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Summary

Introduction by Gillian Flynn

Afterword by Patton Oswalt 

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. 

"You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark."

For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated 10 sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. 

Three decades later Michelle McNamara, a true-crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer". Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. 

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of 18 and 30, Caucasian, and athletic - capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim - he favored suburban couples - he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death - offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman's obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by Michelle's husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle's lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic - and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio. 

©2018 Tell Me Productions (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Narrator Gabra Zackman delivers this terrifying account... Her calm, objective voice makes the minute details of GSK's 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders in California chilling.... McNamara's research makes for intriguing listening, thanks to Zackman's restrained, intelligent presentation of the grim details." (AudioFile)

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a brilliant book.

Michelle's talent will be missed. I'm only glad that her work with Paul Holes resulted in this creeps capture. Pattons postword was so emotional.

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Couldn't get enough!

Loved it, Michelle McNamara was some woman for one woman. Paton should be very proud (of course he is!) Couldn't stop listening, will be re-listening. The narrator was great; easy to listen too.

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Kept me wanting more

Loved it, kept me excited and wanting more. Sad ending since you feel like your geting to know the author.

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great ready for any true crime fan.

great read for any true crime fan. 😁 😁 😁 😁 😁 😁 😁 😁

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a riveting hopeful read.

This is a read which despite the brutal subject matter manages to leave the reader filled with hope that the subject of the book will spend his final days in a cage.

MacNamera neither glorifies the Killer nor his actions and demistifys his actions and how it was more chance and circumstance that allowed him to evade capture.

By the end of the book the reader seems almost certain that he will be found in the very near future.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Trixie Runnin'
  • 04-03-18

Wonderful Listen to Scare Yourself in the Dark

Loved it! It was like listening to a police documentary with a soap opera story in the undertones. It is definitely a "foreground" book--I made the mistake of trying to do some work and cooking while listening... wound up with a pot of burnt noodles, a flashing cursor burnt into my retinas and three chapters in need of a complete rewind!
This is definitely a "coffee and cold rainy window" type listen.

89 of 96 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat - Audible
  • 02-03-18

A haunting masterpiece

As a fan of the true crime genre and Michelle's fantastic blog, I was so excited for this book -- and devastated to learn of Michelle's sudden death in 2016, when she was still writing it. As Gillian Flynn notes in the forward, a lot of us grapple with our fascination with true crime, and one way to approach it is by seeking justice, truth and compassion rather than voyeurism, misinformation and shallow answers. Michelle was always a crusader of the highest order, and her obsessive sleuthing and thoughtful reckoning of her own motivations (“We, who hunt him, suffer from the same affliction. He peered through windows. I tap ‘return.’ ”) shine through here with fierce humanity. If you don't about the Golden State Killer, also known as EAR/ONS, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" will pull you into the story of the faceless monster behind one of America's most notorious and horrific unsolved cases, but it is Michelle's voice that stays with you in the end. This book is a rare gem of dogged research and masterful writing that elevates it to the top tier of true crime. A special benefit of the audio version is hearing Gillian Flynn’s forward and Patton Oswalt’s moving afterword in their own voices. (It is also thanks to Oswalt, researcher Paul Haynes, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen that the book was completed.) I hope its legacy leads to what Michelle wanted most of all: an answer, and justice for the victims.

158 of 172 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenna
  • 14-03-18

If only...

If only Michelle had lived to see this book published. If only she had known how successful this book would go on to be. It’s beautifully written and beautifully researched. She gives details and makes her journey personal to the reader. She kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, but with every word I read my heart broke, not just for the victims and their families, but because Michelle had no idea the impact this book would have.

66 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 04-03-18

A story that leaves a scream stuck in your throat.

Gripping, chilling and absolutely engrossing, Michelle McNamara’s obsession to find the killer is a triumph. I couldn’t stop listening and finished this in a day. McNamara keeps you thinking, guessing and piecing together clues as well as interweaving her own life story into this finely shaped puzzle that will set your mind on fire. Thank you Patton Oswalt for completing this to perfection and amazing narration by Gabra Zackman.

53 of 58 people found this review helpful

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  • e.salmeron
  • 04-03-18

Masterpiece

Michelle McNamara has incited a flame that will lead to the finding of the Earon, of that much I am sure. Magnificently written, and emotionally gripping.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathy
  • 13-06-18

Written Mostly As A Tribute To Michelle

and also because a book deal had previously been signed which would lead to a documentary TV series. This reads more like a 'half book', as the author died in her sleep at the young age of 46 before her book (and her research) was completed. I was mostly disappointed in the content and the writing style--very disjointed, jumping around in time and a bit repetitive. However, it was an easy listen despite what I considered its failings. I loved the narrator. Gabra Zackman is wonderful!

I think what bothered me most about the book was that it didn't make me feel much. It seemed to skirt on the surface of the horror. Were they trying to make it palatable or protect us from the details? Were the living victims not interviewed by Michelle? Did she mostly review police reports and records?

I realize that alot of my discomfort with the story is that it really wasn't written by Michelle due to her unexpected passing. But given that the alleged killer was recently captured using new DNA methods, there is SO much that is missing and so many questions left unanswered . . . I can only hope that someone like Jack Olsen writes the complete story when more is known.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kerry Lesoine
  • 02-03-18

Amazing, I listened almost nonstop

The story was amazing and compelling. She really knew how to tell a story. I felt like I was physically with her on her hunt for this man.
I would recommend this book to anyone.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane R.
  • 01-03-18

True story made vivid like fiction!

I’m a huge Gillian Flynn fan but not normally True Crime reader but this was recommended in Vanity Fair and I decided to try it. So glad I did as the way it is read and put together makes it seem like a fictional story rather than just boring facts. It held my attention to finish it in one sitting. Read it or better yet - LISTEN.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren S.
  • 31-05-18

I really wanted to like this..

I wanted to love book but felt disappointed by the disjointedness of the book, which jumped around an exhausting amount. While the prose was artful, the substance was lacking and at times repetitive.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandy Moak
  • 08-05-18

This book will never be the same

I was a few chapters into this book when they caught him. I only wish Michelle was around to witness it. I can't remember the last time I've read or heard such rich prose, dripping with intention and grace. Michelle is a true champion of justice, and this book is only one of her countless contributions to evidence that.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful