Book Review: “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara

ill be gone in the darkThanks to popular books, movies, and TV shows, we have a notion in our heads that even if it takes some time, the Police almost always catch the bad guy. And we certainly wouldn’t expect someone to be able to spend upwards of 10 years as a serial rapist and murderer, preying on people throughout California while also completely eluding arrest, but as it turns out, that is exactly what happened. True crime writer Michelle McNamara in this book chronicles what we know about the Golden State Killer, a moniker she coined for him; how he operated, what his victims experienced, and the actions of the various investigators whose jurisdictions his crime spree crossed. While the acts committed by the GSK are unsurprisingly frightening (I admit to jumping at a surprise phone vibration while reading at least once), perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are the continued efforts at identifying this man after he abruptly disappeared. It is fascinating to learn about the detectives who still find themselves awake at night trying to solve the case, and also to read about Michelle herself, how she came to be obsessed with the GSK, and the work she put in over several years trying to figure it all out. It helps this book to read like a smartly written suspense novel, spanning decades, and filled with fascinating characters. Her writing is superb, using plainly elegant language to make you feel like you are in the room listening to her conversations. Sadly however, Michelle passed away before finishing the book. The ending that editors pieced together from her notes winds up feeling rushed and a little unfulfilling. All told though this was a riveting book that will leave you wondering just who this killer was, what became of him, and if he’ll ever be caught. ★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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