JanB 's Reviews > I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
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it was amazing

Edited on 8/28/18 to add that filming is in progress on a Docu-Series based on this book. It seems to be in very good hands:
https://www.hbo.com/hbo-news/ill-be-g...

By now most of us know the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, has been caught and is awaiting trial. But few of us know the story behind the story. Michelle McNamara was an investigative journalist who created and operated the web site, True Crime Diary, where true crime aficionados discussed cold cases, and were dogged in their determination to pursue criminals.

But one case evaded investigators and police for decades: the rapist turned killer, dubbed The Golden State Killer (GSK) by Michelle. He was responsible for crime sprees across the state from 1974 to 1986, and known by various nicknames before police realized the crimes were committed by the same man.

This was the case that haunted Michelle McNamara, the one that interrupted family gatherings and holidays, the one that kept her up until the wee hours of the morning pursuing leads. No lead was too small or seemingly insignificant. To call it an obsession would not be an overstatement. Her motivation? To seek justice for the victims and put this rapist/killer behind bars. We get revealing glimpses into Michelle and her life through these pages.

The brutality of the GSK is the stuff of nightmares but Michelle McNamara wrote with sensitivity, avoiding some of the grisly details out of respect for the victims and their families. Her objective was not to titillate the reader, but to apprehend the criminal. This objectivity in her writing made reading this book much easier.

It’s unbearably sad that Michelle McNamara passed away at such a young age, leaving behind her loving husband and young daughter. She was not able to finish the book, but her husband put together a team with her researcher Paul Haynes and crime journalist Billy Jensen to finish the book, and do it in a way where Michelle’s voice shone through.

At publication, the case was still unsolved. It is fascinating reading the theories and clues that were explored, now, when we know who he is and have 20/20 hindsight. How this guy evaded police and investigators for so long would be difficult to believe in a work of fiction, but data sharing, forensics, and DNA evidence have come a long way since the 1970s. Michelle was convinced that they had all the evidence needed to catch him and it would be solved through technology. She was 100% correct.

• Read with The Traveling Friends reading group here on Goodreads. As always, our discussions enhanced the reading experience.
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Reading Progress

February 20, 2018 – Shelved
February 20, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
April 8, 2018 – Started Reading
August 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 73 (73 new)


message 1: by Nikki (new) - added it

Nikki I am thinking of adding this to my TBR list... so can't wait to read your thoughts on this one!


JanB Nikki wrote: "I am thinking of adding this to my TBR list... so can't wait to read your thoughts on this one!"

Nikki, This was a library book that had to be returned unread so I just bit the bullet and bought it. I have a long flight coming up next week and hope to read it then. I have heard such good things from friends whose opinions I respect.


message 3: by Lou (new) - added it

Lou I have been seeing this everywhere on here of late. Looking forward to reading your review once finished!


message 4: by Mackey (new)

Mackey Looking forward to your review on this one!


Elyse Walters me too --looking forward to your review!


Elyse Walters I have this too -- keep putting it off - Hope you are fully enjoying reading it.


JanB Nikki, Lou, Mackey, Elyse, I have had this on my shelf as "currently reading" for months, but didn't actually start reading it until August (life interfered...), thus the delay in writing a review. As you can see from my 5 stars I loved it and highly recommend it.


Jonetta Love your review, Jan! Well done.


message 9: by Holly (new) - added it

Holly  B Glad he is locked up! Great review Jan!


message 10: by Dana (new)

Dana Splendid review, Jan! I need to pick this one up.


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Fantastic review Jan! So glad you enjoyed this so much.


Meredith I can't wait to read this one! I'm on a long waiting list at the library!


Jaline - (on 2/3 hiatus) Fabulous review, Jan! This is another one that I would find very interesting, I think. Added!


Norma * Traveling Sister Fabulous review, Jan! I’m a little slow finishing this but looks like I have to pick up the pace a little.


JanB Jonetta wrote: "Love your review, Jan! Well done."

Thanks so much Jonetta!


JanB Holly wrote: "Glad he is locked up! Great review Jan!"

Holly, thanks! Yes, it's fantastic that this monster has been caught and will spend the rest of his days behind bars.


JanB Dana wrote: "Splendid review, Jan! I need to pick this one up."

Dana, thanks, it's a good one! I read/listened and the narrator is a good one too.


JanB Lindsay - Traveling Sister wrote: "Fantastic review Jan! So glad you enjoyed this so much."

Thanks so much Lindsay! :-)


JanB Meredith wrote: "I can't wait to read this one! I'm on a long waiting list at the library!"

Meredith, oh how I hate those long library waits. I think the fact that he's been caught and Michelle's untimely death has spurred interest in the book. Plus, it's a fantastic story!


JanB Jaline wrote: "Fabulous review, Jan! This is another one that I would find very interesting, I think. Added!"

Thanks Jaline, I think you would enjoy this one too. It's fascinating on many different levels.


JanB Norma * Traveling Sister wrote: "Fabulous review, Jan! I’m a little slow finishing this but looks like I have to pick up the pace a little."

Thanks Norma, so many books...haha, right? But I couldn't put this one down. I will look forward to your thoughts when you finish!


message 22: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Smith Fab review Jan 😊


Ramona Great review! I really want to read this one


Marialyce Can’t wait to read this one, Jan! Superb review as always! 💕


message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen Fantastic review Jan!


message 26: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Excellent review Jan!


Jeannie Great review, Jan!


message 28: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Fabulous review, Jan! I want to read it. My husband bought this and read it but I haven’t had time. Moving it up to read in September. 💖😊


message 29: by Susanne (new) - added it

Susanne  Strong Awesome review Jan! This sounds so good.. I'm just not sure I'm brave enough to read it!


message 30: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen I need to move this one up. Great review, Jan!


JanB Miriam wrote: "Fab review Jan 😊"

thanks Miriam! 😊


JanB Ramona wrote: "Great review! I really want to read this one"

Ramona, thanks! I hope you get the chance to read it - it's so good!


JanB Marialyce wrote: "Can’t wait to read this one, Jan! Superb review as always! 💕"

Marialyce, thanks my friend! I wish we could have read this together. It's well worth your time!


JanB Karen wrote: "Fantastic review Jan!"

Thank you Karen! 😊


JanB Kendall wrote: "Excellent review Jan!"

Thanks so much Kendall!


JanB Jeannie wrote: "Great review, Jan!"

Thanks Jeannie, I'm sorry it was only a 3 star read for you, but hey it happens, right? I hope you have many more 5 star reads in your future! 😊


JanB Tammy wrote: "Fabulous review, Jan! I want to read it. My husband bought this and read it but I haven’t had time. Moving it up to read in September. 💖😊"

Tammy, wonderful!! It would be a great book to discuss with your husband. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.


JanB Susanne wrote: "Awesome review Jan! This sounds so good.. I'm just not sure I'm brave enough to read it!"

Thanks Susanne, strangely I have been more haunted by some fiction featuring serial killers. Michelle wrote in a way that doesn't scare the reader unnecessarily. It's tough to read that monsters like he exists but a lot of the book is also about the detective's work and the forensics. It's not all about the details of the horrors of what he did. She wrote respectfully for the victim's families.


JanB Jen wrote: "I need to move this one up. Great review, Jan!"

Jen, you do! I hope you get a chance to read it. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


message 40: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz Excellent Review Jan!! I enjoyed this one so much!! McNamara truly was the substance behind the killers recent capture!!!


JanB Liz wrote: "Excellent Review Jan!! I enjoyed this one so much!! McNamara truly was the substance behind the killers recent capture!!!"

Liz, I loved your review too! I agree that Michelle McNamara deserves some of the credit for keeping this case alive, which led to his capture.


message 42: by Kaceey (new) - added it

Kaceey Excellent review Jan!!😊


message 43: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Fantastic review Jan glad you enjoyed :)


message 44: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Awesome review, Jan!!


Donna Davis Great review, Jan. This is on my to-read list, but I was ambivalent before I read your take on it. I am relieved to hear you say it is objective in tone.


JanB Kaceey - Traveling Sister wrote: "Excellent review Jan!!😊"

Thanks Kaceey! 😊


JanB Lisa wrote: "Fantastic review Jan glad you enjoyed :)"

Thanks Lisa!


JanB Deanna wrote: "Awesome review, Jan!!"

thanks so much Deanna!


JanB Donna wrote: "Great review, Jan. This is on my to-read list, but I was ambivalent before I read your take on it. I am relieved to hear you say it is objective in tone."

Thanks Donna, I'm glad my review helped you make up your mind. I hope you enjoy! 😊


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Great review, Jan!


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