I have completely thrown my TBR list out of the window to read this book, I just needed a bit of a change.
The masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from the late Michelle McNamara.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark offers a unique snapshot of suburban West Coast America in the 1980s, and a chilling account of the wreckage left behind by a criminal mastermind. It is also a portrait of one woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth, three decades later, in spite of the personal cost.
Updated with material which takes in the extraordinary events that followed its initial publication, Michelle McNamara’s first and last book is a contemporary classic – humane, haunting and heroic.
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True crime is a genre that I sometimes struggle with, it is something that I find interesting but I know that it is usually detailing a horrific experience for someone else, so I am quite selective about what I will consume. I think that I was intrigued by I’ll Be Gone In The Dark because I knew going into the book that the Golden State Killer had been apprehended and of course that the author didn’t get the chance to finish the book or get to see her journey with this story through to the end.
I found the authors writing so immersive, she creates an atmosphere and a sense of the chilling terror that GSK inflicted on his victims but without it being gratuitous. I was fascinated by how far down the rabbit hole she had fallen in this particular case, but you can definitely see that dedication reflected in this book. It is also reflected in the chapters that had to be finished posthumously, the fact that she had so much research and had already written so much on the subject, that the people who finished the book were able to continue the story and keep her voice throughout.
It is both captivating and terrifying the story of how one man managed to elude detection for so long and cause so much grief without really leaving a trace of who he was. It was hard to have a clear image of him in my head because each person had a slightly different account and his actions lead to lots of different conclusions. I could understand why the author got so obsessive over this case, when they had so much information but just lacked the pivotal pieces to bring this person to justice.
Of course reading it now there is also a bittersweet feeling to the book, knowing that she was so close to getting closure. Thinking of all the time and effort that she put into this work and then not getting to see the impact that she made. I do think that that is the draw of this book not just to see the impact of the Golden State Killer but also to delve into Michelle’s story and the influence that had on the visibility of the case.