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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  11,330 ratings  ·  1,201 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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Sourcebooks (first published April 11th 2019)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  11,330 ratings  ·  1,201 reviews

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Start your review of Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders
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
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen is a 2019 Sourcebooks publication.

Gripping and personal journey into true crime reporting and crime solving-

The sheer number of cases that remain unsolved are mind numbing. We often focus on the crimes that make the big headlines, but for every one of those, there are numerous others that never make a blip on the public’s consciousness. Some cases go viral, such as the one where an innocent man is knocked unconscious, then hit by a car, then robbed while h
Sumit RK
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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.”

When you think about a True Crime book, it’s usually about some unsolvable crime or an elusive criminal. We rarely see the amount of work and determination that goes into solving mysteries. Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen is a fascinating real-life journey of Bill Jensen; from being a crime reporter to helping authorities in solving real-life cold
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! ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I dole out 2.5 stars as I wander into the wrong town.

It’s a case of me wandering into the wrong town; now THAT’S the true crime. But really, what is this fiction broad doing in true crime? The author helps solve tough cases by using social media. Interesting idea—but a whole book about how he came to do this? And then a how-to for others? I don’t think so. I went from bored to furious.

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!! I should have stayed in my own lane, continued reading exciting, made-up stori
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
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
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
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
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CHASE DARKNESS WITH ME was sad, informative and interesting.

Sad because of the author's relationship with Michelle McNamara; together they worked on the Golden State Killer case. Informative because of the tips the author shares with readers on how to investigate crimes themselves and interesting because there are a lot of new ways where non professionals can help the real professionals solve a case.

As a true crime buff from way back, I enjoyed this audio and I'm thinking about following the a
Natasha Niezgoda
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime, audiobook
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 upbrin
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
My true crime book reading binge is coming to an end because for every three I have read, only one has been enjoyable. The duds are usually guilty of having one or both of the following going on:

1) The author finds some obscure piece of information about the case and tries to sell it as a new and exciting revelation that makes their research stand out from the rest.

2) The author uses their own personal information as filler, which can change the tone of the book. What was once about the crime be
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
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
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't read much true crime, but the author had a really thoughtful, kind approach to telling these stories. he put the focus on the victims and this was quite moving. Some cases stuck with me more than others, but all in all, it's definitely a worthwhile read, especially if you were as gripped as I was by I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Billy Jensen's late friend Michelle McNamara.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at

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
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?
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Every year, 5000 more unsolved murders... Billy Jensen was a journalist who got fed up investigating murders that were never solved. This book is a fascinating examination of what Jensen did to find murderers and bring closure on unsolved cases. He used social media-mainly Facebook-to elicit help from people and get tips that would lead the police to find criminals.
His first success was a case that I remember well from the news, a case in which a man punched another man on a street in Chicago
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read a fair share of true crime, and I definitely have cases that I'm fairly obsessed with. Both Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer cases will continue to haunt me until the killers are found. Sadly, I don't think the Ripper cases will ever be solved, but I like to think they could be.

In the Addendum to CHASE DARKNESS WITH ME, Billy Jensen talks about his "white whale" or "my favorite murder" meaning a case that "grabbed you by the throat one day and still hasn't let go". The two cases I
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
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

So you want to solve murders huh? Well Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen will tell you how to do that!

As a semi-recent Murderio I was very excited to see this book had a forward by Karen Kilgariff and I was even more excited to learn Jensen talks about a lot of the cases I have heard on My Favorite Murder. I had no idea he was involved in so many murder and missing persons cases, and he really has seen it all. He also discusse
Apr 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019-books
self-aggrandizing mediocre drivel
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded to 4.
I dithered about the rating. This wasn't a bad book, but it definitely starts to drag around the 60 percent mark. I think if Jensen had followed the conclusion to the cases he introduces readers to through and moved on to another case it would have worked better. Instead the book starts off trying to do that, and then it goes into how he meets Michelle McNamara and her quest to find the Golden State Killer. And from there the book focuses on her death and it jumps around a lot to Jensen talking ...more
3 to 3.5 stars??

I’m very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I read it cover to cover as quickly as I could. On the other hand, there were a bunch of things that bothered me about it. The author was one of the people responsible for getting Michelle McNamara’s book I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer finished and ready for publication. And I appreciate that, because I loved that book. Jensen admits that he’s not the writer that McNamara was
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The answer to give when someone asks you why you like hearing about real-life murders. It’s the comfort of watching everything be put in its place after an episode of outright, sickening bedlam. True crime satisfies the same urge as watching blackhead-popping videos: there is a foreign element in an otherwise perfect environment, and it must be removed. Then everything resets to normal.”

Oh how I love a good true crime book!! These quotes SPOKE TO ME. I’ll be honest....I have never heard of B
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019, memoir, arc
I'm not chasing people. I'm chasing shadows, phantoms that flit in and out of a surveillance video. That's on a good night. On the other nights, I'm chasing darkness.

I'm not a True Crime aficionado, but as the genre seems to be “having a moment” right now, I've been receiving quite a few True Crime ARCS; and as I do like keeping up with what's on trend, I keep reading them. All to say: I'm not the perfect audience for Billy Jensen's Chase Darkness With Me (I didn't even recognise the author'
Janelle Janson
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
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Traci at The Stacks
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was just ok. It could’ve been a lot shorter and lacked a clear structure that flowed. I think Billy seems cool, but I didn’t feel connected to him at all. I love true crime and I wanted more of it. The writing is fine but didn’t impress me. If the book had been tighter I would’ve liked it more and it wouldn’t have felt redundant. There were some interesting parts but not enough to get me into this book.
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I'm not chasing people. I'm chasing shadows, phantoms that flit in and out of surveillance video. That's on a good night. On the other nights, I'm chasing darkness."

I was introduced to Billy Jensen while catching up on the podcast, My Favorite Murder, which in turn introduced me to his podcast The Murder Squad. I found this book while scanning the shelves at my favorite bookstore and had to scoop it up.

All those events luckily led to me being sooo happy I picked this book up! Jensen is a great
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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

Articles featuring this book

If a true crime audiobook is your idea of the perfect listen, then this post is for you. True crime has been enjoying something...
45 likes · 10 comments
“The biggest problem with true crime has always been its imbalance of villains to heroes. True crime is full of supervillains: Manson, Bundy, Gacy. But the superheroes are rarely acknowledged.” 3 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.” 3 likes
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