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Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,517 ratings  ·  359 reviews
Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn't have an ending. The killer was still out there.

But after the sudden death of a
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Sourcebooks
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Julie Yes, it's a true-crime narrative

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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,517 ratings  ·  359 reviews


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JanB
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to JanB by: Renee
True crime is having a moment. Growing up, I used to sneak read True Detective magazine under the covers. But now, those of us who are true crime fans can admit to our fascination without sounding too weird.

What drives an interest in true crime? Contrary to what some may believe, fans do not derive voyeuristic pleasure out of the misery of others. Investigative journalist Billy Jensen’s driving force is empathy for the victims and their families and the desire to make the monsters pay for thei
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Chelsea Humphrey
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Part true crime memoir, part DIY cold case solving instruction manual, Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders is a unique read that stands out in a sea of true crime novels. Billy Jensen has truly seen it all, and it was refreshing to read about horrific murders from a tender, caring, and emotional standpoint. Highly recommended!
Valerity (Val)
I reviewed a digital version of this book. The author was a friend and colleague of Michelle McNamera’s until she passed away while working on her true crime book, ‘I’ll Be Gone In The Dark.’ He is one of several who helped her husband to finish the book and get it published. This is his story, telling how he went from just reporting on stories to getting so frustrated that he jumped in and started solving them. He and Michelle had plans to work together at it as soon as she sent off her book ma ...more
Marialyce
4.5 stars

Sometimes a tragedy can spur one onto doing something, of taking a stand, of getting involved. With the death of his friend, Michele McNamara, the author of I'll Be Gone In the Dark, a book I read and so enjoyed, Billy Jensen becomes involved in the concept and tracking of killers who got away.

With the advent of DNA tracking, many, who were previously living among us, though that was denied the ones they killed, were fated to be found. While Ms McNamara died before the Golden State kil
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Johann (jobis89)
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Billy Jensen, who finished Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark following her untimely death, talks about his love for true crime and how he became involved in investigating unsolved murders.

Jensen provides a really fascinating insight into how he carries out his own investigative journalist and lays down the tools - and rules - to help you get involved yourself. I’m not 100% convinced that it’s a good idea to encourage people to get involved in trying to solve crimes on their own. There
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Natasha Niezgoda
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, true-crime
Body In Cat Litter - Say What?! Billy Jensen has seen it all!! 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

By now, you all know I live for true crime and so when Billy Jensen (friends with Karen and Georgia from MFM and he helped finish Michelle McNamara’s book) came out with his own book, I was all over it!

Jensen is an incredible storyteller and his road to becoming an investigative journalist is pretty cool. Chase Darkness with Me is an autobiographical view into Jensen’s start. He shares personal stories from his upbringing
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Fiona
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
RTC as per the publisher's request - but let's let the foreword (by Karen Kilgariff of My Favorite Murder) speak for me in the meantime:

It's a movie plot come to life. After years of difficult, thankless work, a reporter obsessed with justice gets the rare satisfaction of seeing justice finally served. Who doesn't want to read that immediately?
Renee (itsbooktalk)
4.5 stars
If you like true crime, especially in the form of investigative journalism, this audiobook is for you! I was initially drawn to this story because of Billy’s association with Michelle McNamarra in the amazing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark book from 2018. Billy worked closely with Michelle on her Golden State Killer case and after her death he was instrumental in helping to finish and get her book published.

In his new audiobook, Billy tells of how he developed a love of true crime and justic
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Jenna Bookish
My thanks to Audible for allowing me free access to this audio book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. This audio book is currently an Audible Exclusive. 



True crime can be a touchy subject. What are the ethics of consuming someone else's tragedy as entertainment? Jensen's work and the way he works to essentially crowd-source murder investigations means that this book necessarily tangles with some of the thornier ethical questions su
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Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.0 Stars
This is exactly the kind of true crime book that I love reading. Within each chapter, the author outlines a variety of interesting cases and shares how he uses social media tools to attempt to find justice for the victims. Some of the cases in this book have answers, while others still remain unsolved. It was fascinating to learn how he uses simple methods like posting information to Twitter and Facebook in order to try to solve major crimes. This book also partially reads like a memoir
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Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
CW: descriptions of murders

Billy Jensen is definitely a hero to me.

