Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK | Michelle McNamara
02.27.2018 | Harper
Rating: 5/5 stars


For more than ten years Northern California was haunted by an unknown, violent predator who committed fifty sexual assaults in the area. He then moved south in California and his reign of terror expanded to murder. This man became known as the East Area Rapist. One day he simply disappeared. He was never identified. There was never a solid lead on who he might be. He was never captured.

He pointed a knife at her and issued a chilling warning: “Make one move and you’ll be silent forever and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

Michelle McNamara stumbled upon the case decades later and become obsessed with finding out who this criminal was. She dubbed him the Golden State Killer. She found a community of like-minded individuals also passionate about bringing justice upon the man who committed these crimes. She gathered extensive amounts of data, case facts, interviews, and anything that would shed some light on identifying the killer. McNamara’s untimely death lead to the book being completed by a close colleague. Within these pages lies the truth and search to unmask a killer.

Most violent criminals are impulsive, disorganized, and easily caught. The vast majority of homicides are committed by people known to the victim and, despite game attempts to throw off the police, these offenders are usually identified and arrested. It’s a tiny minority of criminals, maybe 5 percent, who present the biggest challenge – the ones whose crimes reveal preloaded preplanning and unremorseful rage.

I’m not typically much of a non-fiction reader, but I have a soft spot for true crime. I originally saw I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK all over social media and knew I wanted to read the book and then when the killer was caught I knew I had to read the book. Michelle McNamara’s dedication to research and investigating the Golden State Killer is absolutely amazing! There truly is no other way to categorize the level of detail that went into this book. After page one I was hooked and wanted to run off to Google everything. Luckily, McNamara already had everything I needed within these pages, aside from what has happened since the release of the book of course.

It takes hubris to think you can crack a complex serial murder case that a task force representing five California jurisdictions, with input from the FBI, hasn’t been able to solve, especially, when your detective work is, like mine, DIY.

Michelle McNamara and those who picked up after her have a writing style that is gripping and enticing while being saturated in facts. I think I shy away from non-fiction often because it can become unreadable and boring. That never happened with I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK. I was stunned what I read and at times downright terrified by this man’s actions. This is definitely not a book I recommend reading while home alone at night. I also listened to parts of this one on audiobook, which was a fantastic experience. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone!

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