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I'll Be Gone in the Dark

One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, True Crime
4.5 out of 5 stars (496 ratings)

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Summary

Short-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize 2018 

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer - the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised 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 True Crime Diary, 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. 

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 her 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 on our desktop site.

©2018 Michelle McNamara (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dark, Compelling True Crime, But Material Missing!

This is a quite astonishing story, in fact maybe it's two stories. Michelle McNamara who sadly passed before the book could be finished and before the killer could be brought to justice lived an incredible obsession every day of her life. She did manage to write large parts of this story which was completed by her lead researcher and a close colleague. It covers her obsession which gets more understandable with every passing chapter. The Golden State Killer is an incredible story of how one single man was able to commit the most heinous of crimes over many years time after time while still evading capture. It almost beggars belief how he got away with it and baffled law enforcement agencies over decades.

The book tells that story and with Michelle's amazing depth of research it does it in detail. The lives that were destroyed: victims, family members, even children. It talks about how communities lived in fear of this man and how even the investigators that tried so hard but in vain to identify and capture him were left part-broken by their failures and constant disappointments. It talks about the online community of amateur sleuths of which Michelle was a part that kept the case alive dedicating their time to trying to solve the mystery and identify this seemingly phantom killer. Lastly it of course talks about the effect on Michelle's life and her relationships making the afterword by her husband incredibly poignant.

Tragically of course Michelle never got to see the moment she yearned for, the man finally caught and unmasked as she passed away in 2016 but this is a fine record as her legacy. It has to be said though that it's not the easiest of listens. At times it is a sad litany of evil crime after evil crime and the book goes into enough detail to make it problematic for anyone on the squeamish side. Also, unfortunately Audible have not included the pdf attachment that is supposed to come with the book which sounds like it would have been particularly useful towards the end as mapping techniques were discussed so while this is a five star book I've given four as a result.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

I was expecting a good read but this surpassed my expectations the wor!d of true crime has lost a true master of the genre with Michelle McNamara her family can be proud of this work

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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What an amazing book!!

Michelle was not a detective but she was far more than an armchair sleuth. Really sad she died before the East Area Rapist was caught but one thing is certain, she knew he would be caught and virtually predicted it would be science that would get him. Well narrated by someone who was a fan of Michelle’s. Very happy I bought this book. It will be one I will return to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Terribly sad!

I just found this terribly sad. Not just for the horror of what happened to these poor people and the lifelong and life changing trauma of those who survived but the author too. She seemed obsessed and knowing she died so young, had she known what was to come would she have lived her life differently? How do you live with that much knowledge and thirst for more in order to find the truth? It clearly impinged on her life and presumably her family’s and that saddens me, I know that police often obsess over “the one that got away “ and I can understand that, they probably, wrongly, feel they’ve let the victims down but she chose to investigate and I hope, this book aside, the rest of her life was joyful. I know, an odd review, but it is just all so terribly sad.

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gripping true crime amateur sleuthing

frustrating that there is no real conclusion here, would be nice to have another post script added letting us know what has happened in the case since original publication.

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Brilliant

Couldn’t stop listening, especially knowing the alleged GSK is finally in metal bracelets, hearing the clang of metal on metal, signalling his end.

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Fascinating book

Listening to the audiobook - fantastic listen. Just be warned that this audiobook (at least as of August 2019) does not include the latest update to the book.

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Does not disappoint

Loved it! easy to follow and well read.
Even though I already knew a lot about the case there was so much more that I didn't.

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Meh..

Save yourself 15 hours and read the Wikipedia page. If you’re a fan of the writer then go ahead, but it’s drawn out and more about the author.

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Gripping

Wow. What an amazing book I was totally hooked. Couldn’t wait to be able to put my earphones back in to listen to some more. Incredibly well written and read.

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  • Nicola Kritzinger
  • 11-01-19

Incredible Tenacity

Michelle McNamara is an inspiration to anyone who wishes to write. Her investigation was incredible. It’s thanks to people like Michelle that people can hopefully find closure. It’s so sad to think she didn’t live to see her work published or its major impact. Well worth a read or a listen. Performance is A+.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Aamir Butt
  • 25-02-19

Needs an update

This book needs an update now that a lot has changed regarding pursuit of Golden state killer. Brilliant investigative book nonetheless.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Earbud
  • 12-09-19

well written and interesting

I can understand why this book was rated so highly by readers and critics. McNamara sure could write: this is true crime on another level. I would say that it can be compared with Capote's In cold blood. It is about so much more than just trying to 'catch' the perpetrator of serial rapes and killings in California over a long period of time. It explores and reveals much about a place and time in America, and the nature of killers and those who are obsessed with them. I savoured her use of language and her ability to conjure up a constant tense, vaguely sinister atmosphere, which kept me intrigued, in spite of the fact that it had been made clear from the outset that the mystery was going to remain unsolved.
I found Gabra Zackman's narration absolutely spot on. She really gets the tone of the book and effectively conveys the menace of the killer as he escalates, and the growing obsession/hint of desperation on the part of the author, as she tries to pull together a constantly unravelling tapestry of clues. Recommended for those who like nuanced non fiction that makes one think.