When I read this book, I kept talking about what he was doing to my half-interested parents. (They're not that into true crime, sadly.) How he helps solve crimes by geotargeting ads so people in that location near the crime, who may have seen something they didn't know was important, would be able to give tips.

I first heard about Billy from My Favorite Murder. I remember hearing him talk about what he does. Then I read I’ll Be Go
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Kristin
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
What starts as bingeable read about the author's evolution from crime fan, to writer, to amateur detective quickly becomes a repetitive recap of his attempts at social media crowd sleuthing (most of which fail to catch the criminal).

What I enjoyed most was the relationship Jensen has with his father. Where so many crime writers driving motivations are rooted in their own terrible, dark upbringings it's refreshing to read about someone whose obsessive interest is rooted in a childhood spent bondi
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Janelle • She Reads with Cats
I became a Murderino the minute I heard my first episode of My Favorite Murder. In their podcast, Hardstark and Kilgariff talked extensively about the Golden State Killer and Michelle McNamara’s I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK. And this is how I heard about Billy Jensen. I went to see Patton Oswalt, Billy Jensen, and Paul Haynes at my local Barnes and Noble during the book tour and it was awesome. So of course, as soon as I saw Jensen’s CHASE DARKNESS WITH ME was coming, I HAD TO HAVE IT. Even better, ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Choose Darkness With Me is a fascinating account of Billy Jensen’s passion for investigating unsolved crimes, and developing new strategies with which to solve them.

“Whenever people ask me why I only write about unsolved murders, I always say the same thing: because I hate the guy who got away with it.”

Jensen’s obsession with true crime began in childhood, inspired in part by his dad’s rather inappropriate bedtime stories. After earning a degree in Religion, and forays into a range of diverse pr
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Katie
Apr 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019-books
self-aggrandizing mediocre drivel
Jen
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t weird for being incredibly intrigued by true crime. Billy says we all have an origin story. That if you think about it for a minute, you just might realize what first got you interested in crime. For me, it was Silence of the Lambs. I wanted to be Jodie Foster so, so bad. Then there was the OJ trial. I remember watching the chase in my basement, the trial after that. Then there were the crime novels and then a book call ...more
Susan Albert
Still thinking how I feel about this book, which I just finished last night. Compelling reading, new-to-me material about the "citizen sleuth/citizen detective" movement, by the man who helped finish Michelle McNamara's posthumously-published I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.

Valuable here: Jensen's documentation of the work of people involved with online "crowdsolving" (new word for me) and the "websleuths" community. As a writer of crime fiction
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Kate R
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
I read ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara, and knew I needed to get my hands on this one. Billy Jensen helped finish Michelle’s book after she passed. In this book, he gives some behind the scenes and things from his POV. This book also has how they eventually caught the Golden State Killer, and that is fascinating in itself. The rest of the book contains Jensen’s background and the cases that have captivated him. Jensen is an incredible writer, giving facts in a very informative bu ...more
Kristen
I have been a fan of My Favorite Murder for quite some time, so naturally, when Jensen and Holes released The Murder Squad podcast, I was on board. So, of course, I excitedly picked this up. The beginning was fast paced and interesting, filled with all of the true crime goodness, but also a lot of great anecdotes from Jensen’s childhood. Maybe appropriately given the slog that was the beginning of Jensen’s career, the middle began to lag. It was then I started to notice the eye-roll inducing cha ...more
Gabe
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into this book with no expectations. I've listened to My Favorite Murder since the beginning and was familar with Jensen as a result of the podcast (which he was a guest on during the GSK drama) and the book he helped complete after Michelle McNamara's death (I'll be Gone in the Dark).

