? What did you think of this book? Would you ever think of starting an investigation on a cold case on your own? 💙

15 thoughts on “Review: I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

  1. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    I found it a very interesting book even if it the final part wasn’t as neatly put together as the first. There were many many different ideas and paths, it was all quite fascinating. I read the novel before he was captured and I remember thinking or rather hoping one day they would catch him. It’s sad that she didn’t live to see this moment but I think this novel also did so much for the progression of the case.


  2. jennifertarheelreader says:

    I bought this one just as soon as it came out. There was a special on 48 Hours Mystery about a year before that highlighted Michelle’s work. You may be able to find it on YouTube? I still haven’t read this one though I am looking forward to it. Wonderful review, Annie! Good to know it was never boring.


  3. Susie | Novel Visits says:

    Great review, Annie. I loved this book, too. I listened to it and that probably wasn’t the best call because it was hard to look at the notes and to go back, but still it was just chilling. I lived in the Southern CA area where the book opened and at the same time. I was shocked that I hadn’t really heard about the killer back then. (College years…who pays attention to news?)


  4. Stephanie says:

    I just finished this on Saturday and loved it! I will admit that it freaked me out so badly that I was locking all the doors and made my hubby install an extra lock at the top of our sliding glass door since the GSK getting in through sliding glass doors scared me so much that I was staying awake at night (he works at night, so it’s just me and my 8-year-old at night!). I agree it was tragic that Michelle died before her book was completed and I so wish she had lived to see the monster captured! I cried at the end though…her letter to him just killed me…ugh! Fabulous review! ♥


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