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I'll Be Gone in the Dark Paperback – 1 Mar 2018

4.4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 Mar. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780571345144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571345144
  • ASIN: 057134514X
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


I'll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it's a brilliant genre-buster. It's propulsive, can't-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing.

What readers need to know-what makes this book so special-is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara's is the light half. It's a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.

(Stephen King)

McNamara has a novelist's eye for what emerges as her true theme: the illusion of the Californian dream... A brilliant, shattering work of art. (Independent i)

'Riveting. as heartbreaking as it is deeply compelling.' (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich Mail on Sunday)

'I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the true-crime equivalent of one of those literary biographies in which the research process and the motivations of the biographer are as much the focus of the biographee. McNamara includes biographical interludes, explaining why identifying and investigating a suspect is like falling in love, and speculating on the ways in which her devotion to the mystery mirrors the obsessive nature of the killer. She has a real gift for bringing alive the victims, witnesses and cops she writes about. The killer remains unidentified, but how he would hate to be the subject of a book which, as a record of so many people's passionate pursuits of justice, leaves one believing in the innate goodness of humanity rather than otherwise. A worthy memorial to its brave, engaging author.' (Daily Telegraph)

'An in-depth, utterly compelling investigation of the serial rapist and murderer who has become known as the Golden State Killer. the true emotional impact of I'll be Gone in the Dark is owed to the author's deeply personal writing style. In many ways this book is a memoir as much as a true crime account. McNamara is so present in this book - her unwavering dedication to the case and her deep empathy for the victims is palpable on every page. So much heart and humanity went into the research and writing of this book... a very powerful book.' (Booktopia)

The detective's nose for the crucial clue transmutes so easily into a novelist's eye for the concrete detail that conjures a memory or emotion. She applies the same gift to a handful of portraits of people affected by the killer's crimes...These read like fragments from Raymond Carver stories, tales of ordinary lives fractured by incomprehensible violence. Had she lived, McNamara might have helped identify the man who committed that violence, but before she died, she did something nearly as miraculous: making them all live again in some small way. (Slate)

'Whatever you look for in your true crime thrillers, this has surely got it. [the] prose is blisteringly passionate in spite of her undoubted rationality, pitching herself as an obsessive every bit the equal of the cruel coward she fought nobly to catch.' (Mr Hyde)

'Posthumously published true crime blogger McNamara's harrowing account of her time tracking the elusive Golden State Killer became even more relevant with the news last month that the Californian police may finally have got their man . . . A brilliant, shattering work of art' (Independent i)

'[A] game-changing investigation of the Golden State Killer. That the book feels triumphant even after tragedy upon tragedy is a testament to McNamara's skill as a reporter and the determination of her husband (comedian Patton Oswalt) to tie up loose ends and push forward with the publication.' (Esquire)

'A fanatical quest to identify California's 1970s Golden State Killer is told in gripping, grisly detail. As a record of obsession, I'll Be Gone in the Dark delivers a nearly fluorescent portrait of the fanatic's life: the sleepless nights and shut-in days, the rabbit holes of online message boards, the underground economies of samizdat information... More than 8,000 suspects were investigated as part of the Golden State Killer case. Detectives crisscrossed the country to retrieve DNA samples and follow leads. Yet the killer was never caught or even identified. Even decades after retirement, some detectives are unable to shake the case. "The Golden State Killer haunts their dreams," McNamara writes. "He's ruined their marriages. He's burrowed so deeply inside their heads that they want to, or have to, believe that if they locked eyes with him, they'd know." You come away from I'll Be Gone in the Dark suspecting much the same of McNamara. In the book's lyrical epilogue, she addresses the killer, who she imagines is now an old man somewhere in the dregs of America. McNamara sketches a hypothetical but hopeful scene in which a car pulls up to the kerb and detectives emerge to finally arrest the monster who has eluded them for more than 40 years. You can't help but believe that had McNamara lived, that outcome might have been a little more likely.' (Guardian)

About the Author

Michelle McNamara (1970-2016) was the author of the website TrueCrimeDiary.com. She earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota and had sold television pilots to ABC and Fox, and a screenplay to Paramount. She also worked as a consultant for Dateline NBC. She lived in Los Angeles and is survived by her husband, Patton Oswalt, and their daughter, Alice.

85 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

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