Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Author: Michelle McNamara
Publisher: Harper 2018
Genre: Nonfiction - True Crime
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Popsugar - Published Posthumously; Nonfiction Bingo - Goodreads Winner
A 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 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated 10 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 18 and 30, 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 wouldn’t say that I exactly enjoyed this book. In my mind, it is very similar to Columbine. This is a book that I felt compelled to read, found the subject matter interesting, but derived no joy from the reading itself. However, I think this book is a very well-done example of a modern true crime. McNamara certainly had a way of constructing a narrative that put the reader right there with the terrified public and some of the victims. Even with the obfuscation of names, we connect deeply to the various victims of the Golden State Killer. We get frustrated right along with the various detectives, police, and forensics workers. I was amazing at how concisely McNamara connects all the dots. It is just sad that she did not live long enough to see the police catch the guy who instilled terror into the communities of California.
Next up on the TBR pile: