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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
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Archive: Other Books > I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara 3 STARS

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Meli (melihooker) | 3682 comments The sheer number of crimes and length of time they went unsolved make the case of the Golden State Killer one of the most fascinating. The story of Michelle McNamara’s tireless search for his identity is equally so. Add to that the posthumous publication of her book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer and capture of Joseph James DeAngelo right on the heels of its release and you have a very compelling story with a rich history. Ultimately, the case itself and the history of how this book came to be are more interesting than the actual content in the book. If you are unfamiliar with the details of the GSK case, it could be more gripping, as the details are horrific and disturbing (but well publicized by this point). Readers more familiar with the case may not be as engaged.

Of course, McNamara was not alive to compile the book herself, so unfortunately it feels disjointed at times. That made the flow of the book the biggest weakness. It’s impossible to say how different the book would be with McNamara’s direct influence in its final construction, but it is impossible not to consider while reflecting on this read.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark had a lot of potential to be a classic true crime book, but in its current iteration I am afraid it is not quite to that level. Still, recommended for true crime fans, those interested in further reading on GSK, and fans of McNamara and her story.

Oddly, it is almost a must-read and not at the same time... I think her legacy, and subsequently the book, will stand the test of time, but not because the book itself is so great. It was middle ground for me, not great and not awful, but if it was reorganized it could be easily elevated from mediocrity.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I would love to read this book! The whole case is amazingly interesting. Did it include any type of afterword but a different author about the actually arrest of the Golden State Killer? I think that is a crazy story with reverse genetics through public genealogy sites! (and maybe not completely legal, I can't wait to see that court case).

But, alas, I cannot read this because I have a feeling I would never be able to sleep again for fear of rapists/murderers breaking into my house at night while I slept. I lost sleep after reading just news articles on the GSK.


Meli (melihooker) | 3682 comments Nicole R wrote: "I would love to read this book! The whole case is amazingly interesting. Did it include any type of afterword but a different author about the actually arrest of the Golden State Killer? I think th..."

No afterword regarding the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo because he was arrested a couple months after the book was published.

It definitely caused some restless nights for sure. He was a real monster.

I think the particular genealogy site they used was public, so legally searchable. There are other sites where they would've required a warrant for the information. But it will be interesting to see how this shakes out since he himself did not submit DNA for the site, a relative did... crazy stuff!


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