There’s never been a true crime buff as passionate as Michelle McNamara. The blogger and freelance writer was known for diving headfirst into the crimes she covered, showing a true interest in the genre. The case that had the strongest hold on her was that of the Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist, whom she dubbed the Golden State Killer. In fact, it came to encompass her life so much that she dedicated an entire book to the case, titled I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer.
One read through of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark will show any true crime fan how researched McNamara was when it came to the Golden State Killer. Thorough and well-written, the book is filled with so much information that even someone with little to no knowledge of the case will leave feeling they know as much as the investigating police departments. An admirable feat, considering how deep this case runs.
The Golden State Killer was a ransacker, rapist and murderer whose reign of terror kept those in Southern California on edge during the 1970s and 1980s. With numerous cases connected to him (and even more suspected), he managed to allude police for decades, despite the amount of evidence against him. McNamara covers the entire case, from the first suspected victims to the use of new DNA technology to connect crimes not previously attributed to him.
One of the best things about I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, aside from the way it’s written, is how personable McNamara’s style is. The reader comes to feel they know everyone involved in the case, from the victims to the detectives investigating. It’s not your typical dry content some have come expect from true crime non-fiction. It’s the opposite of that.
The only negative about the book is that it, at times, feels a bit disjointed, due to its multiple authors. Unfortunately, McNamara passed away before its completion, so Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen had to fill in the blanks and complete chapters. However, this doesn’t take much away from the book’s content, and the reader will feel the pair care about the case just as much as McNamara did.
Overall, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is a definite must-read for any true crime enthusiast, especially given recent developments in the Golden State Killer case.