In this book, Jensen takes the reader through his childhood, when his father would show him newspaper articles about criminals being caught. This was the beginning of his love of true crime, which lead to h
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Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
I'm not a person who normally highlights quotes from a book. I never think about compiling a list of phrases that resonate with me, or impress me. And now that I've found the book that I want to highlight and share the words of, I'm so sad that it turned out to be an ARC, because the things that Billy Jensen has written about here are so pertinent to life. Crime and death are things that have touched everyone, and Jensen is sensitive to this during the entirety of the book.

Billy Jensen is a repo
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Sarah Titus
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the other side of true crime. The side without answers, the messy side. Billy Jensen is trying to do something new to solve the hard cases—creating an army of volunteers online to help fill in the gaps—to bring peace to families and justice to perpetrators. This is an amazing read. It’s inspired me to think about doing more with my time and my skillset to help. You should think about reading this. He could really use the help. All those people whose remains lay unidentified or whose murd ...more
Katie
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Billy Jensen puts everything he has into his work. It’s clear that bringing killers to justice is a great passion of his and it’s amazing just how many cases he’s been involved in.

I read this, of course, because I’m an MFM fan and now listen to the Murder Squad podcast (where Jensen pleaded with listeners to buy his book haha). His details about the Allenstown 4 case are truly harrowing and I had to do a doubletake when he mentioned the killer had once lived and worked in my small hometown of S
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Neville Longbottom
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
4.5 - I’m fascinated by true crime and unsolved mysteries. I have phases where I’ll spend too much time on the Unresolved Mysteries subreddit. I listened to the first season of the In the Dark podcast two times. I’m definitely not a true crime buff by any means, but I like checking in on that realm from time to time.

This book caught my attention when I found out that Billy Jensen was one of the people who helped finish Michelle McNamara’s book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Se
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Danae Pritchard
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have so much admiration for Billy Jensen, and I'm thankful for being introduced to his work through MFM. His book clearly demonstrates his passion to help victims, survivors, and their families. I enjoyed how he tied in his own family story and how working with Michelle McNamara led him to what he's doing now. As for the cases, yes, I've heard about most of them through The Murder Squad, but yes, I still liked reading about them too. For some of the cases, I honestly would have loved more deta ...more
Jade Wright
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Billy Jensen is fantastic - need I say more? No.. but I will.
Chase Darkness With me is an in depth look into investigating / solving murder cases. It's extremely personal, inspiring, motivational, gut-wrenching and devastating all rolled into one.

He shares his story of getting to know Karen and Georgia (if you don't know who they are.... I have no words,) Paul Holes and Michelle McNamara. I read I'll Be Gone in the Dark last year and I feel as though Jensen's book is a great companion to it as
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Bee
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come.
Katherine "Kj" Joslin
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just love the book, the concept of a victim's advocate/citizen detective and basically anything to do with Billy Jensen. I learned of Billy Jensen through the untimely, unfortunate death of Michelle McNamara and the release of her book about the Golden State Killer. I am in awe of those who do crime writing and those who strive to make a difference in the world. I appreciate the information but more over I appreciate knowing that there is someone out there who just wants to help ease the pain ...more
Fern
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting tale. But tone teeters on bombastic. Persisted because of the true crime element. And there is the engaging idea that crowd sourcing can work for crime solving.
Cheri
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a quite a bit of true crime over the past year or so and Chase Darkness with Me is one of my favorites. I was drawn to it for a few reasons: it was cheap on Audible, I loved Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, and I fantasize about solving cold cases and wanted to read about someone who ended up doing it.

Jensen, who also narrates the book, lays out numerous cases that he worked on and I was interested in all of them. W
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An American true crime investigative journalist and producer, focusing on unsolved crimes, citizen detectives, and crowdsolving, I’ve written crime stories for Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the New York Times. Referred to as an expert on amateur digital detectives by both MSNBC and Al Jazeera America, I presented the panel “Solving Murders With Social Media” at the SXSW ...more
“If you get killed in America, there is a 38 percent chance your killer won’t be caught.” 0 likes
“Things only became real when I would tell him,” he said. “And much of the work I was doing was for him, to make him proud, to make him happy. My dad was kind of like the cashier window at the casino. Things that would happen were just chips, but when I told my dad, it would turn into money. And that went away.” 0 likes
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