Review of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

i'll be gone in the dark

Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Author: Michelle McNamara
Rating: 3/5 ⭐
Genre: Nonfiction/ True Crime
Age: Adult
Format: Audio 
Narrator: Gabra Zackman

From Goodreads: A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Michelle McNamara died April 21, 2016. This book was published February 27, 2018 posthumously from her early drafts, previous writings, and handwritten notes. The Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, was arrested April 24, 2018. So, you won’t read any discussion of the actual killer in the book. My audible audio version had an epilogue that discusses this fact but I’m not sure which other editions have it. 

The book is filled with Michelle’s research and theories and I found it really interesting to compare to what has been reported about the killer. There isn’t a ton but we do know that the theories that he was a veteran or police officer were both correct. We also know that theories about where he lived were wrong. However, we still don’t know why it is that he stopped in 1986. I won’t be able to stop myself from following his case to learn more! 

Overall, the book was just okay for me. I’m not sure how much pleasure I would have personally derived from it if the killer hadn’t been caught. It was mostly conjecture about and discussion of some seriously brutal crimes. Not that I think some people wouldn’t love this. My mom and sister love this kind of thing. It just isn’t really for me.

Furthermore, I wasn’t in love with the writing. There was a lot of repetition throughout the chapters and it felt a bit disjointed. I think a lot of it would have been edited out if Ms. McNamara was still alive but they used a lot of her prior writing instead. I could see the beauty of her writing in many parts but it just didn’t come together for me. 

The part I actually liked the most was the emotional afterward by her husband, Patten Oswalt which made me teary-eyed. I doubt that it was supposed to be my favorite part.

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